This is How You Avoid Awkward Silence
Being able to small talk to anyone is a great skill to have, but being able to take the conversation to the next level and let the relationship evolve is an even more important skill. Even though small talk is initially a great place to start a conversation or even new friendship, so many conversations and potentially friendships suffocates if they dont escalate through this stage within the first few minutes.
Small talk is used as the initial part of the conversation, as a kind of bonding ritual witch help the acquaintances to explore each other’s social position. What this means is that small talk is often focused on getting to know the basic fact about one another. “How do you do? What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?”. Small talk is also used to cash up between people that already know each other but haven’t seen each other for some time, “How is your job? How’ your wife? Did you have a good vacation?”
Small talk is not bad, but many people have a hard time moving past this basic level of interaction. If you want to be good to develop new friendship it’s important to be able to take the conversation past the level of small talk, and to do so quickly, because no matter how great a wibe you have with a person, the conversation can only live for so long without escalation, if you fail to escalation the awkwardness will soon starts to swallow the option for further connection.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about, have you even met someone new, and then both of you were just struggling to make the conversation flow, but it feel forced and you are just circling around without finding anything to connect on. You that awkward plateau where you are asking questions and she is answering, but the conversation never really takes off. This is a terrible place to be, I know because I have been there so many times.
Here is an example of such a AWKWARD conversation:
- HIM: Hi, What your name? (handshake)
- HER: Hi, I’m Sophie.
- HIM: Cool, I’m Markus… So where are you from?
- HER: I grew up in London, but moved here three years ago. You?
- HIM: I’m from the US.
- HER: Oh I see, so what do you do?
- HIM: I’m an architect, I draw cute houses mostly, How about you, what’s your profession?”
- HER: I work as a teacher at the school down town.
- HIM: “That sounds great” HE says. And then after an awkward pause, HE asks, “So… how do you like working with children?”
- HER: “It’s great, I like it a lot” she says, “How do you like being an architect?”
- HIM: Well I find interesting and it pays the bills” he tells her. She offers a small polite laughter – he laughs in return, and then there’s another awkward pause.
- HER: she breaks the silence “Ok, I should probably go back to my friends and get another drink,” she tells him, and end with: “It was really nice meeting you.”
- HIM: “Sure, You too” he says.
Do you know this situation? They never passed the level of small talk and the conversation started to stall. They might have been interested in each other, but the lack of escalation made it more and more awkward and in the end the uncomfortable social pressure made her end the conversation.
So why does conversations often get so awkward when it doesn’t evolve past the point of small talk? Because the people involved ends up talking about thing they don’t care about, and both know that they are not asking because they are genuinely interested, they just do so to fill the void. The point of the initial small talk is a stepping stone into getting to know each other, but they fail to relate and therefore the conversation went dead.
Ask you self, do you think that they were really interested in knowing wherever each other were from, or even what they do for a living? NO they were NOT interested in that, they were just trying to fill out the space of silence. And by that they missed an opportunity to get to know each other and build a real connection.
The point of this introduction was to make you realize that the failure to get past the small talk is really a failure to connect. That also why it can be so awkward because both of you want to relate to each other but it’s just not happening. But luckily for us this is not rocket science so in the next part of this article I will tell you the best and easiest ways to connect.
..so the buttom-line here is, if you don’t want to end up in awkward silence you have to pass through the small talk part of the conversation (QUICKLY).