(song of the day: i am what i am, jonas brothers)

good evening! hope all is well with you. i tend to keep airing my neuroses here. i've already talking about how i tend to overanalyze every conversation i've had, but today i'm tackling the problem from the root. this weekend i have to spent the weekend with a bunch of a people i usually don't. in short, i'm freaking out! i hate those awkward breaks in conversation. (haha. there's a picture of the office because that shows pretty much the master of awkward conversations. i wish they were as funny in real life) so this week(end) i'm resolving to get past it. so i scoured the webernet for the best tips on how to be a good conversationalist.

a. forget yourself. that means stop paying attention to where your hands are, or what your hands are doing or what you're saying. focus on the person (people) you're talking to. if you're thinking about yourself you'll never be able to relax. people really like to talk about themselves so instead of worrying about you, ask the other person questions - preferably ones that don't just need a yes/no answer. make sure you're really listening! just like in good acting, don't just wait for the other person to stop talking, be actively involved in the conversation. i tend to just ignore things i don't understand but there's no shame in asking for clarification. it's proof you're really listening and it lengthens the conversation. if you ask questions, listen intently and comment accordingly you'll get the credit for being a good conversationalist.

b. pretend. this advice is borrowed from my mom again. put yourself in the other person's position. i have this thing where i usually remember the little things people say (birthdays, math tests). but whenever i want to bring them up i don't for fear of sounding creepy. but if someone remembered something i'd said, i'd be flattered! i have to be the type of friend i'd want to have.

another tip? when i'm meeting new people i sometimes pretend we're already friends. i mean, talking with my friends is so easy and effothis usually works for me because it makes me more relaxed. i'm a firm believer in fake it till you make it!

if you're still interested, continue reading for more tips!

c. disagree. whenever i'm talking to people i hate to rock the boat. i'd rather get along and have it all be good. i have to remember its the differences that make people interesting. agreeing with everything can kill a conversation just as much as disagreeing with everything can. yeah, i've had this one happen. in truth, you should never be afraid to speak your mind. even if you're trying to make a good impression, there's no harm in it. (mmkay, so i might not quite believe this one yet, but i'll try it out this weekend and let you know how it goes) on the reverse, disagreeing too much can lead to a conversation trainwreck. when arguing try tempering your sentences. if you replace "but" with the word "and" people won't automatically go on the defensive.

d. pause. don't be afraid of a little pause in conversation. i let my skin get crawly and my breath quicken and then my brain spins out of control and it's even harder to make conversation. but i read that pauses in conversation are normal and not to be feared! in face you may intentionally want to pause. good storytellers know how to bait their audience and keep them listening. it's more than okay to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts.

someother quick notes, maintain eye contact. i've been trying out a new trick with this o'er the last few days. maybe i'll try and work it into the blog sometime. also, if you can do so without looking crazy, imitate the body language of the person you're speaking to. it'll subconciously trick their brain into thinking you're getting along. body language on the whole fascinates me. i'll be sure to write about it sometime in the future.

that's all for now! wish me luck!