The ability to make a conversation not awkward is a skill those who want to be socially adept need to have. Awkward conversations can turn off a lot of people immediately, after all. If you want to be able to talk to others properly and actually have meaningful, relevant conversations with them, awkwardness is one of the main things you want to avoid.
For a lot of people, being awkward during conversations, or making the conversation itself awkward, is something they have no control over. Sometimes, they can make a conversation awkward without even intending it. If you’re one of those people, then don’t worry. There are things that you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Be an active listener
The best way to not make a conversation awkward is to make sure every one of them is meaningful. And the best way to make meaningful conversations is to be an active listener. If you’re able to keep listening to the other person, utilizing your undivided attention, you’ll never have to worry about having awkward conversations.
To do this, you need to not only listen to the words the other person is saying but also the meaning behind the things they tell. Reading their body language can also have a major part in this. Understand what it is the other person is trying to convey to you, whether they’re looking for sympathy, advice, or even if it’s just your company at the present.
If you’re able to figure out what they’re trying to convey by being an active listener, you can interact with them accordingly moving forward. This then makes the conversation more meaningful for you and for the other person. For as long as you can keep this up, you won’t have an awkward situation in your hands.
Don’t be afraid of a little silence
A little bit of silence can occur every now and again during conversations. Don’t be afraid of this. Don’t tense up whenever things become too silent. Silence can be treated as breathers in between deep conversations, or moments where everyone in the conversation can take a few seconds to take everything in.
Here’s a little tip, when you’re at a party and you’re attempting to engage someone in conversation, always have a drink in your hand. If you don’t drink alcohol, it can be a can of soda, or anything of the like. Whenever you feel a moment of silence about to seep in, take a sip of your drink while thinking of an appropriate response or follow-up question.
That said, just because you shouldn’t be afraid of a little silence, that doesn’t mean you should just allow it to take over.
Don’t take too long to respond
While it will be good for you as a conversationalist to not be afraid of a little silence, you also shouldn’t take too long to respond. One of the ways to not make a conversation awkward is to make sure that it is flowing nicely and naturally. A conversation with too many lengthy breaks becomes stale, and eventually awkward.
Taking heed of the first advice on this article can greatly help out with this aspect. If you pay attention to the other person and listen to them actively, you’ll rarely have moments where it will take you too long to respond. If you’re engaged in a conversation enough, you’ll be able to keep conversations flowing naturally.
Be curious to make a conversation not awkward
When speaking with someone, remember to always maintain a curious mind. Be as curious as you can be about the other person. Find things about them you can consider fascinating. If you’re dying to know certain things about a particular person, you’ll be very motivated to have a deep and meaningful conversation with them. This will negate any chance for an awkward conversation to ever happen.
While doing this is not as easy as it sounds, you should be able to pick up on this habit eventually. The key is to just keep doing it whenever you’re trying to engage someone in a conversation.
When meeting someone, try to picture what they’re like. Think about the things they’d be into or what they do for a living. You can then confirm these thoughts by asking them questions about themselves. This exercise will force your mind to be more curious about somebody each time you meet a new person.
To satisfy the curious mind you’re trying to hone, make sure to ask questions to the person you’re talking to. A lot of people tend to be too shy to ask questions, fearing they might be crossing a line or are bothering the other person. However, if you’re goal is to not make a conversation awkward, or any conversation with any person, for that matter, then your aim should be to make conversations meaningful. That much is clear already. Asking questions is a very good way of making this happen.
Just make sure that the questions you ask are actually relevant to the conversation you’re having. If you’re afraid of crossing a line, then don’t. You can still ask questions without being too personal or offending the other person.
Practice telling stories
You can also avoid making conversations awkward by using stories. Telling stories in conversations is always a good way of keeping that interaction engaging and memorable. That said, have a few stories ready to be told. These stories can either be personal experiences or funny stories you once heard elsewhere.
Knowing stories to tell is just one part of the equation. You also need to know how to tell them correctly. Try practicing telling your stories at home while in front of a mirror. This is just to make sure you can tell your stories coherently. This will also make you look very articulate in public, which is a trait common amongst socially adept people.
Encourage the other person to speak more
Being the active speaker in the conversation is a good way to make sure the conversation is not awkward. However, if you want to keep that going in the long run, and you want to consistently make conversations meaningful, you also need to encourage the other person to speak up more.
This can also help if you’ve always preferred being the listener instead of being the active speaker, which is preferable in many situations. That said, encourage the other person by asking them leading questions, or by throwing a question back to them after you’ve been asked.
