3 Easy Ways to Start A Conversation With Anyone
How to Start a Conversation With Your Boyfriend
Starting a conversation with your significant other should not be hard, but when your emotions get in the way your mind often goes blank. Self expression is hard during first dates, fights, and emotionally difficulty conversations. Open, honest communication is key to a successful, healthy relationship.
Getting to Know Him
Prepare for conversation on the first date.First dates can be awkward, even if you have an established friendship beforehand. Have a vague idea about what subjects to discuss going into the date to save yourself from awkward silence.
- On a first date, try to listen more than you talk. You don't want to dominate the conversation. Many people overcompensate by talking too much when nervous in order to avoid conversation lulls. Instead of verbally dumping when silence hits, try asking a question. Even something simple ("How was your day?") can be a good way to keep conversation moving.
- If you're just getting to know someone, you need to allow intimacy to happen at its own rate. Don't ask too many personal, sensitive questions during the first date. This can cause someone to become defensive and feel uncomfortable. Do not shy away from bringing up meaningful topics, but try not to pry too much into someone's personal life.
- Make a mental list of first date questions to pose if the conversation lulls. What is your family like? Do you like your job? What do you do in your free time? What are your friends like? What kind of vacations do you take? These are all great questions that can stimulate steady conversation on a first date.
Practice good listening skills.People who are the most interesting are the ones who are the most interested. You need to use good listening skills to convey genuine curiosity about what your boyfriend is saying.
- Maintain eye contact. Don't scan the room or look at your phone or computer screen. This conveys a sense of distraction. Look at your boyfriend when he talks and give cues, such as smiling and nodding when appropriate, that you are engaged in the conversation.
- Listen without judgment. While you might be tempted to evaluate character during the early stages of a relationship, try to leave judgment behind at first. Remember your partner is using language to convey his feelings and the only way to understand those feelings is to listen.
- Create a picture of what is being said. While your boyfriend talks, use images in your head to create a mental picture of what is being said. This can be a literal pictures of a series of abstracts. Images help us remember, which allows us to come off as a good listener.
- Do not plan what you're going to say while your boyfriend is talking. If you're mentally rehearsing your own contributions, this infringes on your ability to pay attention.
- When you ask questions, wait for a pause in conversation. Ask questions to clarify what the speaker is saying.
Move towards deeper conversations on the next few dates.As you continue seeing your boyfriend, it's okay to move the conversation forward into more serious territory. While you don't want to discuss your romantic future in a serious sense for awhile, it's okay to talk about more intimate issues.
- Keeping it casual does nothing to form serious bonds, and it could also make you look less appealing as a partner. A study on dating and intimacy conducted by the University of Arizona found that those who engaged in small talk past the first date were less compelling to their partners.
- While you don't want to reveal intimate secrets right away, talking about serious, if somewhat impersonal topics, can be a good way to transition into more serious territory. Bring up current events, anything you've read recently, and pop culture trends. Don't be afraid to share thoughts or opinions you feel passionately about as this can lead to greater intimacy down the road.
- Open ended questions. Stuff like "What's your favorite color?" warrants no explanation but a broader question about taste (i.e., "What are you passionate about?") leaves room for lengthy conversation.
- Intimacy is important. Human beings are social animals who also strive to give meaning to their experience. These factors drive our desire for intimacy. Accepting you need closeness, and reaching for it, is important to move any conversation forward.
Starting Difficult Conversations
Understand why avoidance does not work.A cool off period after you have a major disagreement is fine, but letting things stew too long can result in a major blow up down the road. It's important to understand why difficult conversation are necessary as this motivates us to avoid putting them off.
- Underlying disputes, even small ones, do not get resolved when things are put on pause. Small things that seem trivial can resurface on a bad day, leading to overreactions in regards to seemingly easily resolved conflicts. Both parties leave harboring feelings of hostility.
- Small-scale issues become large-scale issues when they're not discussed. Oftentimes, other unresolved issues get dragged into a debate that could have been easily smoothed over the first time a disagreement occurred. These types of conflicts are far harder to get around.
Phrase positive and negative comments directly.Being indirect about an issue can easily fuel misunderstandings. Conversations about conflicts should be as direct as possible.
- Oftentimes, we use "but" sentences to obscure what's really bothering us. For example, "I love when we see movies together, but I wish we weren't always running late." The happiness your boyfriend felt during the first part of the sentence is dampened when he hears the second part. This means he's going into the conversation with disappointment, which can fuel stress and hostility.
- Comments, both positive and negative, should be phrased in a direct manner. Try to end on good news rather than bad news. For example, "I wish we didn't miss the first 15 minutes of the film, but I had a good time tonight." This way, the good news is heard without the subsequent letdown. The negative news is addressed in a way that does not feel passive or snuck in, making your boyfriend more willing to change and understand.
Prepare your phrasing carefully.Do not simply launch into an argument when something's bothering you. If an issue's been on your mind for awhile, plan how you're going to address the issue beforehand. Oftentimes, people get nervous or angry during confrontation. This can result in you not expressing yourself correctly.
- Announce the conversation topic, making clear what you want to discuss and why. Speak in terms of feelings, which are subjective, rather than facts. "I want to talk about how I sometimes feel like you don't listen to me" is better than "I want to talk about how you don't listen to me." This way, your partner doesn't feel like you're imposing an objective truth on the situation. He might resent this, especially if he sees things differently.
