Did you know that social contact is one of the basic needs of us, humans?
It has even been proven that if you have a lot of social contact with family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, … you live longer!
So do yourself and others a favour and start chatting with people you don’t know (yet), e.g. the neighbour you politely say hello to in passing, but who you otherwise don’t know.
Tip for today
Next time you see one of your neighbours, stop for a chat. This will give positive energy to both of you.
It is not always easy to start a conversation.
Do you recognise this conversation?
- How are you?
- And you?
- I’m fine. Thank you.
- Painful silence.
Here are some strategies to try out if you don’t know what to say anymore:
- Comment on a – at that moment – common subject: the food, the situation, the location, the weather. But keep it on the positive side! Unless you can be hilariously funny, the first time you come into contact with a person is not a good time to complain. I know what I am talking about. Read my story below.
- Talk about something of general interest. An acquaintance scans the VRT news app just before he goes somewhere where he might need to have a chat. He is then very proud to be able to say that ‘Biden gets the same confidential information as Trump…’.
- Ask open questions that cannot be answered with one word. For example “What are your strategies in Corona times? I would love some tips!”
- If you ask a question that can be answered in one word, ask a follow-up question instead of giving your own information as the answer. If you ask: “Do you have children?” you might then ask: “Tell me about them”.
- Ask questions to get to know the person better. “What are your hobbies? “What are you interested in?” “why are you here?”
- React to what a person says. If they are joking, even if it is not very funny, try to laugh. If they tell you some news, respond surprised….
Good luck, who knows what or who you will discover!
Sometimes things don’t go the way you expected…
During my afternoon walk, I saw an older man working in his garden. It was rather a drizzly day, gray, rain, wind. Not really winter, not really autumn.
In a positive mood, full of good courage, and even more good intentions I used this as a conversation starter : “Good afternoon, Bad weather today huh?”
The man (who didn’t know me) gave me a sermon for minutes! I was nailed to the ground!
That I shouldn’t be so negative. That we had had a beautiful summer and have no right to fuss about the weather now. That all people were the same, always complaining, grumbling. That next time I had to think first when I commented on the weather. It was autumn, what else could I expect? If I would expect nice weather, then something is really wrong with me….. et cetera et cetera.
And all I wanted was to start a short, friendly conversation…
I told him he was right, wished him a nice (autumn) day and walked away as fast as I could, without looking rude….