How to Have a Proper Conversation

Talking in the evening. Porto Covo, Portugal

Talking in the evening. Porto Covo, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you asked me what my pet peeves were, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with anything off the top of my head. Still, there are those days when they just pop up and slap you in the face. One of my pet peeves, for example, is people who don’t know how to have a proper conversation. And honestly, it just drives me nuts! So I decided to put together a quick list of what to do (and what not to do) when having a conversation.


  • Act interested. While I don’t intend to bore you as I talk about what I did last week, I’d really appreciate it if you at least pretended to be interested. Who knows? You might actually find out something you didn’t know about me.
  • Ask me about myself. Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? But, after I’ve asked you what you’ve been doing lately, please return the favor. One-sided conversations are never fun for the person on the other side. Also, as you listen to what I’m talking about, ask me to elaborate on a certain topic (“I had a soccer game on Friday.” “Neat! How did it go?”). It’ll make my day.
  • Give me a chance to express my opinion. Even if you’re talking about yourself, I might like to share a similar experience of my own or an opinion of something that recently happened to you.
  • Introduce subjects relevant to me. If you enjoy dancing but I’m more into music, I wouldn’t be very interested in a long discussion of the pros and cons of ballet. I understand asking me about my music isn’t of great interest to you, but I’ll appreciate it and most likely return the favor. Plus, it’s a great way to keep the conversation going.

Please don’t…

  • Ignore me in a group setting. Let’s say there are three of us. If you only talk to the other person and don’t make an effort to include me in the conversation, I’m going to feel really left out. Still, if after several tries I’m not getting really involved in the conversation, I may just not have anything to say on the subject (football, for example; I’m totally at a loss in sports-related conversations) or I have other things on my mind.
  • Compete. If I’m talking about how I rode a horse for the first time last weekend, you could certainly tell me about the horse you’ve owned for three years and how you just won some award at some horse-related contest. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say, and maybe it will prove to be a common interest. However, show interest in my experience. If you’re too quick to launch into your story, I’ll feel like you’re just trying to show superiority, and it will hurt my feelings.
  • Interrupt. I know you have things to say as well, and I do realize that there are some people who just go on and on about themselves. Just please let me finish what I have to say first! And interrupting doesn’t just mean the most obvious way: Cutting me off in the middle of a sentence. Even if there’s a pause, wait to see if I have finished.
  • Stare at the walls. This is an excellent way to show someone how bored you are. Please don’t do it.

Well, I think I’m just about finished (though, on a side note, it’s rather annoying when people text during a conversation). 🙂 I enjoy a good conversation, but it’s hard when the other person seems completely uninterested. If you have any tips to add, let me know in the comments!

God bless,



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