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Welcome to Day 14 of 30 Days of Dating Advice for Intellectual Badasses. Today is the last day I will opine on the Social Skills Quotient theme. Today’s topic is conversation, and what makes conversation good.

A conversation isn’t just an opportunity to impress, to be heard, to disseminate information, or to gather information about your date. Yes, it’s okay to do these things, but you also want to make sure you utilize conversation is an opportunity to connect with someone and find out what makes them tick.

Someone once said that conversation is a lot like having sex. In both, you’re temporarily connecting with someone in an intimate way, where both people are giving and receiving. You have to think about your own needs and the other person’s needs simultaneously; and if something isn’t quite working (for them or for you), you both adjust your technique until it does work.

Here are a few tips that can turn an ordinary conversation into a potential connection:

  • Listen at least as much as you talk. Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget if you’re nervous or love to talk.
  • Listen actively. Listening means more than waiting your turn to speak again. Tune in, pay attention, acknowledge, and ask follow-up questions. Good listeners have more friends and get more dates.
  • Watch your energy level. You want to keep your voice level and energy somewhat similar to your date. If he’s a quiet guy, tone down your energy and lower your voice a bit. If she’s vibrant, ramp up your energy a little.
  • Look for signs. If you’re telling a story and your date looks down, glances away, or gets shifty, you’re losing them and it’s time to let them talk or shift the conversation to a new topic.

Also, here are a few things I’ve noticed that some Intellectual Badasses will do when conversing with others:

  • Some IBs will be very quiet or shy at first, but when you get them to talk, the flood gates open and they never shut up! It’s like someone finally paid attention to them and they got carried away in their excitement! If you catch yourself doing this, simply cut yourself off and say, “Sorry, I get carried away when anyone brings up global warming/rock climbing/Battlestar Galactica.”
  • Other IBs love to turn a simple question into a lecture or science class. You know, those folks that when you ask for the time, they explain how a watch is made. My dad does this, and I’ve learned to ask far narrower questions that don’t encourage speculation. You can always say, “I could go on and on about that. Do you want the short answer or the detailed one?”
  • Still other IBs are great about answering questions succinctly, but they’re less good about asking them. Remember, a conversation should be two-way – always show interest in your date by asking questions. And even when it’s your turn to talk, you can still include the other person by encouraging them to comment.

Remember, conversation is like sex – it’s a two-way gig, and no one wants to be with people who only care about themselves.


Some useful links:

A recap of what we’ve covered so far in the 30-Day IB Campaign

Christie’s books