I’m not much of a conversation starter. I’m usually the one on the other end of the table answering the questions. During job interviews, I have no problem answering questions because I’m use to being asked a lot of questions. I find it hard to start up a conversation with someone because I don’t know what to ask. There are certain limitations to the questions that can be asked depending on the level of comfort I have with the other person. If I ask them a question, I’m sure they’ll be expecting me to answer the same question when it’s their turn to ask.
A typical car ride with me consists of little talking if any. It’s not that I prefer to concentrate on the road or anything. It’s because I don’t have much to say. If I’m driving alone, I usually have the music on and singing along to it. If there’s another person in the car, I’ll make small talk but sometimes the small talk ends fairly quickly.
Since I’m the driver, I feel obligated to start up conversations. Although we’re just in a car and it’s not really necessary to talk, I like to be a good host and start something. Sometimes, I find myself saying close to nothing at all. Most of the time, I’m quiet because I disagree with what the other person is saying. But other times, I’m quiet because I ran out of things to say. And then there are times when I just don’t feel like talking at all.
When I get into a taxi cab, usually I make small talk with the driver. I’ll ask him about current events, sports, the weather and just every day things that strangers talk about. I’m not going to ask him about his personal life and why he chose to be a tax driver. It’s just a small little conversation that usually lasts during the whole taxi ride. Most taxi drivers are good with stuff like that.
I, on the other hand, am not so good with stuff like that. As soon as someone gets into the car with me, I let them do the talking while I listen. If I don’t feel like talking, I’ll slowly turn up the radio to hint that I don’t want to talk. If the passenger really wants to talk, they’ll have to shout. If it gets to the point where they’re shouting a lot, I have the common courtesy to turn down the music. I usually only have the music flaring when I’m driving alone.
People usually just complain when they’re in the car. Complaining about the weather, the traffic and whatever they did the day before. When I drive my brother to work, he’s always complaining about something. I don’t want to say anything because it doesn’t do any good. The last conversation I had with him was about his visit to the casino to find my friend’s dad.
They find my friend’s dad at the casino in Niagara. The dad wasn’t ready to go home yet so they went around playing a table. My brother had money so he played a few games of black jack. After losing every hand, they went back to find the dad. The dad was doing well so he gave my brother and my friend $20 to kill some more time.
My brother took the $20 and played a few rounds of roulette. He said he did pretty well because he was up $250. He put away $200 and used the $50 to play. I was thinking, “That’s a good move.” Since it wasn’t his money to start with, he split it 50/50 and gave half of it to my friend. He played and lost the $50. But then he was under the impression that he knew how the roulette table works so he devised a system. By the end of the night, he had lost the money that he had won’t. And here he was in the car telling me that he should have saved it.
I ended up telling him that the system that he devised was no system at all. It was just a pattern that he may have noticed but I doubt it would have worked all the time. The casino wasn’t designed to allow people to win money. If it was, I don’t think they’d be in business right now. Everything that he had thought up was probably just all in his head. It’s because of stuff like this, that I don’t say much when I’m in the car with him.
There are times when I don’t mind having to listen to people complain. If they are complaining about something and then later then mentioned that they did something about it, then yes, I’ll listen. But if they complain and ended up not doing something about it, it’s just a waste of breath. I’ll complain about stuff too but if the other person doesn’t say anything back, I stop complaining because I’m sure they don’t want to hear it.
It seems like complaints are a good way to start a conversation but I prefer not to go that route. If I can’t find something better to talk about, I just stay quiet. But I don’t like the quietness. If I’m sitting beside someone, I prefer to have some sort of conversation going, even if the conversation doesn’t flow. I don’t mind talking about sports, then computers and then someone’s pet cat. As long as someone is using their vocal chords, it’s all good.
A key to a good conversation flow is to ask questions. I’ll allow you to get the other person’s view on the topic and it’ll give you a way to respond to the same question. But what do you do if the other person doesn’t ask questions at all? In a situation like that, you have to ask and answer your own questions. But it gets boring after a while because basically, you’re talking to yourself.
Me: How are you today?
Friend: I’m fine.
Me: Oh, I’m fine too.
Me: How’s the weather over there?
Friend: It’s snowing here.”
Me: Ha ha! We have no snow.
Me: I was hoping we would get snow for Christmas.
Friend: We got a lot of it.
Me: Yeah, you’re lucky.
As you can see, this conversation eventually trailed off. If this was on MSN, there’s probably a chance that one of us will unexpectedly have to go somewhere. It’s either that or the other person closed their message window and just left you hanging. Conversations like these makes you not want to start anything with the other person. You already know that they’re not going to say much so why bother. If I start a conversation with someone, I would like to also be the one to end it.