Holding a conversation is a skill and while some people are really good at it and seem to charm the pants off anybody, others can’t get their feet out of their mouths.
Here are nine ways to start a conversation or share your opinion without coming across as rude or self-righteous.
“You look tired”
Tired people are assumed to be unappealing, messy and grumpy. Next time you are tempted to say you look tired, double check to make sure that you are trying to tell the person that they look like the attributes stated above.
A better way to say it is “Are you alright, or Is everything okay?” This way, they know that you are truly concerned about their wellbeing.
“Wow, you lost weight!”
To most people, this is an innocent comment or compliment in some cases. But to the recipients, saying they lost weight is indirectly calling them fat.
Instead, just say “You look great”.
“You were too good for her/him anyway”
It is normal to try to console a person after they just suffered heartbreak but you have to be careful, you do not want to add to their grief.
Saying the statement above might come across as saying that the person made a poor choice the first time. Instead, say “it’s her/his loss”.
“You always…” or “You never…”
You must have heard the saying that nothing is absolute, everything changes. This means that no one ‘always or never’ does something.
These phrases make people defensive, which is not a good thing because you likely use these phrases when you have something important to say
Instead, say what the person did wrong or right and if the frequency is important, you can say “You do this often” or “It seems you are making so and so a habit.”
“You look great for your age”
Using “for your” makes it sound like you are not expecting so much from the person. For example, “You are smart for your age” might be taken as “I expect you to be dumb at your age”.
Instead, say: “You look great.” Genuine compliments don’t need qualifiers.
“As I said before…”
This phrase makes it sound as if you feel insulted for having to repeat yourself.
Getting insulted over having to repeat yourself suggests that you think you’re better than everyone else.
Instead, repeat yourself in a clearer and more interesting manner. That way, they will remember better.
It’s not bad to wish someone good luck but it might be interpreted to mean that you are saying they can’t succeed on their own.
A better way of sending your best wishes is saying “I know you have what it takes.” That way, you achieve two things; giving your best wishes and giving their confidence a boost.
“It’s up to you” or “Whatever you want”
If your opinion didn’t matter, they wouldn’t have asked for it in the first place, Saying “It’s up to you” or “Whatever you want” is almost like saying “I don’t care” or “Get your business out of my face”.
Instead, say: “I don’t have a strong opinion, but you should look out for this and that when making your choice”.
“Well at least I’ve never …”
This is a nice way of shifting attention away from your mistake by pointing out the other party’s mistakes.
Sometimes, these mistakes are not relevant.
Instead, apologise and own up to your mistake. That way, you can resolve things calmly without digging up old wounds.
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