Use "I"-statements.Personal opinions can sound like facts if you phrase them without prefacing you're speaking about your feelings. "I"-statements help us take responsibility for how we feel without pushing blame onto external forces or other people. When having disagreements, use "I"-statements to curb judgment while also being upfront about what you're experiencing emotionally. "I"-statements have three parts.
- The first part is the emotion. Begin with, "I feel..." and immediately follow up with an emotion (e.g., "I feel happy..." "I feel sad..." "I feel uncomfortable..."). State the emotional immediately without adding anything else. Statements like "I feel like", "You make me feel," and "It makes me feel" can trivialize your feelings or attribute them to external forces.
- The second part is behavior. Follow with the behavior that contributes to your feeling. Simply state the behavior that leads to you feeling a certain way, avoiding criticism, judgment, or any other external moralizing.
- The last part is the why. Explain why you feel a certain emotion when another person engaged in a particular behavior.
- "I"-statements can be beneficial to communication because they help avoid blame, express emotions in an accurate manner that minimizes hostility, and can reduce negative feelings like guilt and remorse for the other person.
- Waiting until you've had time to think is key. Do not say things you don't mean in the heat of the moment. Waiting allows you to articulate your thoughts in a kind, patient manner.
- Plan around time. If you know the conversation will take a few hours, don't start it at 11PM when you both need to work in the morning. Aim to talk during a free afternoon so the conversation isn't strained by an externally enforced timeline.
Set goals together.Difficult conversations should lead to some kind of resolution. In other words, you need to leave the conversation with specific goals on how to improve the issue.
Maintain optimism, even after a fight.The adage "Never go to bed angry" exists for a reason. You should not leave a fight or discussion harboring resentment. Positivity is key for good communication and can aid future conversations.
- Feelings things are hopeless creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you decide you've "lost" a fight or that the relationship is going downhill, you'll end up interpreting everything you partner says with a tone of pessimism of hostility.
- Try to stay positive and operate under the assumption your boyfriend cares about you and wants to keep the relationship strong. This way, you'll be healthier, happier, and easier to talk to overall.
Continuing Conversation Throughout a Relationship
Make time every day to have a conversation.This doesn't have to be a serious conversation, but you should take time to talk to your boyfriend each day. You can schedule a regular thing, like nightly walks, or just have some time away from the TV each night.
Discuss how to handle conflict.Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship. In order to address conflict correctly, you need to identify how you both handle conflict and figure out ways to deal with disagreements that are mutually beneficial.
- People have different styles of conflict resolution. Some people avoid or deny conflict, others become hostile and blame the other person, and some people look at conflict as a competition and try to manipulate the situation to win. Try to be conscious of how you handle conflict. Identifying your method is the first step to adjusting it.
- You need to view conflict as a shared issue. In a relationship, there is rarely only one party who is in the right. Do not try to get your way every time or minimize and deny what your boyfriend is feeling. Conversely, always giving in to satisfy another person's needs is also damaging. You'll end up harboring feelings of resentment.
- Your attitude helps in conflict resolution. Go in with the right frame of mind, which means you're approaching the conflict as an issue between two equals. Be respectful when expressing your own feelings and receptive to what your boyfriend is feeling. You both need to make compromises to assure the other party feels secure.
- Resolving conflict is a process. Start by identifying the issue, discussing several possible solutions, and then mutually deciding which solution, or combination of solutions, is the most viable. Implement the solution and follow up with discussion in a week or two. Evaluate how the solution is working and how you're both feeling about the issue.
Be able to discuss sex openly.Sex is a big part of any intimate relationship. Many relationships end due to sexual incompatibility. As you start moving into physical intimacy, be prepared to openly talk about sex.
- Many couples feels hesitant to discuss sex, especially if there are issues in regards to their sex life. Feelings of shame and discomfort can halt conversation, but communication is important to a healthy relationship and sex life. Establishing dialogue is important.
- Find the right time to talk. During sex, people often discuss what feels good in the moment. If you want to have a more detailed conversation about needs and wants, wait until you're not neutral grounds.
- Talk about any changes in your body, such as hormonal changes or certain medications curbing sexual desire. If your boyfriend does not know what's going on with you, he may interpret changes as a lack of interest. Discuss how to get around such issues together as a couple.
- Be honest. As you begin becoming intimate with another person, be honest about your wants and needs. Sexual problems become more difficult the longer they go on, so anything that's unsatisfying or makes you uncomfortable should be discussed right away.
Discuss relationship expectations.Every romantic relationship comes with a series of expectations, but there are no universal truths in regards to romance. To maintain healthy communication throughout a relationship, be upfront about your expectations.
- Expectations change when we move past the preliminary dating phase. Expectations in terms of time spent together, daily contact, and sex adjust with time. Respecting and accepting change is healthy and normal, and talking about your needs as they arise, is important to maintaining a relationship.
- Your boyfriend cannot know what you want and need unless you tell him. If you feel uncomfortable without daily communication, even just something small like a text message, tell him this. Your boyfriend might also have different expectations, wants, and needs than you. When you talk to him, try to empathize and respect where he is coming from if disagreements or mismatched expectations arise.
- Space is another factor in a relationship that needs to be discussed. Your and your boyfriend both need time apart with friends and time to engage in your own personal hobbies. Discuss what you expect in terms of time alone and private time with friends.
- Never leave your fight open, if you have one, work together to resolve the issue.
- If your boyfriend continually belittles you or ignores you, places blame for every conflict squarely on you, and tries to isolate you from friends these are warning signs of emotional abuse. In these situations, it's best to cut ties.
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