Family & Relationships Singles & Dating

Curious Conversing

Flirting is an activity that sometimes ripples with powerful emotional electricity. It usually starts with a visual- we see someone who looks attractive and piques our interest. Then hopefully, we are inspired to approach that person and ask or share unusual things about ourselves. It can seem intimidating, that first conversation, but nothing helps this process better than giving in to two of humanity's most enduring and endearing features: our natural curiosity and desire to talk about ourselves. Curiosity did not really kill the cat, and it certainly won't hurt when you are flirting either.

In fact, most people are dying to talk about themselves and what they like or think about. If you are nervous about engaging in conversation, whether it's an initial introduction or a first date, here are the first, most basic, albeit not simple, steps to take:

€ Before you approach, assume they already want to talk with you and are interested. This is what's called €assuming rapport€ and actually puts the other person at ease. If the person feels at ease, it's very likely they'll be interested in engaging in conversation with you.
€ Remember to be present and grounded. Take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground, smile and approach the object of your desire with €Hi, I don't think we've met before, I'm _________.€

Then, engage your curiosity. Make it easy on your conversation partner and be curious about them- ask a bunch of open-ended questions (not ones of the yes/no variety) that allow them to consider their answers and express themselves. Keep the conversation going by using these phrases:

€ Tell me about€¦€¦
€ How did you€¦€¦?
€ What did you like best about€¦€¦? How come?

Then most importantly, listen without judgment. This isn't as easy as it sounds and most people struggle with this side of the conversation. Can you listen to someone's response without wanting to tell your story right away? Not argue with their reasoning? Refrain from agreeing with them by adding what happened to you? Can you, instead, just listen and be present for what they have to say? Deeply listening gives people a reason to share. Feeling truly heard is a gift you can give someone easily. And, it gives the object of your desire another reason to stick around.

And active listening is good for you as well- if you like their stories, and the way they express themselves, you are one step closer to spending time with someone interesting. If not, well, you've just confirmed your lack of interest in someone with just a handful of fairly easy and painless questions.

Because there is a chance that after approaching and initiating conversation with the attractive person, you may decide you are not interested or are simply done with the interaction. How do you walk away gracefully? Try this:

1. Thank them for their time by appreciating one thing about your conversation together. Be genuine and specific. We can always find one thing to appreciate if we were paying attention.

2. Let them know that you'll be moving on from your conversation and let them know what you are going to do next.

The entire exchange may sound like this, €It's been nice to talk with you! I really loved hearing about your scuba experience in Belize; it's a place I've been considering visiting someday! I'm going to go find the friend I came with. Have a good rest of the night.€

Remember €" be curious. It puts people at ease and helps them engage with you. What you get out of being curious is valuable information about whether this cute guy or beautiful girl really is someone you want to ask out on a date. And who knows, maybe that person is the one for you!

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