Posts tagged how to skip the small talk
Five Thanksgiving icebreakers that don't suck

Ah, the holidays: A time when we hope our lives will look like those wholesome cartoon specials we watched as children, but also a time when anxieties about getting stuck in conversation with people who hold different political and moral ideologies might keep you from doing that happy dance from A Charlie Brown Christmas.


This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to take some time to connect with others in ways that feel authentic without feeling emotionally exhausting. To help the conversation flow, we offer you some ice-breakers that will get others to share about themselves while subtly nudging everyone’s mood in a positive direction. So if you do end up having the “here’s why racism is bad” conversation with Uncle Joe, you’ll have a buffer of positive experience--and perhaps some common ground--that’ll make it easier for you to communicate with one another.
 

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A simple way to take your relationships up a notch (or five)

Five to one: According to one of the most prominent social scientists in the field of romantic relationships, John Gottman, that’s the ratio of positive to negative interactions in stable relationships. Couples were significantly less likely to get a divorce when they had about five positive interactions for every negative interaction they had.

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The secret to long-lasting relationships

What do the following have in common?
 

  • A “define the relationship” conversation with a crush
  • Mentioning to your roommate that you never check your Facebook messages
  • Telling your friend that the way he acts when he’s angry is scary to you
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Ashley KirsnerSkip the Small Talk, healthy relationships, relationships, relationship health, romantic relationships, platonic relationships, friends, friendships, how to make friends, how to have better relationships, better relationships, relationship, relationship advice, healthy relationship, deeper relationships, managing relationships, how to go deeper, going deeper, how to have a deep conversation, how to have a hard conversation, hard conversation, hard conversations, conversations, conversation, communication, communication problems, how to communicate, how to communicate better, communicating, communicate, communication skills, how to improve communication, having communication problems, metaconversation, metaconversations, meta-conversation, meta-conversations, skip the small talk, how to skip the small talk, learn how to skip the small talk, real talk, deep conversation, deep conversations, how to have deep conversations, how to talk about something hard, how to bring up something hard, how to bring up something hard to your boyfriend, how to bring up something hard to your girlfriend, romantic relationship, girlfriend, girlfriends, boyfriend, boyfriends, romantic partner, romantic partners, significant other, how to keep your girlfriend, how to keep your boyfriend, how to keep your significant other, long-lasting relationships, the secret to long-lasting relationships, how to have long-lasting relationships, how to make your relationship last, how to make your relationships last, how to make your relationships last foreverComment
How to escape small talk in two simple steps

We’ve all been there. You’re at a party, and somebody asks you a small talk question that you’re afraid will beget more small talk and before you know it, you’re thirty minutes deep into a discussion about traffic patterns in your local area. Whether the question that somebody is asking you is, “Where are you from?” Or, “Wasn’t the traffic getting here awful?” You can prevent your conversation from slipping into a night of small talk by responding the following way:

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The Vulnerability Paradox

Have you ever felt comfortable telling something intimate to your hair stylist or bartender or ride-share driver, and then finding yourself feeling warm toward them, and perhaps inclined to tip more? Have you ever developed strong feelings for someone you were dating in a low-stakes context, like someone you knew you didn’t want to be with long-term?  Then you are likely familiar with what I’ve deemed “the vulnerability paradox.” According to the vulnerability paradox, a pattern I’ve noticed in myself and others, it’s often easier to open up to those we are not relatively close to, yet, the very act of opening up brings us closer.

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A Better "How are you?"

Cultural niceties can make it challenging to answer “How are you?” honestly if you are feeling much more than, “Fine, thanks. How about you?” If you change up the phrasing of your question even slightly, though, it can often be enough to disrupt the automatic process that leads to uninformative and uninteresting answers. Here are some options for making it easier on others to answer you honestly, even if they’re not feeling “fine.”

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The single most surprising way to get close to people

We'll cut to the chase. It’s boundaries, or more specifically, setting boundaries liberally and respecting them consistently.


Surprised? Think about it this way. Boundaries come on a spectrum, which looks different for each person-- there are smaller boundaries, which might look like, “Please lower your voice; my roommates are sleeping” and bigger boundaries, which might be more like, “Please don’t come to my house again.”


What a lot of folks don’t realize is that setting and respecting smaller boundaries are the single best way to avoid the big boundaries.

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The four words that change the way people talk to you

Imagine you’re hanging out with a friend.

 

You’ve been chatting for a bit, and they reveal something more vulnerable about themselves than they usually discuss with you. Maybe it’s admitting that they feel lonely at work, or maybe it’s talking about their history with depression. Whatever it is, it’s a level or two deeper than your usual conversations.

 

How do you respond?

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If you have trouble skipping the small talk, this might explain why

I recently found myself in two almost identical social situations with one small difference that changed everything about the way the interaction went down.

 

A few months ago, I had some new friends over my house when one of my friends took advantage of a brief silence:

 

“Can I ask you all a weird question?”

 

We all nodded and leaned forward a tiny bit in our chairs.

 

“Is a hamburger a sandwich?”

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