Tired of small talk and gossip? Change up your conversations and talk about topics that matter. Self-worth analyst, Karen Eddington, gives you the words to make your conversations, meaningful.
What we talk about impacts how we feel. Sometimes we get stuck talking about topics that make us feel intellectually stagnant, unfulfilled, or empty. There are times we don’t know what a shallow conversation looks like, let alone know how to talk about things that will bring us joy.
Learn how to change your words and questions in order to feel more purpose.
Talking about the same topic over, and over, and over, and over.
Example: The Young Mom Trap
Kids, kids, kids, babies, kids. Sippy cups. Potty training. Soccer practice. How many kids you want to have. Whether or not you’re “trying” for more. Baby weight. Baby hungry. Baby strollers. Babies. Babies. Babies. Do you know how to talk about anything else? Especially mothers who are surrounded by their kids all day can easily let motherhood consume the conversation, almost to an unhealthy level, kids dominate their lives. If you only ate pizza, you would eventually miss out on important nutrients. Same with your conversations, motherhood is a great thing to talk about, but if you talk about it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner you are going to miss out on some key emotional nutrients.
Real Conversation Replacement: Your dreams
Instead of repeating yourself try talking about what you want to become (because no matter your age or life situation, you are always becoming something). This can include current goals and dreams. What do you want to learn, experience, and do? What is something you really want to accomplish this year?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to___________ and what would it take for that to happen?
2. Surface Conversations
Words that do not explore intellect, emotion, or knowledge (events, weather, observations, facts, sports, small talk)
Example: Awards Show Fashion Interviews and Family Reunions
Think about conversations that take place on the red carpet. An actress may find herself repeating over and over her gown designer without ever getting asked what she thinks, feels, or knows. You may find something similar happens at a potluck with your long lost relatives. They ask facts, discuss weather, talk up the latest score from the game last night, or focus on surface ideas that never really explore our essence.
Real Conversation Replacement: Lessons Learned
Value people enough to hear their story. What obstacles have you overcome? What were you like in high school? What have you learned from grandma? What is your message? How did you get where you are in your career? Tell me a childhood memory? Do you have any advice about _______ (a home improvement project, decorating, family vacations)?
3. Judgemental Conversations:
Words that are critical, closed or gossip related.
Magazines, TV shows, and even some beauty salons are geared for “entertainment-entertainment” meaning to talk about people for amusement, as a way to enjoyably pass time. The #1 reason everyday people feel judged, is because they are judging other people. If you want to stop feeling disapproval from others, stop being so critical yourself. If you are defensive, you need to be the one to avoid conversations filled with gossip, and disapproval.
Consider the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
Real Conversation Replacement: Ideas
The most recent book you’ve read, or a new technique that made your life easier become ways to have a real conversation. Try talking about convictions, principles, or even something that made you laugh.
What do you think about_______? (global warming, recycling, using butter over margarine) Tell me about something you do that makes your life easier. You are a great teacher. What do you do behind the scenes to be a good teacher?
4. Ideal Conversations:
Withholding information to gain credibility. Trying to come across as perfect.
Example: Banana Peel Theory
Think about a child pulling off the couch cushions at the same time the doorbell rings. What if they discovered and pulled out an old brown banana peel? Can you embrace the banana peel in front of company or do you hide it? Most of the time we hide, we don’t want people to see the imperfection in our lives. The same thing goes for our conversations, we try to hide or withhold the banana peel in our conversation. We don’t want people to see our flaws so we act as if they don’t exist.
Real Conversation Replacement: Sincerity
Instead of trying so hard to come across perfect, try talking about what is genuine, even if that means exposing what went wrong. “You came to visit at the perfect time, look at the banana peel we just found in the couch.” “What is the hardest thing about _____ (being a mother, your job, etc)? What was disappointing to you about your day? When have you felt out of your comfort zone?
Karen Eddington is a Self-Worth Analyst and has spent over ten years researching women and teens. She is the author of Today, I Live and is a popular speaker on self-esteem. For more information you can go to www.kareneddington.com