How to Find Things to Talk About With Shallow People

It's tempting to look at someone different from you and write them off as uninteresting. What do you do when you find yourself in a conversation with them? Hold off your judgment, look for areas in common, and get to know them as a person. Here is how to have a good conversation.


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    Ask yourself why you think someone is shallow. Is he the star quarterback who spends 30 minutes styling his hair? Is she a blonde with expensive clothes and a manicure? Appearance tells you very little about the person inside. The jock could write poetry in his spare time, and maybe the valley girl wants to be an engineer.
    • Talking about stereotypically shallow things doesn't mean that this is all the person cares about.
    • Be cautious about judging people. People can usually tell when you don't think highly of them.
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    Ask what they have been up to. You can get a better window into their lives by letting them share what they care about most. This lets them lead the conversation (so you don't have to do as much work), and lets you get to know them better.
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    Try some more intellectual topics, and see if they express interest. They may show their hidden depths. You don't want to launch into a monologue about how Foucault's work regarding self-policing applies to women and strict beauty standards, but you can give them a push to open up about their interests that better match yours.
    • What classes are you taking in college?
    • Have you been reading any good books lately?
    • Are you in any clubs?
    • What do you do for work?/What sort of job do you want?
    • Did you hear about the earthquake?
    • What are your hobbies?
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    Ask questions about the things they express interest in. If there is something they seem to enjoy talking about, encourage them to keep going.
    • When did you get into sports?
    • Germany? What's it like there?
    • Your little brother sounds really sweet. How old is he?
    • Cheerleading must be hard work. How much do you practice?
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    Look for areas that you have in common. If they mention something that interests you too, let them know. Then the conversation can shift to that subject. You can even try asking for advice—people love to feel like an expert!
    • You have a dog? So do I! Mine is a golden retriever.
    • Is that a Star Trek shirt? I love that series!
    • It's really cool that you volunteer at the Down Syndrome group. I've been thinking about finding places to volunteer around here. Do you have any advice?
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    Try doing some activities together. You can let them show you their world, or offer to give them a taste of yours. Let them teach you how to do one of the things they like, or do something you both enjoy. Working on an activity together can provide a natural source of conversation.
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    Recognize that it's okay not to share interests. Maybe they are different from you. That's all right. You don't have to be best friends if you don't have much in common. Stick with the small talk, and chat with other people if you want to connect over your interests or deeper topics of conversation.

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Categories: Conversation Skills