Small talk, for many of us, was already a struggle. But after the pandemic era of isolation, more people are finding it difficult to strike up a conversation as social activities begin to resume. We’ve been so removed and isolated from our social circles that it can feel especially daunting to dive back right back into conversation, even with old friends. What may have been comfortable before the pandemic could now feel outside of your current comfort zone– and that’s ok. It has been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to polish our communication skills and it’s completely normal to anticipate some nerves when it comes to things to talk about. We’re all learning how to move back into the world again, and we’re all in this together. Even if your small talk skills feel a little rusty, these tips below will help you strike up a conversation and get back to socializing in our ‘newest’ normal.
Find Common Ground
Whether engaging an old friend or a new acquaintance in conversation, the universal rule is to find shared ideas, interests, hobbies, values or beliefs. Especially in our current climate when there is conflict over vaccines, safety measures and the all too familiar politics, sticking to topics you know are shared interests will not only keep both parties engaged, but will ensure you steer clear of conflict. Some good conversation openers might be, “How do you know (the party hosts)?” or “How do you like the food/drinks?”
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Keep it Convivial
Do your best to keep the conversation light and optimistic. Especially after a pandemic year, we’re all seeking a bit of humor. You may not know the reality that someone else has just experienced. If the topic of the coronavirus arises, use it as a springboard to steer the conversation to those participating in conversation. Ask whether anyone has developed any new hobbies, started any new projects or learned any new recipes.
Focus on updates to your personal life, how you’ve adjusted to working from home, what TV shows you have been watching, and any vacations or trips you may have planned. Share recipes you’ve learned how to cook, recent books you’ve read, or other activities you did during the pandemic to pass the time and stay entertained.
Watch Your Body Language
Last but not least, remember that your body language speaks volumes. Simple gestures like making eye contact and smiling convey affirmative listening responses that can help encourage more dialogue. If the conversation steers towards a topic you’re not comfortable talking about, don’t feel pressured to participate. Maintain composure and open body language while suggesting a non-confrontational topic.
Please drink responsibly. Please do not forward this message to anyone under 21.
KETEL ONE BOTANICAL. Made With Vodka Distilled With Real Botanicals And Infused With Natural Flavors. 30% Alc/Vol. © Double Eagle Brands, B.V. Imported by Ketel One USA, Aliso Viejo, CA. Avg Analysis Per 1.5 oz.: 73 Cals, 0g Carbs, 0g Protein, 0g Fat.
KETEL ONE BOTANICAL Vodka Spritz. Made With Vodka, Botanicals, Natural Flavors, And Sparkling Water. 3.6% Alc/Vol. © Double Eagle Brands, B.V. Ketel One Botanical Spritz, Indianapolis, IN. Avg Analysis Per 12 fl. oz.: 73 Cals, 0g Carbs, 0g Protein, 0g Fat.