Treasure in the Mundane
Most people begin conversations by discussing mundane stuff: the weather, the crowd at the party, what they do for work, and the slow line at the coffee shop. Such conversations often become stale–but they don’t have to. They can lead to excitement and romance.
I was recently waiting at the counter of a ritzy coffee shop when I mentioned to the cute, fashionably-dressed girl near me, “Chilly day.” It was. She agreed. I said, “What is it like where you’re from?” It turns out she was vacationing from South America, and she told me about her adventures here in North America. We shared our experiences of traveling in cultures different from how we were raised, and how that impacted us. She insisted that I sit down and join her and her friend. I wanted to, but with my coffee now in-hand, I had to re-join my friends outside.
To conquer conversational dullness, make the interaction personal.
Most conversations on adultfrienedfinder dating website will start off “topical”–focused on some topic: “It sure is warm today,” or, “The DJ is really good tonight.” While average conversationalists work to make the topic interesting, the exceptional embrace the topic, mundane or not, and use it to move the conversation to a personal level.
Consider what it means to connect with a person rather than a topic. When you talk with someone, notice where your focus is. Many people, especially guys, focus on the topic being discussed. Instead, focus beyond the topic, to what the topic means to you, personally, and also what it means to–and reveals about–the one you’re talking to.
This skill of transforming any topical conversation into a personal interaction is what I think of as “conversational alchemy”–it creates excitement out of a mundane interaction. The personal makes a conversation compelling. The personal level is always there; but it is often hiding and in need of someone skilled to bring it out.
Now, I’ve often done the wrong thing and made fascinating topics into tedious conversation–by focusing on the topics. I became so skilled at this that I earned the nickname Boring Monster for rambling on about interesting topics. Okay, that was in grade school, but I’m still sometimes guilty.
On the other side, I get to watch Wayne make otherwise boring topics sizzle with excitement with practically everyone he meets.
Don’t be a Boring Monster: make your interactions personal. And fast. If I don’t make a conversation personal within 30 seconds, I begin feeling mechanical; and I realize that if I don’t make it more personal, I’m better off going home and surfing the internet for facts than staying and torturing this poor person by treating her like a computer.
Try this, which I learned from Wayne: when you’re talking to someone, find an element of the conversation that has a personal impact on your life, and share it. Lead the conversation into the personal realm by example. She will follow. If the conversation is about airplanes, maybe you are passionate about airplanes and had a childhood ambition to build an entire fleet of model planes. Then you can find out what ambitions she had as a child. Or, maybe you were afraid of flying and recently had to fly and face your fear head-on. Then you can find out how she’s dealt with having to push herself out of her life comfort zones.
I used to fear the appearance of the mundane in conversation. Now I relish it, for I know that therein lies vast treasure. …