Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the company of someone you really like but there’s nothing to talk about? Unless both of you enjoy the same hobbies or come from the same background, you will sometimes find it difficult to maintain a conversation with someone who you aren’t that close to. To avoid any awkwardness between the two of you, there are a few tricks to keep a conversation going that doesn’t involve any drastic measures on your part. If you’re clever enough, they’ll unlikely to be able to tell what you’re doing or to what extent. So without further ado, here are ten tips on how to keep a conversation going once it runs dry.
Tell them to wait a minute
If you’re ever feeling like you’ve exhausted all the topics you could talk about, you can always ask them to wait a minute until you figure out the next subject. In this regard, you can always fake a phone call you have to make or a task you just remember to attend to, with the promise that you will be right back with them once the chore is done. Then again, you can always pretend you need to use the restroom for a couple of minutes with the same end result.
Ask them to elaborate on a topic
Should you ever find yourself conversing with someone who has a deeper understanding of the subject being discussed, you can always keep the conversation going by feigning ignorance on certain aspects of the thing you’re talking about. If you feel like your conversation partner knows the intricate nature of whatever subject is being addressed, pretend that you need further clarification on the particularities of said subject to lengthen the conversation for a couple more minutes.
Make things personal
If the environment is friendly enough, you can always ask a few seemingly innocent yet personal questions of your interlocutor that you feel they wouldn’t mind responding to. Without getting too personal, try to connect whatever subject you’re talking about to your conversational partner in a way that doesn’t make them uncomfortable in any way. If possible, ask them to clarify whether not they have personal experience with the subject on hand.
Point out the awkwardness in a friendly fashion
Although ill-advised to ever mention how awkward the silence between you has become, you can always point out in a jokingly fashion that you two were so efficient at dissecting the topic that you’ve simply exhausted it. Should your interlocutor be clever enough to pick up on the cues, he/she will most likely make light of the situation themselves, presumably by adding a few anecdotes about whatever you’re talking about.
By showing too much enthusiasm, you are likely to have your vigor misconstrued. However, if you’re prepared to show just the right amount of interest, whoever you’re talking to will definitely engage you further in a friendly fashion. Like always, moderation is paramount in situations such as these, especially if you’re looking to make a friend of the person you’re conversing with. In this regard, you should show enthusiasm about the topic being discussed, even if you’re not 100% honest.
Give long answers when questioned
A good way to signal the person you’re conversing with that you’ve been paying close attention to what they’ve been saying is to give long, detailed answers when asked questions. For the sake of civility, you should at least feign interest in the topic, enough to help you give a long answer to whatever question you are being asked. Nothing kills a conversation quicker than having one of the parties give ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers when prompted for a detailed opinion.
Ask detailed questions
On a related note, try to make your questions as substantiated as possible. As long as you have a basic understanding of what is being discussed, try your best to ask detailed questions so as to prompt a wordy response in return. This is because for better or worse, most people like to hear themselves talk. When explaining a matter they are familiar with to someone who isn’t too versed into what is being talked about, they will often get a morale boost out of the impression that they’re helping another person out.
If you have reached the point of the conversation where you have even the slightest idea of what it is being discussed, you should try your best to make detailed observations about the subject. No matter how good your understanding of the subject may be, it is important to always show the person you’re conversing with that you at least grasp the basics. Unless you’re talking with an unreasonable person, nine out of ten people will be happy that you care enough about the subject so as to formulate an observation of your own.
Go back a few steps
Should you ever find yourself in a conversation that seems to be going nowhere, do try to go back a few steps to the point where the conversation made sense. If possible, try to feign ignorance on a specific matter so as to force the other person to explain a previous part of their reasoning. This way, you will take the conversation into an area where you can use broader terms to keep it going for a while longer.
Change the subject
Perhaps the best way to keep a conversation going is to change the subject the moment you feel it is not going anywhere. If you are tactful enough, the other person will not even get the chance to object in any way, being more intrigued by the ever-changing nature of the conversation. A good way to raise their interest when doing so is to ask them if they have any opinions of their own about the subject at hand. You will then, should you choose to do so, use their answer to further the conversation by changing the subject again based on a specific phrase they’ve used.