It seems that if I’m not writing, I’m talking. I spend a lot of time critiquing with fellow writers, discussing topics at volunteer meetings, and hanging out with people I love. Much of it involves the “lost art” of conversation. Why is this considered a lost art—are we spending too much time looking at screens, or are we simply out of practice? Either way, we can start by engaging more with our family and friends. Try these tips next time you’re waiting for food to arrive or before you turn on the TV or device.
It takes a little thought to create a good conversation. To start, we need to think about the person we’re talking with, and anticipate her background and interests. A teenager may not know anything about a TV show made in the 1970s. A fly fisherman in Alaska may not want to discuss the subway system in New York. So we want to start with some common ground that everyone can relate to.
It’s always a good idea to ask questions. Questions give people positive attention and help us find common experiences or ideas to discuss. Where have you traveled or lived in the past? What do you like to do in your free time? What movie or show did you see recently that you’d recommend? Once everyone is comfortable, we can get a little more abstract. What superpower would you choose if you could have one? What is the greatest invention in our lifetime? Which person in history would you want to have dinner with?
I find that everyone, of every age group, can participate in a good conversation with the right encouragement. Create an inviting atmosphere and an interesting topic, and folks want to engage. We can bring people closer together, and entertain ourselves, with the lost art of conversation.
Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for almost fifty years. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.