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I have a problem, and I need your ENFPs' help! :blushed: I know you guys are great at connecting with people so I would really really be so thankful for any type of help. I want to connect with people around me , people that im interested in - 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. I've been getting better, like talking about the weather or something.
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. 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 your guys' help, A LOT. If you guys can give me some advice on how to just have a conversation with someone - like let's say it's a teacher I like (and respect for her work), or a friend I care about, or a coworker I want to get to know bettter... How can I just have a good conversation with them? get a deeper connection? I know there's more to connecting than conversations, but I just feel like this is the first step I need to learn.

Sorry, if this is something so basic and obvious to you guys. It's so hard for me, and I just want to learn how to communicate better . Help? :blushed:

THANKS SO MUCH. :proud:
 

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I think all you need to smile a bit more maybe. ENFPs are well known for listening to people because people energize us. We listen when it serves a purpose to us but when it doesn't we zone out like boring science, uninteresting history ect, We can be easily amused by simple little things like facts or statements.You need to listen to what the other person has to say acknowledge it and give your best response to what there saying. You will also need to understand the person and interpret there feelings. This is a hard skill to learn but very useful. This will give way to what not to talk about and what needs to be discussed. Conversation skills are necessary to not make awkward moments
As for
1.Small talk. Try to be creative tell them facts you know that are bizarre and interesting. Small talk usually transitions into meaningful conversations.
2.Efficiency. Sometimes you might have to beat around the bush alot. You need to slowly buy surely understand the person. You can tell what kind of person they are by how they talk. e.x I know a INTJ when I talk to one. i would start a conversation about the latest scientific breakthrough, like one time I talked to a INTJ about how Japan augmented breast by using stem cells from fat tissues of that person. He was intrigued and we went on and on about biology and anatomy. You have to talk about things they like in order to be efficient in my opinion.
3.Personality. people of the same personality types tend to get along well with each other. Other types talking to other types is a hard task. It all the matter of interesting them and absorbing there emotion and expression though language and gestures and amplifying it.
Heres a short dialogue of me talking to the bus driver on the way to best buy
(Boards Bus)
Me - Hi *smile on my face*
Bus Driver - Hi *smiles back*
Me - So hows your day?
Bus Driver - Pretty good and you?
Me- Well my computers messed up but otherwise pretty cool
(transition from small talk to meaningful conversation)
Bus Driver - Yea mine screwed up as well yesterday funny thing is i took the same route 47 bus. Its kind of weird being a passanger of the route you drive
Me- *Laughs a little* Wow the irony of that huh?
Bus Driver Yes the 47 is a amazing route I love it.
Me - So how does it feel working line 47 it must be interesting to see pier 39 and fisherman wharf and all.
Bus Driver - Pretty interesting I see 4 different districts of San Francisco, Car accident almost everyday and most off all foreigners who come on the bus with short cloths thinking all of California of warm *laughs*
Me - I have to admit people should really check the weather more often *laughs a little*
Bus Driver - Yea really *laughs a little*
Me (pulls the cord)
Bus Driver- Well have a nice day i hope you can fix your computer *smiles
Me -Thanks and thank you I hope you have a wonderful day as well *waves to bus driver she waves back*
(Funny thing i still cant fix my computer)
 

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As wonderful as it is that you are recognizing this is something you'd like to work on, I just want to preface this by saying some people are skilled in some areas, while some are skilled in others. I'm sure you will be able to make some improvement if you really put your mind to it, but some people are just not hard-wired to do certain things. One time I was in a workshop where we wrote our names five different ways with our dominant hand, then were told to copy it with our other hand. Naturally, it looked like a kindergartner had written it-- or worse. The point was that we have to build off our strengths rather than trying to bring our weaknesses up to par.

As an INFJ, you're a great listener. Many of these people you're observing who possess the "gift of gab" you desire may be extremely talented in interacting with others, but either they don't know when to stop talking, or they don't fully process what the other person is saying. Not always the case, but often, that's their weakness. Yours lies on the other end of the spectrum, and my gut feeling is that while you think your weakness is bold and obvious to everyone else, that's not necessarily true; there's often a balance when two people are interacting, and each can pick up the other's slack.

I wish there were some magical conversational tips I could give you, but all I can really say is to not overthink it. It's better to be natural and genuine and a bit less outspoken than it is to go on in a way that seems unnatural and forced.

