Dating / Relationship Question and Answer


25 July 2001


How To Never Be At A Loss For Words


Do you ever get “tongue-tied” when you’re talking to someone –
especially  someone you’re interested in? Next to public
speaking, this is the most common fear  people have. But, fear
be gone! We’re going to solve this problem once and for


To Be a Better Speaker – Listen!


An amazing thing happens when you learn to listen – you become a
better  conversationalist! It’s a fact of communications –
you’ve got to learn to listen!


Listening is an active task – it doesn’t mean simply saying “uh
huh” ever few  seconds or nodding your head. You’ve got to
actually pay attention to the person  speaking. Why? Because
you’re going to use their conversation to keep things


Also, if you’re at all interested in this person, you show it
with your body  language and your ability to listen to them. If
you’re not listening, this person  will detect it right


Starting Conversations


How do you start a conversation with someone that you’re
interested in meeting?  This is one of the most common
questions I get. People don’t really just want  to break the
ice without having some way to continue, as this is awkward.
There  has to be some “pay off” to making the first move.


So, how do you do this without coming off like a stalker? First,
forget using a  “line”. Something like, “Did it hurt when you
fell out of heaven?” is just  going to make you look foolish
and seem like you don’t have anything else to say.  Your
prospective dialog partner is probably going to feel awkward as
well. This  isn’t a good way to begin!


Instead, find something you have in common. If you’re at a
wedding, try asking  the other person if they are a friend of
the bride or groom. At a coffee house,  ask this person if
they’ve tried the caramel latte here. At the gym ask them if
they’ve found a particular exercise useful.


In general, you should avoid complimenting someone. Why? Because,
when you  compliment someone you don’t know, all you can focus
on is how he or she looks.  “You have beautiful eyes” is a nice
thing to say, but the person has no control  over this. They
we’re born this way. Many people feel uncomfortable when
attention is drawn to their appearance. Thus, avoid compliments when
you first meet  someone new.


For example, at the beach, you might ask this person, “With a tan
like that,  you must be a surfer,” (this isn’t complimentary –
it’s observational), “ever  ride the waves in Hawaii?”


“Open-Ended” Questions


To keep a conversation going, you need to learn to ask open-ended
questions.  These are questions that have more than a “yes or
no” answer to them. For  example, “Hey, nice place huh?” is a
closed-ended question, begging the response,  “sure, what
ever.” On other hand asking, “Great place – what do you like most
about  coming here?” is open-ended. If gives the person the
chance to express their  opinions.


The other key to open-ended questions is to keep things somewhat
focused. Don’t  expect the person you’re talking to “jump
through hoops.” If you meet someone  in church and ask, “So,
why to YOU believe there is a God?” you’re asking too  much of
the person. Try to stay more focused and keep it simple. A
better  question might be, “Why do you come to this


What to Do With Lulls in a


Some pauses are natural in conversation. When they go too long,
they become  uncomfortable. This is where the art of listening
really comes in handy. If you’ve  been listening to what the
other person has said, you have something to begin  the next
round of communication.


Instead of spending nervous seconds thinking about what you want
to say to  someone. Relax, and listen to them. Use THEIR
conversation to keep things going.  You can ask someone about
something they’ve said, and this is by far easier than  trying
to come up with something on your own.


By using open-ended questions based on what they say, you can
keep a  conversation going almost forever. However, remember,
this is a conversation not an  interrogation! Thus, you don’t
want to “pick apart” everything someone says. Just  keep it
light and easy. “Yeah – I know what you mean” can go a long way.


Don’t Interrupt!


Nothing is more annoying to a speaker than being interrupted. If
you don’t want  to have the conversation in the first place,
don’t start! All conversations  have a natural “cadence” or
rhythm. This is similar to the waves at the ocean. All  surfers
know that waves come in “sets”. These sets are combinations of
large  and small waves, and repeat. So too, do conversations.
You want to time your  interjections during the valleys of the
conversation sets.


At the end of a set is a longer pause where the natural rhythm of
the  conversation slows down. This is the point to watch for.
You can use this to ask another  open-ended question, or to
“close” the conversation (such as asking for a home


Don’t Dominate The


Everyone knows people who take one deep breath and just continue
a string of  sentences that lasts an hour. They have no natural
cadence to their conversation.  So, here’s a checklist to keep
in mind when YOU are the speaker:


1) Get a clear thought of what you want to say. 2) Take a moment
and think through the best (usually the shortest!) way to say
it. 3) Say what you want. 4) Pay attention! If you’re the only one
having said more than a single  sentence for the past 2
minutes, if your listener is getting glassy eyed or is no
longer paying attention – give it a rest! 5) Get your listener
involved by asking them what THEY think about the subject. 6) Now,
shut up and practice your listening skills!


Communication with a


When you meet someone new you should have a goal. If you’re
trying to get the  person’s phone number then keep that goal in
mind. If you’re trying to make a  new friend, you’ve got to
find something in common. If you’re just trying to pass  the
time, you’re approach to communication will be different.


When you meet someone new, try to keep your conversations short.
A comfortable  timeframe is about 2 to 5 minutes. This may seem
like too little time to make a  connection, but you’d be
surprised what you can do in this time. For example,  this
article is over 1100 words long, and probably took you about this
time to  read it. Now, look what we’ve done in that short
period of time!