No more awkward silences
What everyone is looking for on a date is a sense of connection and chemistry. This is usually evident when the conversation is smooth and flowing. Communication is the route to intimacy so it’s worth knowing a few ways to get things back on track if the conversation dries up.
Learn to listen
Talking is only half the story when it comes to good conversation skills, listening is just as important. People who are considered charming and charismatic often have a way of engaging with people that makes them feel like they are totally enraptured by them, hanging onto their every word.
Listening is also vital to stop awkward silences from arising because the cues to where the conversation can go next are contained in what’s being said now. For example, if your date said something like ‘I flew to Barbados in May’ within that one sentence are three cues you could pick up on – flying, Barbados and May. Any of them is a potential conversation point but you could miss them all if you’re not listening.
Often the reasons people struggle to listen is because they are so busy planning what they are going to say next. Instead of asking more about their date’s exciting adventure to Barbados, they are busy trying to think about what exotic holidays they can talk about. A date isn’t a competition and the more interest you show in your date the more likely they are to find you interesting.
Ask more about what you know
Before you meet in person you’ll have gained a fair amount of information about the person sitting in front of you. Enquiring more deeply into the things they have told you and any shared interests will give you a rich source of conversation topics. Try to avoid anything that is too personal or deep on the first few dates, and avoid over sharing about your own personal history. Keep questions open and share about your own life and experiences expanding on things you have already told them.
A universal question
If the conversation does dry up, you can fall back on a universal question ‘Where are you from?’ Everyone has a country or place of origin and most people are quite comfortable talking about it. It might be somewhere you’ve visited or would like to in the future. Either way it’s a great starting point for a conversation that isn’t too prying, personal or intrusive. If it’s somewhere you know well you could share your memories and could find you have more in common than you knew.
Focus your attention
One thing that is sure to create awkward silences is constant distraction. Whether it’s constantly looking at you phone, reading text messages, taking calls or going to the toilet every time you break off the conversation, there will be a few awkward moments while you try and get back on track. There will be necessary breaks to visit the bathroom or go to the bar but as far as possible give your date your undivided attention for the time you are with them.
If nerves get the better of either of you it might be better to stop trying to force the conversation and suggest an activity instead. Go for a walk, get something to eat or do an activity. Not everyone does well in face to face conversations but might open up and relax when they are active. 80% of communication is non-verbal and you don’t have to be a great conversationalist to enjoy a date, especially if the person you are dating is also on the quiet side. Arrange dates to the cinema, gallery or anywhere where you are doing something together rather than just speaking. The aim is to connect and you can do that through much more than just words.
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