Having a good conversation at a bar or on a first date is like trying to solve a differential equation. There are so many variables: the atmosphere, the sound level, the person, not to mention the many no man’s lands on which the conversation can become beached.
It’s no wonder that many of these interactions go bust.
So while perfecting the casual, sexy bar chat is a fine science far too complicated to cover in just one blog post, we at YourTango can help get you started on the right track by answering the age-old question of What went wrong with my conversation?
1. It got too ideological.
Politics, Religion, and Sports: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit of conversation-killers. You never know if you’re going to step on that verbal tripwire and accidentally trample someone’s deeply-held convictions. Even if the other person invites the topic, avoid standing on your personal soapbox.
It can be as easy as letting it slip that you bleed red and blue — at which point your conversation partner may throw a drink in your face and storm off in a huff. That’s an exaggeration, but hey, Yankee blood runs deep.
2. It got too personal.
Telling a woman you just met that her hair smells nice isn’t a compliment, it’s a warning sign that you are standing too damn close.
Back it up, Casanova, and keep the conversation away from body odor and other physical attributes. Furthermore, to stave off the “creepster” vibe, don’t ask for too many details outright. Instead of asking where she lives (though a typical query, it can seem stalker-like), open up about yourself first and then ask her what neighborhood she’s from.
3. It got too showy and cocky.
Confidence is charming, cockiness is deterring. There’s a fine line between the two, but a good way to check it before you wreck it is to be mindful of your body language and verbal delivery. Smirking and winking is cartoonish, but it’s surprising how many guys have tried the Rico Suave approach.
4. It Got too one-sided or the conversation got drawn out.
While your dissertation on the governmental policies of 19th-century Guinea may be fascinating to you, a bar isn’t the time OR place to recite an abstract of it for 15 minutes.
There are only so many iterations of “mmmhmm,” “oh” and “interesting” a person can cycle through before she starts making desperate “help me” eyes toward her friends. Make sure you pick a topic that both of you can speak on.
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Julie Leung is the marketing director for Random House’s sci-fi/fantasy imprint, Del Rey Books, as well as the author of Paper Son: The Story of Tyrus Wong and the Mice of the Round Table series.