What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

It is one of the most common problems in talking to someone: what to say when you don’t know what to say. It could be a person you have just met, someone at a business conference or social function or a man or woman on a first date.

You don`t need to remain tongue-tied. There are a number of things you can talk about when you don`t know what to say:

1. Mention a recent movie

These days, there are almost always new movies coming out. Mention a recent one that you’ve seen, and ask the people around you their opinion of it.

If you want to really jump start the conversation, bring up a controversial film (like “Avatar”) and you will get people talking in no time.

2. Ask where the person is from

One thing that people love to talk about is themselves. Ask where someone in the group is from, and then ask follow-up questions about the place.

What were summers/winters there like? Why did they leave? What did they like best about the place?

3. Mention a favorite hobby or pastime

You can also always bring up some hobby or pastime that you enjoy. If people express an interest in it, you can tell them all about it; how you got started, how it’s done, where you go to do it, and so on.

A real help in what to say when you don’t know what to say

is to pick out a hobby or pastime that is very different

from the usual.

For example, if you like cave exploring (also known as spelunking), mention that before saying you like to play soccer.

4. Ask about the person’s family

About the only thing people like to talk about more than themselves is their family. Just one word of warning here: make sure the person you ask about their family actually has one. If not, that can really kill the conversation.

If the person has shown off pictures or mentioned their family previously, then ask what their spouse likes to do. You can ask how their kids are doing in school, and if they have sports or hobbies they like to do. This can also lead to you bringing up your family.

5. Talk about literature

Given the huge amount of reading material around today, you can talk about new novels that are in the bookstores, e-books available online and even graphic comics.

Look around at the people you’re with, and try to gauge

what sort of book would be best to mention. A teen or young adult crowd would be interested in graphic novels, kids might like Harry Potter and adults might enjoy a talk on the latest thriller or romance novel.

6. Bring up politics

These days there is one subject on which everyone has an opinion, and that is politics.

You may need to take care with this subject; if there are people around you that have very extreme views on politics (“Obama’s a communist!” or some such thing), bringing this subject up runs the risk of causing an all out war.

7. Talk about the weather

When all else fails, you can bring up the weather. It may be a rather weak subject, but it is at least something everyone can talk about and usually has an opinion on.

As you can see, when you’re stuck for a subject to talk about, there are ways to deal with the situation of what to say when you don’t know what to say. Make use of a few of these methods, and you’ll always have something to talk about.

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