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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a problem. I want to connect in a conversation with people around me - my teachers, my colleagues, my friends, etc. But I am bad at conversations. I have things in my mind, but I end up doing two things:

1) I ask the question and I end up going an auto-pilot nodding, "okay" "right" "that's interesting" while THEY mainly talk.

or

2) I actually talk, but then I get stiff, formal, and serious. My questions come off as interrogating that person, even though i just wanted to know something casually in a friendly way.

Where I'm at right now, they place importance on being able to "loosen up" and just have a free-flow conversation. Like, you know, just being informal with people, talk about something random, laugh "ha ha" , and have a fun time while having a conversation.

I just can't do it.

1) Small talk - I'm just bad at it.
2) Efficiency - I don't like to talk, so what I have to say, I want it to be efficient, so usually when I go have a meeting with someone, I plan out almost everything I want to say, or at least topics I need to touch upon. This makes the conversation stiff and dry - and I can visibly see that person losing the spark of interest/connection. Like I feel that they expect something from me (something warm or a human connection), but I just shoot my main points, no matter how much I try to slide my points in conversationally
3) Personality-wise - I kinda get in a grip or something, maybe, but I just can't do it - when I see people have a conversational banter, I'm in awe. :mellow: I must be just inept at this, but I can never just be in the mood to talk randomly about things and laugh and have a FUN conversation

So I need your help. This will be a project... and I need you INTJs help. a LOT...
I think we're close enough to relate, but you guys have probably rationally thought this out or maybe you guys can give me logical tips on how to adjust this? I notice that in INFJ threads, I usually get a lot of people that relate or tell me to be "interested" in someone, but it doesn't really help... I'm interested and I gaze a lot instead, blah, so help me with ideas for conversational banter?

THANKS SO MUCH. :laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What do you mean?

The topics usually gravitate towards class or work material... but I see that other people can have like... reallly great conversations. It's a mystery that baffles me.
 

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Haha I think you're over-estimating us, asking INTJs tips about making small talk is like asking a man with no legs to train you for the marathon!

More seriously, I've been training myself in this area lately, here's a few things I try to do :

-If I ask someone a question I give my own POV after listening their, or try to bounce off of their answer with another question or comments about it. In the reverse situation, if they ask me a question I return it to them after answering. (I guess it sounds obvious for more socially-skilled people, but as for me I need to consciously think about doing it)

-If I know they're interested in this or that I sometimes start conversations about it. If you're at work/school it's easier, just bring to the table the latest subject/event, like the last class you had together or the current project you're working on etc.

-Just ask them how they are today and how things are going for them, but not in the usual mindless way "Hi how are you - fine and you -yeah me too- ok see ya", show that you do expect an honest answer and are genuinely willing to listen to them. People never say it but they're usually more than happy to be asked. From this point go to tip n°1.

-When I talk I try to avoid sounding like a teacher giving a lecture, I formulate my sentences in a way indicating that I'm open to suggestions and different opinions.


There's probably a few more minor things but that's all I can think of right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
^Well, my reasoning was that... I can ask ENFPs/ESFJs/etc for help.... but it comes so naturally to them, that any advice they give me is like WHOA, getting hit on the head with a massive dose of something... whereas for INTJs, you guys probably figured out some logical strategies that I could pick up on. If it's like a logical strategy that's showed to me, I feel comfortable, because in my head, there are certain rules or guidelines while I talk, instead of "letting it flow" <- i can't do that lol
 

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The problem with your reasoning is that logical guidelines are all well and good, but since people are not logical, trying to follow or find logic in conversation will leave you even more baffled and uneasy.

The trick to 'loosening up', I think, is not wanting too much. Once you stop going after actual content (either sending or receiving), i.e. if the content doesn't have to have any meaning, it's much easier to just let it flow.
Of course, it's the letting go of meaning that's the hard part.
 

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Most people like to talk about themselves, especially superficially. Look at what they are carrying, wearing, reading, or some other point of possible interest. Ask a question, listen, nod, followup. Offer something insignificant about yourself that is relevant to the line of conversation. Listen the their response, followup with another question. Repeat.
 

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Here's what I did to improve my conversation skills:

- I started conversations with people I barely knew. I thought of one question to begin with, and then just improvised. The more often you talk to people, the easier it gets.
- I say things like 'that's really interesting' with conviction. It convinces both the other and yourself that you enjoy the talk.
- I actually practiced smiling and showing interest by imagining bits of conversation and doing corresponding facial expressions.
- I habitually confess small weaknesses, like not knowing much about a subject or being addicted to chinese noodle soup. This is often seen as 'opening up' and makes the conversation more relaxed.

Hope this helps :happy:.
 

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So I need your help. This will be a project... and I need you INTJs help. a LOT...
I think we're close enough to relate, but you guys have probably rationally thought this out or maybe you guys can give me logical tips on how to adjust this? I notice that in INFJ threads, I usually get a lot of people that relate or tell me to be "interested" in someone, but it doesn't really help... I'm interested and I gaze a lot instead, blah, so help me with ideas for conversational banter?THANKS SO MUCH. :laughing:
The weather. Something that attracts your attention in the surroundings (art object, poster, person acting strangely....). Whatever you have in common with the person. Something they are wearing. Something in the news headlines. Don't get overwhelmed but try to find a thread in what they say that could lead into another thing.
Example: weather-->discussion on climate change. What do they think? Then a cool rare new species that was discovered. From there, what's their favorite animal. etc. Just have a few scripts and connections between them in mind to keep the flow a bit smoother, maybe. Include some self-disclosure but don't overwhelm them with it. If you find people more interesting when they are talking about ideas or concepts, try to guide the conversation into salon mode...
 

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I tend to be thinking (or maybe in your case Feeling) what it is I'm going to say next, so I don't actually LISTEN to what the other person is really talking about or getting at. I think the biggest thing is not letting your mind wander. FOCUS on what they're saying so you can actually connect your responses to their statements. It makes a big difference.
 

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My conversation skills improved when I realized that practically everyone's favorite topic is him or her self. If you are shy or self-conscious, keep the conversation off of yourself by asking them questions about what they are up to (nothing too personal). Then make lots of eye contact and ask follow up questions. You don't actually have to talk much at all, but when I started doing this I was shocked that I quickly got a reputation as a great conversationalist.

Oh yeah, important tip: this works with most people, but its easier to start out with an Extrovert. ENFx and ENTX types are especially good because they like to talk about ideas, so you won't get too bored. Your only problem will be getting the conversation to ever end.

By the way, this also works to show someone you are romantically interested; just keep it up longer and tell them how great they are a lot.
 

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I avoid small talk like the plague. If I must partake, I'll simply stare and nod, giving the minimum amount of attention required. Sometimes much less. I'll usually think about something entirely different to compensate for having to waste brain cells. The only time I can handle small talk is when I'm inebriated.
 
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