Initiating Conversations

How to Initiate Conversation had me thinking about my experiences in social settings especially those where I knew few people or no one. While I have a few basic questions to break the ice, I rarely use them because I’m afraid to start a conversation.
Shy? No. Fear of speaking? No. Fear of understanding the other person? Bingo.
If I try to start a conversation and immediately learn I can’t read the person’s lips at all — I feel stuck and in a “Wham bam, thank you, ma’am” situation. OK, how does this compare to the real “Wham bam…” situation when it’s G-rated? Because it feels like I “used the person” as in go to the person, get something and leave without respect. Only I get a bad situation with no satisfaction.
Is it better to not start a conversation and avoid a bad situation, or miss the opportunity of meeting a new friend or client? I guess it depends on my mood and alertness. If all else fails, introduce myself and just rely on “nodding head syndrome.”
Thankfully, I live in a community where I’m involved in different things — so I rarely run into an awkward social situation these days.


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  1. I do this ALL the time!! I love being sociable, so it’s worth the risk, usually….but it can be so frustrating to start a conversation and then have to struggle through it!! Blech!

  2. Oh yes, I get stuck all the time when I can’t understand people after trying to talk to them! UGH!

  3. It all depends upon my mood. If I’m really tired, I’m anti-social because it’s too hard to start a conversation with a stranger in a noisy store, i.e. Wal-Mart. Once in a blue moon, I’ll make a comment on something I see, and I get a good conversation with a stranger. That only happens once in ten times that I try to start a conversation. The other 9 times failed, and I use the “nodding” and “really?” bluffs.
    Good post!

  4. LOL Nodding head syndrome!! yup yup know what thats like!! 🙂 Im not boasting but more often than not im an excellent lip reader, sometimes to the point of picking up an accent in someones pronounciation, but those days where you meet someone and under no circumstances, I cant read them at all!! that can be really soul crushing, and yes I have been there on many an occasion where the nodding head is the only way to go!! 🙂 🙂
    Ill never forget in 1st year of college, I had a tutor, with an English Accent and mumbled into his chest and I just could not read him properly at all!! One of my other Tutors I had become friendly with as she did Sign Lingo with me, asked how I was getting on, and I said about my difficulty with the other Tutor, that was grand and I thought no more about it, untill…
    We had a class trip to Barcelona and it was my birthday during the trip, so being very nice the Difficult to understand Tutor (who was head of the trip!!) bought me a drink and all the class sat down and we all talked on the equal which was so nice, then he turned to me and said, ‘A little Bird tells me you find me Hard to understand’!!! I WAS MORTIFIED!! but he was so understanding and we laughted it off!!, was a bit of an akward situation though!!!

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