Why Is It So Difficult To Talk To Strangers
Do you feel like you get a hard time chatting with people you don't know? From asking for an address on the street or even thanking the waiter, do you turn any interaction into something awkward?
I wish I got paid for every time I said "You too" to the waiter after telling me to enjoy my dinner.
I'd earn more than Medium, that's for sure.
If you are like me, you've come to think that you are simply a bad talker. I understand, I've been there.
Just as there are people who find it easy to do athletic or musical activities, some of us have a harder time socializing. Also, when you reach a certain age, you feel that starting conversations is increasingly difficult. I miss being a kid at a playground and making two best friends every afternoon.
Don't despair, we are not doomed to create awkward moments for life. There are many techniques we can do to become good talkers.
We can all be equally sociable
The good side of all this is that we don't suffer from any disability. From birth, we are good at understanding others and communicating.
We are VERY good, actually.
Our brains are made to learn to interact and socialize very easily. In fact, a baby can learn to speak simply by hearing other people talk.
Even a baby can understand and differentiate intonations of different languages. That's how good we are at learning to speak.
Do you want to know the other good side?
Our brain never stops learning to communicate. So you are not a case of a child prodigy who broke down on the road. Trust me, I already tried that.
The problem is that we talk less and less
I may start to sound like an elderly person, but the truth is that phones make us less sociable.
As I already mentioned, we are very good at learning a language, but for that, we must be surrounded by it.
When we communicate solely through social media, we only learn to like and respond with emojis. There are many factors of communication that don't exist in this medium.
Understand intonation, volume, word choice, eye contact, body language. All of this is necessary to have a casual conversation with someone. Nevertheless, when texting, all that disappears.
So we lose more and more practice on how to talk to others. Taking into account that every time people get a smartphone at an earlier age.
The secret to getting better in conversations is talking more
I know I told you that there are many techniques to have better conversations. But I didn't say there was some millennial secret.
We already know that we are naturally good at learning to communicate better through practice. We also know that we practice less and less, so the answer is clear: we must talk more.
How can you practice?
Very easy. Force yourself to have more conversations, even if they are very small interactions. Ask someone on the street for the address, even if you don't need it. Make conversation with whoever is next to you on the bus.
Something as small as saying "good morning" to someone at the park works. Little by little your brain returns to practice and learns and improves. In the same way as when exercising, you get stronger.
So yeah, reading articles like this on how to converse better doesn't help much. Go outside and talk to people. At first, it will be uncomfortable, I know, but over time it will be something natural and fluid for you.
Read every story from Mindsmatter (and thousands of other writers on Medium) As a Medium member, a portion of your membership fee goes to writers you read, and you get full access to every story on Medium
We made something a little great! The Anxiety Workbook, get yours by clicking here.
Want To Support Us?
Want Even More?
Grab the latest updates from Mindsmatter. Exclusive stories, mental health resources, and more!