Do you dread socializing?
Do conversations often leave you feeling lost and confused that it feels like a waste of time?
Conversation may come naturally to some, but if you’re anything like the rest of us out there, it usually requires an effort on our part and can be very intimidating.
If we make too many blunders, not only will those around us become bored quickly, they may even start actively disliking us.
But fear not!
With these 15 conversation killers to avoid at all costs when talking to others, you’ll soon have the confidence of a master conversationalist in no time.
So read on for tips that can help take your social skills from good to great!
1. Disregarding and Moving on
Everyone wants to be heard, understood, and validated when they’re having a conversation with someone else.
This means that when someone else is talking, you should be wanting to hear what they have to say so that you can properly engage them later.
But not everyone is that way.
If someone doesn’t care about what you have to say or is only involved in themselves, they’re going to essentially brush off what you have to say or fail to let you finish, disregarding all of your words and moving the conversation along so that they’re able to talk about themselves.
This makes no one feel good and is a great way to bring a conversation to a screeching halt.
The biggest conversation killer is when someone interrupts the other person’s point of view.
This makes it difficult for the speaker to continue their thought process and can cause them to feel as if their opinion is not valued or respected.
Even if you think you know what the other person is going to say, resist the urge to jump in and let them finish speaking.
Not only will this show respect, but it also opens up more opportunities for conversation as the other person might elaborate on their idea or thought.
3. Attention-Grabbing and Sob Stories
There are too many people who want to be the center of attention, and they’ll do anything to get that spotlight.
You might hear them say things in order to get everyone to focus on them or even bring up sad stories to get attention and remorse from the people they’re speaking to.
Some people may give them the attention they want, but most will immediately walk away knowing that this is how they speak regularly.
No one wants to talk to someone who’s looking to dominate the conversation and get attention or pity from everyone else.
4. One-Word Responses
A conversation requires you to have a back-and-forth between you and other people.
However, not everyone makes it easy to do so.
There are quite a few people who don’t know how to hold a conversation, offering up one-word responses to any question that you have for them.
After a while of hearing, “yes”, “no”, and, “maybe”, there’s only so much you can do to keep the conversation going.
5. Speaking in a Monotone Voice
We’ve all known at least one person that’s unable to sound enthusiastic or emotional when they speak.
People don’t have to go crazy, but they shouldn’t sound bored when they’re talking to someone.
A monotone voice can be just as bad as other items on this list, and speaking with some emotion can go a long way in keeping conversations going.
6. Blunt Honesty (That Borders on Being Rude)
Have you ever had a friend who always apologized sarcastically about being too honest?
Most people who say that are not honest, they’re just rude and have no filter that they’re able to employ in a social situation.
They’ll blurt things out that make someone else feel bad and then act like they’re justified or pretend to be offended when other people call them out for being mean.
If you know this person, chances are that most others want to avoid conversations with them at all costs.
7. Offering a Non-Response
One-word answers definitely fall into this category, but this is a separate strategy in itself.
People are expected to move a conversation forward, but some people just can’t.
Instead, they’ll offer non-responses to a question, responding with one-word answers or other answers that don’t really give the other person a chance to inquire further.
This shuts them down and stops the conversation dead in its tracks.
8. Not Actively Listening
People can tell when you’re not engaged, and it will dictate whether someone talks to you or not.
There are some people who are not actively listening, instead waiting for their turn to speak and hearing whatever you’re saying as filler noise until it’s time for them to step up to the plate.
When you have someone who isn’t actually listening to what you say, you’re probably not going to spend too much time talking to them in the future.
9. Topics That Are Not Appropriate
There are different types of conversations that you’re naturally going to have with different people.
If you’ve known someone for a while, you have no issue talking to them about various deep topics that you wouldn’t bring up with anyone else.
On the other hand, you’ll likely save your lighter conversation starters for people whom you’re just becoming acquainted with.
With all this in mind, there are quite a few people out there who don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s not, talking to people they’ve just met about topics like politics and religion, which most acquaintances and strangers are probably looking to avoid.
What you talk about matters just as much as how you talk, and doing this can be a major conversation killer for more than a few folks.
10. Poor Storytelling
Some conversations are very simple, where you’re just really learning about someone and not diving into their past or anything.
But once conversations start to ramp up, storytelling will inevitably play a role in your interactions.
While there are a lot of wonderful storytellers out there, there are an equal number of people who just can’t tell a story regardless of how hard they try.
Unfortunately, this can make them extremely difficult to talk to, no matter how much you may like them.
11. One-Upping the Person You’re Talking to
A little healthy competition can be great, but not when it comes to socialization.
There are a host of people who treat life like a sport or wish to be the best at being troubled and beyond.
During the conversation, they’ll make their successes or woes known by taking any story that you have and one-upping you.
This might be something you can overlook the first few times, but you’ll soon start to notice that they do it anytime you open your mouth.
That’s obviously not the type of person anyone wishes to converse with.
12. Only Talking About Yourself
A conversation is a two-way street, but not everyone believes in this.
There are a lot of people out there who are self-absorbed and completely uninterested in what people around them have to say.
Rather than trying to learn more about the other person, they will avoid any mention of them and simply ramble on about themselves and what they’re going through.
Unless you’re deeply interested in that person, it’s probably the end of that conversation.
13. Having To (Always) Be Right
Nobody likes to be wrong, but it’s important to recognize that everyone has a unique opinion and point of view.
Try not to take it too personally when someone disagrees with you, and instead consider their perspective as you would your own.
This will show the other person that you are open-minded and can lead to further discussion without feelings of animosity or tension.
14. Not Making Eye Contact
Eye contact is essential when conversing with another person.
It shows you are engaged in the conversation and also makes them feel like they’re being heard.
Not making eye contact can communicate disinterest or even fear, which can make it difficult for the other person to express themselves honestly and openly.
15. Focusing On The Negative
When engaging in conversation, it’s important to remember that our words have power.
Even when discussing something that may be challenging or frustrating, try to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and bring attention to what can be done to improve it.
This will help keep conversations productive and focused on solutions rather than dwelling on negative feelings.
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Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.