I wish you the best :proud:
 

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Human Interaction in general is complex theres still discoveries to be made!
 
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Discussion Starter #5
It's better to be natural and genuine and a bit less outspoken than it is to go on in a way that seems unnatural and forced.

^Thanks, I should definitely keep this in mind. Thanks for both of your help =). The only thing is when I am being quiet, I feel that people get annoyed. I also tend to have a "scary face" - cold, guarded exterior =( which I'm very conscious of,. for a while, I did this thing, where I'd just smile a lot, but they were really fake smiles, and I realized that if my neutral face is how I am, I should just be like that. But I don't want people to think I'm "glaring" at them while we talk or i dont know :crying::crying::crying:
 

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I like the suggestions above. I would add one easy one. Work your non-verbals. Emulate posture and non-verbals. Pose yourself like you see the person you are conversing with. See crossed arms, be crossed arms. Gauge the level of eye contact that you're getting and do your best to reciprocate just that amount. Watch the feet, the feet tell you if the person is engaged with you or looking to get away. Both toes towards you, you've got engagement; toes away (especially towards the door), might as well wrap it up as cleanly as possible and try again another day. Keep yours towards the other person.

Rapport happens through much more than the actual words used, create a welcome environment for your conversational partner.
 

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Hi curious, having bouts of introversion myself I certainly know what you are going through. I find the art of conversation has very little to do with talking as it does with listening. I highly recommend Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People". I personally credit this book behind my most significant relationships. The basic premise is that people love to talk about themselves, and you just have to hit the subject that interests them and just listen and give sincere appreciation. I can have an amazing conversation with someone where I only say a few words. The fact that you are in awe when other people are carrying a conversation, you are already there! You just need to get your comfort level up so you can give sincere appreciation rather than focusing on your nervousness.

If you are not comfortable with small talk then I think you are safe to avoid it - not everyone appreciates it, especially when it sounds so forced. If you can find what others are most passionate about and giving sincere compliments you have mastered the art of conversation!

You highlighted this, but it is important to manage your nervousness, and the best way to do that is to be comfortable. The best way to be comfortable is start talking to everyone - and I mean everyone! The bum on the street, the barista serving you coffee, the person you are stuck with in the elevator, etc.. At first your nervousness will shine through, however after some time you will realize that there is nothing really to lose and your comfort level will increase, I guarantee you. Just my thoughts, and I wish you the very best!
 

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I'm an INFj too and I have the same difficulty as you. Some things that have helped as I struggle with it over the years are...

-finding a way to be interested in whatever the person is talking about... that is, paying attention to what seems interesting to me related to what they're saying. Then talk about whatever came into my mind that was interesting even if it doesn't exactly relate to the last thing they said.

-Interrupt people more. If I wait until they're done talking, I'll have forgotten what I thought of to say. This seems really rude to me, but most people don't seem to notice. If I just interrupt in a happy tone of voice, people don't take it as rude.

-Especially if they are very talkative, now I will often say something completely unrelated to what they were talking about, just randomly change the topic to whatever is on my mind that I want to talk to them about. People who talk to much don't seem to mind when I do this. If I'm really focused and interested in hearing what they have to say about the topic I bring up, it's a lot easier to keep the conversation going and keep participating in it.
 

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I just reread your post and I wondered if you lean toward T more than F? I don't know but I wondered since you said smiling doesn't feel natural and you're not in the mood to have a light conversation. Anyway, the T or F doesn't matter. The other thing I thought of that might help is to think about why paying attention to the other person's body language, expressions, and emotions can be interesting. They can be interesting to help understand what the person really means more clearly. Also it can be interesting to pay attention to how your own expressions, feelings, tone of voice, and body language affect the other person's reactions. I'm not very good at doing all of that as fast as a conversation goes, but I do find it really interesting whenever I can understand some of it.
 

