My last post was the “thirty day no-gossip challenge.” Since so many conversations seem to be about other people, particularly in a negative context, I promised to write a post with suggestions for positive conversation topics.
The idea for this post came from the memory of a sweet conversation I witnessed between my then four-year old niece, Kate, and her 4-year old neighbor Erika.
Kate: “Do you like cookies?”
Kate: “Do you LOVE them?”
End of conversation, but a life-long friendship was forged when they discovered they had the love of cookies in common.
I know they were only four, but that was a nice conversation starter: find out what interests you share and go from there.
Here’s more, ranging from the easy to the sublime:
1. Ask the other person about themselves. I always notice in meeting new people how many people tend to talk only about themselves and have no interest in me. [As in the old Hollywood cliche, “That’s enough about me. What do you think of my latest movie?]
2. Look around: what’s in your environment that you can talk about: the landscaping, art, presentation of food in a restaurant?
3. Check out social bookmarking sites to find out what people are talking about [as long as it’s not gossip!]
4. If you’re going to talk about someone else, talk about their virtues and good qualities. Didn’t Mary look great in that dress today? That’s a great color on her. Wasn’t that a great meal she cooked? The day after the Golden Globes, the Today Show reviewed some of the fashions on the red carpet. Not one negative comment. “That was a great look on her”; “she really wore it well,” etc. That’s the way to have a positive conversation.
5. Do you have any interesting trips planned for this year?
6. Where did you grow up?
7. Do you have any brothers or sisters? Where do they live? What do they do?
8. Do you have any children? [or pets] Tell me about them.
9. What are your hobbies? [If you have hobbies in common, that will lead to plenty of conversations.]
10. Do you play any musical instruments?
11. Where did you go to school?
12. Where did you grew up?
13. What’s your favorite sport?
14. . . .TV show
15. . . . Music
16. . . . Performers
17. . . . Movies
18. . . . Sports team
19. . . . Place
20. . . . Clothing trend
21. . . . Holiday tradition
22. What would you do if you won the lottery?
23. What’s the best thing you learned in the past month?
24. Who are your role models?
25. If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
26. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
27. What’s the best advice you ever received?
28. What would you like to be doing in five years?
29. What would you do if you knew you could change the world?
30. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
31. What are you most grateful for?
32. What was a time in your life when you felt everything flowed easily and you couldn’t fail?
33. If you could awaken one aspect of your personality that you had as a child and feel you have lost touch with as an adult, what would it be?
34. When you really want to manifest something positive in your life, what is the process you use to bring it into being?
35. How do you make decisions? What’s your process? Does it work well? What would you change?
36. What’s a time you made a significant decision and how did it work out?
37. If money were no object, and you could have any experience in your life, do anything you wanted, what would you do?
38. What do you believe in? What do you stand for?
Ask open ended questions to keep the conversation going.
Never, ever allow the conversation to go negative. That will defeat the purpose of the no-gossip challenge.
Make sure you find a topic you are both interested in, otherwise one person will be very bored.
Let me know how it goes.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Source unknown
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com