How can I avoid talking to strangers

Having in-depth conversations: This is how we get close

Get off the surface! Into the depths!

Small talk is like fast food. Satisfies the first hunger, but is neither sustainable nor healthy. In-depth conversations are nourishment for our soul. But what actually makes such conversations and, above all, how do you conduct them? We have a few tips that will help you communicate more intensively.

What constitutes an in-depth conversation?

It is logical that we do not experience any added value for our lives when we banter about the weather. And most people answer an obligatory "How are you" with an unreflective "Thank you, good!". Of course, in the two-minute chance encounter at the bakery, we cannot talk about what moves us deeply, but in longer conversations we wish to learn more from the other person and to share our problems with someone we like and whom we trust. Profound problems do not have to be limited to worrying, we want an intelligent exchange of ideas that inspires us and, at best, leads us on new paths. And if we really want to get to know someone, good questions are crucial.

In-depth conversations make you so happy

A study by the University of Arizona followed 79 students for four days with a recording device that recorded a 30-second recording every 12.5 minutes. Small talks were examined as well as substantive conversations. Result: The happiest study participant had twice as many in-depth conversations than the least happy participant. Only ten percent of his conversations could be assigned to classic small talk.

Tip 1 for a good conversation: Listen!

Whoever broadcasts does not hear what others have to say and does not learn. The proportion of self-speaking and listening must be right. And listening really well is a fine art. Although 96% of adults believe that they are good listeners according to surveys, in everyday life you have the feeling that many people you are talking to only pause in conversations to wait for their input - and tell a story that reflects the content of what has just been told added. However, patient listening and targeted inquiries make us smarter than constantly chewing on our own stories.

Tip 2: Be brave and open up

If you never reveal anything about yourself, you usually don't learn anything from others. If there is trust, it is worth taking off the armor of everyday life. If you honestly say how you are doing, you will also get honest feedback back.

Tip 3: The 'where' can make the difference

The location has to be right. You can get closer to each other on a train station bench, but a harmonious atmosphere promotes a good conversation. At home on the sofa or in the cozy kitchen, by candlelight or subdued light, soft instrumental music - a calm atmosphere is crucial.

Tip 4: topics that create depth

Which topics penetrate the surface?

  • A Bucket List or Bucket list is called, for example, a hanger. What has the other person planned in his life? What do you really want to experience in the next few years, where do you want to travel - and why?
  • What or who has shaped you the most (drastic events in life)?
  • Who you love?
  • What are you most proud of in your life?
  • Which characteristics are very typical for you?
  • Which experiences were you embarrassing in your life?
  • What are your greatest achievements?
  • What have you learned in the last few months?
  • What do you want to learn in the next few months?
  • What are successful holidays for you?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What was the most unusual job you have ever done and what did you learn from it?

Tip 5: Ask - specifically

It doesn't always have to be "slomkan". The journalistic tough questioning technique, invented by ZDF presenter Marietta Slomka, does not have to be used by everyone - but targeted inquiries show interest and deepen the topic. The whole thing can also be based on small talk - if a good question is directed in an exciting direction, it can also develop into a crisp conversation.

Tip 6: show empathy

The reaction to what is said is important. Because we have a deep desire to want to be understood. Anyone who looks into a blank face will begin to feel uncomfortable, to justify or even to be annoyed for having said something. It's nice when you succeed in showing understanding for the other, even if you disagree on some points. Excluding total failures in terms of political opinion.

Tip 7: Sensitive choice of topics

Mathematical phenomena such as the analytical and geometric structure of the Ricci flow may not be among the optimal topics to talk about. But socio-political phenomena, news from the financial sector or geographical subtleties can also turn out to be conversation killers. The following applies: First of all, carefully feel what the other person is familiar with and feels comfortable with.

What makes a good conversation for you? Let us know in the comments what is important to you.

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