10 Fatal Mistakes that Kill Conversations

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1. Trying too hard to get something out of it

The worst thing you can do in a conversation is push an agenda. People know when you’re talking to them just to get something.

2. Trying to bullshit everyone

Some wannabe entrepreneurs call this a skill. It’s not. The second you pretend to know more than you do, people can tell. They’re usually just too polite to call you on it. Or they just write you off.

3. Making it all about you

A selfish talker will use anything you say as a jumping off point into their own stories. They’ll ask the most random questions like, “Have you ever been to Egypt?” or “Have you read Infinite Jest?” Because they have, and they want to tell you all about it. They also offer way too much information, and name drop like crazy. Anyone who does this only wants a spotlight.

4. The dreaded humble brag

Everyone feels tempted to share good news, or just promote themselves. We’re all good at something. We’ve all done exciting things. Most of us get engaged, married, or promoted.

5. Kissing invisible ass

The person you’re sucking up to isn’t even there, but you’re talking about them in 3rd person like they’re Genghis Khan. There’s literally no point here except you’re so delusional you think this person is omnipotent, or you’re so paranoid you think they bugged the room.

6. Dancing around the point

Everything you say should have a goal, and not just a selfish one. You should be trying to inform, entertain, or persuade.

7. Ignoring all body language

At least half of conversation happens through facial expressions and other cues. Misreading or ignoring a cue could mean you trap someone who’s trying to politely excuse themselves.

8. Refusing to ever pause

This is one of easiest mistakes to make. You get carried away with yourself and then don’t let up. One idea bleeds into the next. Before you know it, the person standing in front of you has turned to stone.

9. Pointing out the super obvious

We all know that one guy who can’t seem to stop talking. Instead of coming up with new topics, though, he’ll fixate on something like the temperature. He’ll even turn political debates into the simplest black and white issues — something you really can’t discuss. You find yourself saying things to them like, “Yeah the impeachment really is nuts, Bob.”

10. Forcing advice on someone

When someone’s venting, they usually don’t want advice. There’s a good chance they’ve already tried what you’re about to suggest anyway. It’s even worse when someone pretends to know every detail about your situation, or trivializes it by saying something like “All you have to do is…”

Conversation isn’t that hard

All you have to do for a good conversation is show up and let go. Ask simple questions. Weekend plans. Hobbies. Books or articles they’ve read. Places they’ve been. Old jobs.

Written by

She’s the funny one. jessica.wildfire.writer@gmail.com

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