Being a Better Conversationalist

Psychology Today July/August 2021 pp5 |Insights|”The Art of Chitchat” “Coordinating conversations more effectively could help bolster social connections.”





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Summary provided by 2244


Chitchat or longer conversations “are an essential element of social life” yet most conversations “ don’t end when participants want them to.” Recent research provides some insight. Only two percent of conversations ended when “both participants wanted” and 30% met “one person’s desired endpoint” and the rest did end in a timely way for either-half not soon enough for either and one tenth not long enough.


Why do two conversationalists miss the endpoint so often?


Most of us “never want to talk for the same amount of time” and we are “bad at judging others’ desires” says Adam Mastroianni, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard. We either are “too preoccupied to notice cues” from the other person or we’re just “eager to keep talking.”


How can we generally do better?


“Since most conversations…[are] longer than desired, Mastoianni suggests “erring on the side of wrapping up once a discussion seems to have run its course...or…”reached a natural conclusion.” Besides, “You can always talk again later.”