what to talk about

With every long weekend comes a host of events; two separate barbecues with different groups of friends, a church service, a prolonged game of multiplayer halo. The question arises: what do you talk about at these different events?

The most dull conversations, and the most interesting, can start with the same set of questions. Worse, though, is spending time with someone – especially someone who’s hard to get hold of, and then going completely blank as to what to talk about. It seems like such a waste; sure, a better-organised person would know exactly what they want to talk about with everyone, but lately, that hasn’t been me.

As a Christian, I have a track record of steering conversations towards Christian-y things from time to time. Depending on ho you’re talking to, the reaction can be anything from "I’m glad you mentioned it" to an awkward, please-change-the-subject silence: strangely, it doesn’t make much difference whether the conversation is with a Christian, or not. Sometimes people are keen to talk about things, other times, it’s like wading through wet cement.

Books like How to win friends and influence people would tell you that to be considered a good conversationalist, you should talk about whatever the other person is interested in. Other books, like How to have a Beautiful mind mention using lateral thinking as the way to approach topics in interesting ways.

I don’t want to be interesting, or well-thought of, though. I’m happy if this happens, I guess, but I’d like to be the kind of person who is worth talking to. I don’t want to lose the dark, odd sense of humour that I have, but I’d like to have people walk away from (at least the occasional) conversation with me thinking "I’m glad we had that conversation".

Let me know how I’m going with that.

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  1. i always leave a conversation with u feeling like it was well worthwhile.

    u manage to have a raw humility that is refreshing and comforting.

  2. Brave question Dave! I think maybe you don’t see yourself as we do, or perhaps we don’t ever tell you what you mean to us, so i am glad you asked. Once apon a time i used to refer to you as ‘my friend’s husband, dave’ now you are ‘my friend dave’. I enjoy the conversations we have and i leave happy that we have spoken, and I am pretty sure Trev does too. You have the knack of helping me see things differently and i really do look forward to speaking with you. You also make me think about topics i perhaps wouldn’t have and i really appreciate that. And you aren’t afraid to ask the difficult questions or talk about something that is usually left in the ‘secret bag’, which is kind of refreshing, once we’re over the initial shock πŸ™‚ You are doing a good job.

    by the way, this comments box doesn’t really fit in your comments section, i have to keep scrolling across.

  3. dave, over the many years that I have know you, you have made me cry happy and sympathetic tears and you and Kel have issued hugs with the sad tears. You have made me laugh (with more tears!) and most of all have known when to be serious and challenging. I’ll be honest, I don’t think knowing what to say at all times is the gift of all people, and it doesn’t need to be. You and Kel balance each other out. I have noticed that she often knows what to say when you don’t and vice versa. Both your team and individual skills help a lot of people. God put you two together for a reason (and we’re glad He did)! Kath πŸ™‚

  4. The biggest help for me in knowing what to talk about is having spent time with the person – the more time spent in just casual conversation the easier it is to ask those “deep and meaningful” questions. My difficulty can be what to say to someone you haven’t spent much time with lately? Often this results in “catching up” type talk, which is ok too, I suppose, as it is important in the maintenance of relationships. Hmmm, this talking thing can be complicated when you get down to it!

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