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the way to warm to people is to relate with them. so i usually reveal something about myself as a kind of offering- and the person can either agree or disagree. even if they disagree you can always just say "oh must just be me then.. *smile*"
often the person will just agree with you to be friendly anyway. the type of thing will be- finding a ticket machine tricky "i always have problems with this thing. you never know if you've pressed the button *smile*" - or maybe they seem a little scatterbrained "don't worry, i have days like that as well, it's really weird when it happens! *smile*" once that's broken the ice you can ask them impersonal things about themselves such as where they're going, what they're doing, etc. and the conversation can flow from there.

but the best opener is always going to be a little joke, usually just sarcasm or something. say you're being shown around accomodation and you're shown the bathroom- "not a lot you can say about a bathroom.. it's got a toilet: good start." obviously you don't have to be hilarious, just make any friendly joke. the tone of a conversation is set in the first 10 seconds, so i find that once i've made a nice opener a nice conversation will naturally follow.

whenever they tell you something about themselves, try to find something which relates to what they said and express it.

the best thing you can do to get a feel for making instinctive conversation is to start trying to make friendly comments to strangers. you don't have to make a conversation out of it, but just make little comments about whatever is going on around you- just normal comments you would make to friends about things going on. you should start to get a feel for it, and after a while you can try and start up longer and longer conversations, until hopefully you feel confident conversing with anyone.

good luck
 

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Okay, you wanna know my secret? Here goes....People love to talk about themselves!!! So if you want to have a conversation, ask them about themselves! If a convo ever starts going a little stale or sour, just ask them a question about their interests, life, work, family, whatever. If you are looking like you're interested, and you keep them talking, it'll warm up pretty quick, and soon they'll ask you questions in return. There's a trick to this though.

The big thing is interest. Why tell someone about your opinions if they're not even going to pay attention to you? However, sometimes I admit, I couldn't care less about your dog or work or whatever. However, I smile and nod and ask a follow up question or relate it to myself. Find something you can share about that subject. Do you have a funny dog story or have a dog yourself? Talk about it. Find something you have a connection with and an interest in, and if you talk to them, they will be your new best friend in minutes. Who doesn't want to be friends with someone who wants to get to know you? :laughing:
 

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Getting someone else to open up about themselves is pretty easy. If you are in an office setting, look at the pictures on their desk, or their diplomas on the wall behind them. Ask them about those things. You don't even need to point at the objects. But you can ask, "Is that you and your son in the picture? How old is he?" Or, "How did you like Northwestern? I was thinking about going to school there...." People LOVE to talk about themselves. It makes them feel good. And the more often you do this, the more often those same people will feel good being around you.

Also, having them open up allows you to open up. You'll start feeling more and more comfortable.

Pick up on little details they mention, and have them elaborate on it. "You drive a XXXX? How do you like it? I heard they were cheap on gas..". This works especially well when you are talking to people in positions of authority, job interviews, or new friends. I think this would work especially well with your teachers. It helps them to start seeing you as a colleague.

Good luck!
 

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I totally know how you feel even as an ENFP, because even people savy people still have doubts in themselves, and that's all your problem amounts to.

First off, you know what people love? To talk about themselves. It's true, you want to have a conversation with someone that makes them go away feeling good and glad they talked to you? Then just listen to them, throw some subject out there and ask for their opinion on it, not as if you are interviewing them, just ask them as if you really want to know what it is, because that's the point, you do.Take an interest in who a person is, even if just for a moment, and you will find people suddenly taking an interest in you! There's nothing like feeling like someone wants to get to know you, and that spurs them on to want to get to know you back.

So don't sweat the content (and don't sweat that you sweat it either, I have dozens of fake conversations with people I'm nervous to see or talk to every day) all it takes is taking whatever subject seems relevant at that moment, say a group of people are talking about movies, and you and one other person are less involved in the conversation, all it takes is you applying whatever that subject is to them. That's all there is to small talk. Think about it, what is the standard small talk line? Nice/crazy/unbelievable weather we're having huh? Its a question that inquires of that other person's opinion, in this case, on the weather. The weather is easy cuz they will most likely agree with you. So don't worry too much about talking, just listen, and the thing is, as you listen you will develop your own opinions on what is being said. And once that happens, you're not two hops from a full-fledged conversation making you look brilliant and making the other person feel flattered that you're so interested in what they have to say on whatever subject.


My only caution in this is that it be a subject that is relevant, if you walk up to a stranger and ask them their opinion on the price of Bulgarian Lung Worms, you might not start conversations as successfully as you scare people away. But that's an extreme case, all it takes for an item to be relevant, is that the topic be something the person can see why you brought the subject up. Piggybacking other people's conversations is a really easy way to develop a topic, but I mean, this is not all that difficult, if you're in a class at school, ask the person why they are taking the class, and if its just required and they love/hate it ask them why and if they have no opinion on it whatsoever, just think up some question involving them and school and viola! you're a natural conversationalist!
 
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