It doesn’t matter how long you know someone or if you’ve just met that person, sometimes you just don’t know what to talk about. Extroverts have it easier than introverts, but it can still be difficult if one of them is bored or boring, interested or grasping at straws to find something interesting to say.
My friend once told me about a date he had with someone he had just met and we discovered that she was one of my clients. This man has a brilliant mind and is interested in everything; my client’s level of intelligence was average and she wasn’t interested in much of anything.
The next day my friend called to tell me about the fascinating date he had with her and what an interesting conversationalist she is. I asked him who did the talking. He’s one of these people who analyzes everything so he had to stop and think. Finally, he said that he couldn’t remember anything about her because she had him talking about himself.
I thought it was brilliant strategy on her part but as it turned out, it wasn’t strategy; she just couldn’t think of anything to talk about so she asked him about himself.
A few weeks later, I heard a story about a woman who was exasperated with her husband’s silences. They had been married many years and no matter what she wanted to discuss, he always answered in monosyllables or just shrugged his shoulders and that was the end of the discussion.
One evening, they went to a restaurant and the wife was so distraught with her husband’s silences that she said to him “If you don’t want to talk about your day, and you don’t want to talk to me about anything else that’s going on in your life, at least pretend to be interested in me. If you can’t think of anything to say, then tell me the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears so I can feel that you want to be sitting here with me.”
The husband looked at her, paused, and then proceeded to tell her the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He played the part of each of the bears, using different voices for each of the characters. His wife was captivated by the way he was narrating the story and so she listened intently to everything he was saying.
In a moment of silence, they heard a woman at the next table say to her husband, “Why can’t you talk to me like that man is talking to his wife? They look like they have been married a long time and yet he’s talking to her like he really enjoys her company.”