Comments: Advice Reply

NOTICE: Trolls and people who leave fake e-mail addresses will have their words manipulated for the amusement of others.

I'm coming close to deciding that the success or failure of a cold conversation is based on how the new person reacts to the "introducer"/initiator (nice words, huh?). I won't even try to go into the causes of this reaction (sexual attraction, current mood, resembles other known person, setting, etc).

The example I gave was one of my first successful cold conversations (with no other known person, to either party, involved). Ask all the questions you want. I wouldn't have brought it up if I wanted to keep it private. Well, (college setting) I generally start out with what class the person is (FR, SO, JR, SR). This is in most cases met with a reciprocal at the end of their answer (which I tell). Then I'll dive into their major and when I hear what it is, I follow-up with an inquiry as to what they want to do with that type of degree (some are self-explanatory, though). Around this time I'm explaining that I'm a CRJU major and the other person assumes that I'm going to become a cop which opens the door for me to correct them & talk about the Army side. After that its just generally which questions come to mind first or fit the conversation the best: parent's occupation, siblings & ages etc, home town, where they live now, where they've traveled or would like to what location they would to take a trip to (it rejected "travel" Tee-Oh as in "to"), which dorm they live in/who their RA is (as I know most of them), things like that. When talking about their family and military service is mentioned, I generally dig into that a little bit deeper. While asking about where they've traveled or would like to go, the question usually gets returned so I talk about Europe a little. I try to find topics that interest the other person. But keep in mind, this stuff is tailored to me. I'm not use about your level of military knowledge and interest, but it may not do you any good to investigate further to such subjects. Based on what I know about you, you could probably talk to them about what type of music they like or that you share in common. Around here, that generally doesn't work too well for me as I am a staunch hater of country music. Try to pull past experiences into the conversation. Sometimes you have to bait the other person on a little bit (you can also use it to measure their interest in you). In some cases people will ask "Do you play any sports?” My response, "No, not up here." Depending on how the conversation has been going I might throw in the "Back home I used to," which opens up the door to talk about fencing.

Conversations are really fluid and there is no step-by-step guideline that you can follow. No two conversations are alike.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you try to pre-plan what you're going to say before you've even walked up to the person. You "review" the conversation prior to even making contact and somewhere along the way, you talk yourself out of going up in the first place because "It just won't work out." Right? What would be the difference between a conversation hitting a wall and never having said anything at all? If you attempt it and it fails, then you can at least have gained some experience from the interaction and at least you got to talk to the person. Look at it this way; you miss 100% of the shots you never take (Wayne Gretzky).

Remembering what you hear is the key. Eventually conversations will come back to something that was stated earlier. When you make that connection, eyes light up because it shows you were really listening. One of the most frustrating things for me is to repeat myself. Case in point (this has happened MANY times): "Where do you go to school?"
"North Georgia College and State University."
"What class/grade are you?"
"I'll be a senior this coming year. I'm getting so excited; I can't wait to graduate and commission."
"Now where is that school located?" IT'S IN THE NAME, GENEIOUS! Once that's happened, I stop making an effort in the conversation and I let my mind start to wander (had it not already started doing so). Granted, you aren't going to remember everything, but you should have a basic idea of the information.

As for sarcasm, I think it depends on voice tone and the wording. When I start making fun of things, I tend to become very animated. Until you've got it down, be careful with this one as people may think you're the biggest jerk ever. *grin*

Certainly be looking at the person you are talking to. When talking to someone, especially for the first time, I'll spend more time looking at the person than looking away. It shows interest and I can study their reactions to different things. Remember to look friendly and smile.

Don't worry about whether or not you're getting in enough words. If you want to say something, by all means say it, but if they want to know about you, they'll ask. (Tip: And if they don't want to know about you, find a different friend as this one is just too wrapped up in themselves.) Like I said, conversations are fluid and there is no "master key".

Body language, voice tone, where the person is looking, what they're touching or playing with are all very telling as to how the other person is feeling. I don't remember when it happened, but while going up I became very sensitive to people's body language. I've amazed friends with my ability to inquire about them when something was bothering them. If I was talking to someone and they started blinking as you've described, it would probably get my attention. One method that you could use to disarm any concern would be that if you noticed someone is starting to get freaked out or whatever, just tell them that you have these ADD ticks and it’s just something that happens. Then, if you’re feeling gutsy, brush their arm or shoulder and say, "I thought I saw one of those ticks crawling on you." Granted, most probably won't get it, but it will reveal the owners of faster-firing synapses and at least you can have a little fun with it.

Posted by Crispy23 at September 4, 2006 04:18 PM

Never went to a party in college. Never. Started when i started working. Most painful thing i've ever done, trying to insinuate myself into the party. But three along, i'm geting better at it.

And yeah, avoiding strong drink is a good idea, then.


Posted by tommy at September 4, 2006 10:19 PM

And as for being a dick professionally, good luck with that. I'll have to satisfy myself with being an extremly talented dick as a hobby on my spare time.


Posted by tommy at September 4, 2006 10:21 PM