If you couldn’t tell from your newsfeed, we’re in an election year. And while everyone’s entitled to their opinion, it’s hard not to be turned off by at least some of the things people say online. Even though a lot of us feel this way, we continue to observe and participate in the conversation because that’s what social media for. However, when it comes to doing so is in real life, things can be a lot trickier, especially when you want the other people to still like you at the end of the conversation.
And this not only true with politics, but also when talking about religion, sex, race relations and the other topics that can make us blush and are considered “taboo” for polite people. The intricate ballet of expressing your beliefs while trying not piss someone off is hard to maintain.
Still, I think it’s important that we all try to lace up our shoes and dance a little, especially when it comes to relationships. When people talk about dating, what inevitably gets brought up is this concept we call “chemistry.” Most of the time we think it’s directly correlated with physical attraction, and don’t get me wrong, that’s a big part of it. But I think that guys as well as girls are looking for something more; an intellectual and emotional connection. And the only way to know if you have this connection with someone is to talk to them.
But you’ll never know if you have that connection if all you talk about is the weather or what you had for dinner the night before. So, in an effort to get all you to have more interesting conversations, I’ve compiled a few rules to follow. Remember these when you venture into taboo conversation territory on the quest to find your soul-mate or a person you can stand being around for more than an hour.
RULE ONE: LISTEN
It may sound simple, but it takes discipline to truly listen. That is because there’s difference between listening and just waiting for your turn to speak, which is what most of us do.
RULE TWO: DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE DETAILS
While it may be gratifying to the remember that author’s name, or the year that one study took place, those facts typically aren’t essential to your conversation. The person you’re talking to is more interested in your thoughts than your source material.
RULE THREE: IF YOU DON’T KNOW, SAY SO
It’s okay not to know everything. The point of conversation is to learn more life and the world around us while also understanding more about the person we’re speaking with, but how can we ever learn anything if we already know everything?
RULE FOUR: DON’T SPEAK IN ABSOLUTES
We all might think of ourselves as judge and juror of the law of common of sense. But there’s no better way to halt a great conversation in its tracks than by speaking with absolute certainty. You should enter every conversation thinking that you have something to learn and that everyone has something to teach you.
RUKE FIVE: BE CLEAR
If you feel strongly about a certain topic, state your opinion clearly and try not to repeat yourself. Don’t be afraid of your beliefs scaring someone off. As long as you’re open to listening to the other side, you should have nothing to worry about.