We’re wired for conversation. It’s fun, it’s easy. In fact, a 2004 study published in the journal “Trends in Cognitive Science,” determined that conversation or dialogue is even easier for us than giving monologues because it is an interactive process between partners. And speaking with your friends may be even more fun because you share so much already. On the other hand, sometimes it is tricky to get the conversation started.
1. Past Adventures
According to Shelley Ambrose, executive director of the Walrus Foundation, which publishes Canada's "The Walrus" magazine, “there’s no point in telling a story without a listener." She encourages 'curious listening.' For the purposes of some fun conversations with friends, a good place to start is with experiences you’ve shared together. Hearing someone begin a tale to which you were all a part opens up the discussion to differing, and sometimes hilarious, versions of the same event. A simple 'remember-that-time-when' opener can begin a robust dialogue of reminiscent adventure. Just be cognizant of the company. It’s pretty hard to be part of the conversation if you weren’t there for the original event and if you have nothing to contribute.
Talk about people -- just not in the gossipy, negative way that will leave you feeling like you just betrayed everyone brought up in the conversation. Instead, catch up on what’s happening in the lives of mutual friends. Or turn to celebrities and their recent accomplishments, exploits, adventures and, yes, failings. Whether you’re talking about Lindsay Lohan’s most recent stint in rehab or the tragic death of Glee’s Cory Monteith, you can usually find conversation starters in the pages of magazines or online. You already know who your friends find interesting, but don’t be afraid to bring up a new cast of characters.
Sharing talk of past exploits isn’t nearly as fun as planning for future ones. Whatever you might be doing together soon, start talking about it now. If it’s a trip, supplement the conversation with travel magazines and brochures. If you’re looking for a new restaurant or club, check out websites that offer customer reviews and add your voice to theirs. And if you’ve got an outdoor activity planned, map out what you’ll do, what you’ll need and when you’ll go.
4. What If
From the time you were a little kid contently gazing at clouds, you probably had an appreciation for imagination. Just because you’re no longer looking for images in a puff of billowing cumulus doesn’t mean you can’t let your imagination out of its box once in awhile. Play a 'what-if' game to get a conversation started: What if you won the the lottery? What if Channing Tatum chose you instead of Jenna Dewan? What if you cars could fly? What if?
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