i have issues keeping up conversation with women. It’s not that i dont like women or are scared to talk to them (often told i talk too much) just not sure how to keep the conversation going or what to talk about. any suggestions?
You’re told that you talk too much, TT, but I bet you’re never told that you ask too much. Rather than trying to keep the conversation going with new topics to talk about, try asking a woman about herself. Use open-ended questions that she can’t answer with one word. Observe things about her and make the questions specific and thoughtful. Is she carrying a book? Ask how it is. Does she know anything about the area where you two are located? What’s her favorite thing about living where she lives? Arriving at dates or meetings with a pre-determined list of questions won’t work either. The conversation will likely seem forced, disjointed, and she may be able to discern your technique (I’m not just making stuff up –I’ve actually tried the list thing. No good. You gotta ad lib).
Of course, if the entire exchange consists of you asking questions and her answering, it becomes more of an interview than a conversation, so mix it up. Observe her, ask thoughtful questions, offer a compliment or two (no more than that or they won’t seem genuine), tell stories, listen to her stories, and wait for her to ask a few questions of her own. The SCOWL technique, let’s call it (Stories, Compliments, Observe, Wait, Listen). Go find some women and SCOWL at them right now, TT!
I’m usually the advice giver, but I’m going to try something a little different this time. I’m terrible when it comes to expressing my feelings. I keep things to myself and I’ve been that way my entire life. I rarely open up and I’m not a very “sensitive” person. This complicates things when someone wants to be intimate with me. There’s someone I like, that likes me and he opens up to me about things and I don’t reciprocate. I’m not sure what I want from him (friend, friend with benefits, a title, idk) but he does get annoyed that I don’t share things with him. I guess I’d like to be able to let people in more and relate to them on a more intimate level mentally, but the past has taught me that that’s a bad idea. How can I bridge the distance I have with not just him, but people in general?
From the way you describe your situation, ER, I can tell that you’re a very cerebral person –always in your head, always analyzing. I can be much the same way myself at times (which is probably why we’re both good advice-giver-outers). But with the benefits come the consequences, and being so analytical can definitely prevent us from opening up to people –we’re constantly analyzing risk versus reward: what if he dumps me after I’ve revealed so much? What if he’s not discreet? What if he thinks I’m crazy? What if HE’S crazy? In this way, we analyze ourselves out of ever connecting romantically, for fear of becoming vulnerable once our real feelings are exposed. That fear of vulnerability, compounded by your past bad experiences, will keep you safe from being hurt, but is safety enough?
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the phrase “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” but it is true in many cases. You have to take the risk of putting yourself out there to gain the reward of connecting with someone on a deeper level. Playing it safe guarantees that you’ll never be hurt, but it also guarantees that you’ll never connect with anyone either. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), for cerebral types like us, it’s not as easy as saying “Put yourself out there! Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!” What I do, and what you need to do, is some risk assessment. Calculate if this guy could probably be worth the risk and if so, leap! This differs from our normal analysis in that you’re not trying to figure out if he’s perfect, or if there is no chance of him hurting you, but rather if it is very likely that he will hurt you. Do the same for others in your life. You say you want to “let more people in.” Assess if they are worth the risk of doing so. Separating the high risk people from the acceptable risks could make the vulnerability that comes with opening up a little less scary.
Also, start small when it comes to opening up to people. I sense that you might enjoy having a somewhat mysterious image when it comes to revealing personal things about yourself, ER, but it doesn’t have be so all or nothing. When the man you mentioned shares something about himself, try sharing something small about yourself with him, and observe how he reacts. If all goes well, next time, try revealing something a little deeper. By moving slowly, you give yourself more time to figure out if he is worth sharing yourself with. You can do it.
What do you do when you don’t think you really like the people your childhood friends have grown up to be?
I have a couple girlfriends who have been close to me since high school. We’ve had the typical stupid fights and falling outs that most girlfriends do growing up, but now that I’m an adult, I don’t find petty disagreements typical anymore. We all have jobs, bills, school work and loads of other things to keep up with, and the last thing I want to have to work at is keeping my friends. At this point, things with them should be a breeze, right? Wrong! They can be critical and judgmental, and they often think it’s their place to tell me what to do. I do think it’s a friend’s job to give advice but not to stop speaking to you if you don’t take it.
They’ve been my friends so long, though, I can only go so many days without feeling like I need to call or see them. Sometimes I wonder if I actually get something from them or if it’s solely habitual to call them friends. And if I met them today, I honestly don’t know if I would like them.
So, should I continue these relationships? Or let them go? And how would I even do that when we’ve been so close for so long? How would things be with us having so many mutual friends and common places? Is all this worth me losing my oldest friends to put my trust in newer friends?
– 99 Problems, Should My Friends Be One?
To respond to your clever pseudonym, no, your friends should not be one!
As previously discussed on this site, we all have to determine when our friends’ negative energy and drama affects our lives in a harmful way, and I think you have come to that point. You can tell that your childhood friends’ judgmental and controlling attitudes have no place in your adult life. The problem is how to distance yourself from them, and if that’s even possible or advisable. I may have a “best of both worlds” solution for you though.
I’ve found in my life that some friends stick around for so long, they become more like family than friends. Meaning, in the case of negative or annoying friends, you love them to death despite their shortcomings (perhaps out of habit), and for better or for worse, you’re stuck with them. But like those certain annoying family members, you don’t have to spend all of your time with them once you become an adult -you choose how much or little face/phone time they get.
Start to think of these negative childhood friends as family rather than friends, and see how your attitude changes. When one tries to control you by giving you the cold shoulder until you follow her advice, just think “My family is crazy,” stop worrying about what she thinks, and keep it movin –like you would to a Great Aunt trying to make you wear a girdle to church. Your friend will come around eventually, just like family. This approach saves you from having to deal with the pain and awkwardness of splitting of mutual friends that comes with a REAL friendship breakup, and also frees up your schedule to go out and meet new friends as an adult –friends you can relate to as the person you’ve grown up to be, who can add to your present life.
And please don’t take my advice to mean you should always hold onto friendships that are negative or even toxic, but in this case, I suspect you really love these friends, and just need a break from them. But like family, they’ll always be there for you when you really need it, and if you haven’t heard from them in a while, you’ll get the urge to call.
If you don’t see your question here, check back next Thursday (10.07.10)