Modern day life is insanely busy, hectic and distracting. There are a million things to do every day: there are social media posts to Like, tweets to send, friends to text back and emails to be read (and subsequently erased). Today we are arguably more connected to the people around us than ever, but I can’t help but notice that conversations just aren’t the same.
In fact, it seems like no one has time for a good old-fashioned conversation. You know, the kind where people actually look at your eyes instead of staring down at a screen? It seems like it’s becoming a lost art. But, there are some ways to try and recapture those old-fashioned conversations. Here are a few ideas:
Focus on the person in the room
It’s probably pretty obvious, but the first step to having a real conversation is to focus on the person you’re conversing with. Put your phone away, turn off the TV; do whatever it takes to be able to give that person all of your attention. Without distractions, your conversation will be improved tenfold.
Talk to your friend, not to Google
Back in the day, disagreements were settled not by a quick google search, but by debating and discussing the topic until someone made an indisputable point. If neither of you knew enough, then you found someone who did or at the least, dragged an uninvolved person into the discussion in hopes they’d agree with you.
So, I suggest that when you’re talking with friends and family instead of turning immediately to Google to solve disputes or to find out something, discuss it and figure it out yourselves. You can always google it later, or save it for when you both get stumped as a tiebreaker.
Make and understand small talk
I think small talk is one of the most undervalued and underappreciated facets of conversation. Making good small talk is a skill which few people seem to have anymore, but it not only makes things more pleasant but also can help people relax enough to actually flow into real conversation. It’s almost like an appetizer for a real discussion.
Update friends without Facebook
There’s nothing more awkward than talking to a friend face-to-face and then realizing that they already know all of whatever you’re excited about because you couldn’t help but post a sentence about it on Facebook the night before. For really big news, take the time to tell people in person and let them be excited with you instead of through a computer keyboard. As a bonus, it’ll give you both something to talk about!
Something about the perceived anonymity and detachment of the internet makes people think that they don’t have to respect others opinions. It’s a basic social skill that I see so many people lacking. But, as most of you hopefully know, in real conversations you have to be polite even if you don’t agree. If it’s something you feel strongly about, simply change the topic.
It should go without saying, but in order to really have a good old-fashioned conversation, you have to know how to listen to your companion. Don’t spend the whole time thinking about what you’re going to say, and don’t space out. Ask questions and discuss!
Know how to enjoy silence
Last, but not least, appreciate silence. Silences are pretty normal in daily conversations and are actually important for your brain to comprehend and sort through all of the information. Some people are bothered by silences and feel the need to fill it, but try and relax and just let it flow naturally. Silence can be relaxing and nice sometimes. To me, there’s nothing that says real friendship better than being able to sit in silence without it being awkward.
Do you have any tips for keeping old fashioned conversations alive? Share with me in the comments!