Laugh it off
Whenever the inevitable comes and an awkward arises, don’t tense up. Don’t back down. Remember that it’s not the end of the conversation yet. You can always save that conversation with one very simple, yet effective tip: laugh it off.
You need to remember that everyone has moments like those every once in a while. Despite you doing your best to make sure a conversation isn’t awkward, one or two instances may still slip through the cracks. When that happens, acknowledge it instead of just brushing it off. Just let it be something you can laugh at, apologize if you need to, and move on.
Know how to use humor in a conversation
One thing that can immensely help you deal with awkwardness, in any situation, is to use humor. If you have a reputation of being funny, even just on occasions, people will see your moments of awkwardness as a quirk instead of a flaw.
Aside from that, using humor in a conversation is also a very good way of keeping people hooked on you. They’ll find you more charming, friendly, and approachable, and they’ll want to speak with you even more.
If humor is not your strongest suit, do some research. Watch stand-up comics do their routine. Watch sitcoms in your free time. Learn from some of your funniest friends. You don’t need to be funny all the time if that’s not the type of person you are, you just at least need to know how to use humor in a conversation or to lighten up the mood.
Be confident with your own voice
One of the best ways to not make a conversation awkward is to actually be confident with your own voice. Have confidence that your conversations will always go well. Do your best to have a clear voice and be articulate with your thoughts. Everything will begin with your confidence. And if that falters, everything else can crumble too.
That said, whenever you’re engaged in a conversation, make sure that your voice is clear. Don’t mumble your words and don’t look away when speaking to someone. Engage with them by looking them in the eyes.
Be articulate. This is something you actually need to practice in order to be good at it. Not everyone is as articulate as they want to be, but you can with practice and dedication. Being articulate is just about knowing how to speak the words that are already in your head in a manner that is understandable by everyone. Make sure you’re able to voice your thoughts out properly so that the person you’re talking to can fully understand you.
Finally, keep your focus on the conversation and the person you’re talking to. Feelings of anxiety will prohibit you from having the confidence you want to have, and focusing your thoughts externally will stop you from being too anxious.
Know your strengths
It will also help you avoid having conversations if you know what your strengths are and you know how to utilize them properly. For example, if you’re a natural storyteller, use that to your advantage. If you’re capable of always giving decent advice, use that to your advantage.
Whatever your strengths are, work on that so you can fully use them in a conversation setting. On the other hand, knowing your strengths will also make you realize what your weaknesses are. That way, you can work on both simultaneously. In time, you’ll be a conversational aficionado and awkward conversations will be a thing of the past for you.
Empathy is a very powerful tool any social person should have. Better yet, it’s a trait any person should have. Having empathy allows you to actually feel for and with the other person. If you can empathize with the person you’re talking to, you can really make your conversations with them engaging, deep, and meaningful, thus removing any possibility of awkwardness.
Thankfully, being empathetic is easier than it seems. All it takes is a little bit of imagination, a little bit of heart, and a whole lot of humanity. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that other people have their own struggles too when we’re dealing with a lot of things ourselves.
Remind yourself that other people also have experiences, stories, successes, and problems from their lives. Actually feel that and internalize that information. You’ll be able to empathize with others easily when you realize these things.
Know when to end a conversation
Ending a conversation can sometimes be just as important as keeping it up. As fun or as awful as a conversation can be, it will have to end some time.
If the conversation is going well, then make sure you avoid any awkwardness at the end by making sure it ends well. If you’re about to leave or they are, make sure to let them know how fun the conversation was for you. Let them feel good by telling them their company was pleasant.
If the conversation was anything but good, then there’s no need to force it. Get out of there, but be nice about it. Sometimes, forcing a conversation to happen with someone you just can’t connect with will only lead to more awkwardness.
Finally, you need to remember to just relax during these conversations. You’re only engaging in a conversation with a friend, or someone you’re trying to befriend. Take it easy. Be excited with the notion of a conversation. Great things can happen with something as simple as that.
If you’re able to relax and have a good time each time you interact with someone, not to make a conversation awkward is an effort you won’t even have to consider anymore. All conversations will just flow naturally, free of dead silences and awkward moments.
This may be difficult for you right now, especially if you’re someone who has had one too many awkward moments during conversations in the past, but just know that you can always get past it. With enough effort, attention, and willingness, you will. Just remember everything you’ve read here the next time you engage someone in a conversation. Just have fun with it and each interaction will be a delight for you.