General Question

longgone's avatar

When you talk to people, in what way do you try to raise the quality of the conversation?

Asked by longgone (16804points) March 26th, 2019

How do you contribute to discussions, online or offline? Is there anything you try to never say? Any patterns you follow when your interlocutor gets upset or shuts down? Do you feel conscious of speaking in a certain way when you’re approaching a sensitive topic?

Feel free to share how this affects your relationships. If there is anything you’re working on to raise the quality of online discussions, that’s very interesting to me too.

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12 Answers

Pinguidchance's avatar

Dulcet diction and dare-devil drollery.

janbb's avatar

I’ve always been a considerate person but at times, I can let my snark get the better of me. Or be a know it all. In real life, I’ve always been a bit hyper aware of when I may have hurt someone and often will check in with them afterwards – sometimes to my detriment by oversharing.

Becoming a Unitarian and just life in general, has led me to try to moderate my behavior some. I have found online and on Fluther in particular, I don’t feel it is productive to engage in lengthy back and forth arguments that don’t change anyone’s mind so I will state my opinion once (generally) and then not respond (retaliate?). Of course, nobody’s perfect, least of all me, so sometimes the snark attacks.

I still get impatient sometimes in real life discussions and still need to slow down and listen a bit more.

ucme's avatar

In general, people love to talk about themselves & so I let that happen. Always been very attentive & considerate in conversations, show interest above & beyond & trust me, that makes a person happy.

gondwanalon's avatar

@ucme That strategy works well for me. I ask questions about the other people and when questions are directed at me or I have something to add I keep it short.

The most uncomfortable situation is when someone monopolizes the “conversation” rattling on and on nonstop about themselves and when you try to add a comment or question or suggestion they cut you off in mid sentence and keep on talking. Like I’m not worthy of consideration. I know 3 people who behave like that. They make me feel insignificant and uncomfortable. Of course I avoid them as much as possible.

jca2's avatar

I’m very happy to ask people questions about themselves and let them share as much as they want to. People often love to go on and on about themselves, which is fine with me. I’m not often comfortable talking about myself too much unless I know the person really well, and even then, when people ask me sensitive or intimate questions, I don’t like to answer.

I try to avoid talking about politics, religion and topics like abortion or race relations. especially now that everything is so divided. I try to say something noncommittal like “yeah I know, it’s crazy” but then steer the topic in another direction. Last night, someone said something to me about the Mueller report and I corrected them, and then was silent.

In person and online, I try to avoid vicious debates about things. My mind is not changing, their minds are not changing, so why expend energy on it?

kritiper's avatar

Really listen. And, when appropriate, say “please” and “thank you.”

Inspired_2write's avatar

Ask questions.
Some people are silent an in a shell, so ask questions that involve a long response.
The angry ones, I don’t answer them and neither do any in the coffee group .
I try to add new information of interest to engage others to learn and discuss etc
I observe what interests some people usually talk about and listen and talk about those specific interests.

I am in a Seniors apartment complex where there are a variety of personalities and ages and where at times arguments arise because of those differences etc

There are the Traditionalists who try to keep things as in the past.

Then the Artists who are liberal minded and creative and outspoken of course.

The alcoholics ( closet and open) who can’t keep up with a conversation and therefore come to be entertained until they lose control and get angry.

Then the physically impaired who rely on others to cater to them and refuse to move to the next stage apartment block where everything is done for them like cooking, cleaning, and laundry etc) Since its there last fight of living independently and accepting that they really need help with some things.

Then the interesting usual type that looks after themselves well and active lifestyle with outdoor activities like skiing,hiking, sports suited for there capabilities.

Then the Religious ones who push there Religion onto others while thinking themselves unobserved engage in behind the scenes activities.

Then the closet drug user who thinks that no one else can smell?( he moved recently and the hallways smell fresh again).

The busybody type ( three in our building) like a bee who goes from one flower to the next spreading gossip and hoarding all there secrets to use on them later, if they think it warrants it?

The funny ones / tricksters who think it fun to tease and fool others.( just moved to next building and told now that he got shot down by the residents there pretty fast..they won’t take his antics that he got away with for years in our building.)

The loners who had learned to keep away from some of the above and carved a lifestyle devoid of interactions with the above to a minimum.Some of them have outside social contacts to see instead.

It is like a mini world population with the diverse kinds of personalities here in this small apartment block so I guess it never gets dull as something always happens to shake things up.In fact I could write a book on the crazy things that had transpired in the last five years, some really funny but immature things that one would never think could happen among supposed mature seniors. I have learned that many here have really not grown up and still harbor childish behaviors as if still in grade school! I have laughed so hard at times and other times surprised at what some people do?

Inspired_2write's avatar

I hope that I successfully raised the quality of the conversation on this thread, that would get a variety of discussions going.
I hope that I entertained some as well.
I hope that I got some to think more on types of personalities that one is around.
I hope that people here plan now how your senior life will be like when the time comes to retire.
I hope all of you have a great day!

KNOWITALL's avatar

As far as raising the level of discourse, I try to keep to facts and back them up, and limit emotion/ feelings.

I don’t normally cuss. I don’t normally use name-calling. And unless I’m personally attacked, I don’t get personal. It’s just a Q&A site with mostly strangers, so to me, it’s just not worth lowering my standards of adult discourse. I’m seeking knowledge, not friends, so often I just read controversial threads and don’t comment at all.

Additionally, I forgive quickly, so if I argue with someone today, that doesn’t mean the next day we won’t talk about our dogs or discuss another thread. If we can’t seem to ever get along, then I simply don’t talk to those people.

@Pinguidchance Very funny!!

flo's avatar

I assume that they’re not talking about themselves, instead of assuming that they are, if there is no “I”, “me” “my” ... in their part of the conversation.

JLeslie's avatar

In real life, face to face situations, I’m very happy to listen to other people tell me their experiences and interests. I try to ask pertinent questions, show my curiosity. I’m fairly open also if they ask me questions. I try to avoid politics, I want to be even better at this than I am.

I try to switch the subject when conversation start wandering off into a strained territory, unless the specific reason for the conversation is to have a debate on a difficult subject.

I do try to share information that I think can be helpful, but also keeping it to a minimum unless the other person is showing real interest in the information. This is anything from using the telephone app where I live to health things.

I would say mostly, I don’t try to raise the level, I try to lower it. Or, keep myself at a more carefree level that is focused on more trivial matters and having fun. Also, letting other people just be “right” and not continuing or adding to an argument. I’ve been doing this the last ten years or so.

Lastly, there is a quote that goes something like, “people don’t remember what you said, as much as they remember how you made them feel.” I try to always show I’m happy to see someone, or meet them, because the truth is 99% of the time I am happy about it. A smile, a willingness to acknowledge their presence, and listen to what’s on their mind if they have something on their mind.

flo's avatar

I don’t waste my time expressing that I don’t understand the question, since I consider that a waste of the time. Either I spend answering the questions I do understand, (and there are enough of them) or I ask specific questions about the questions I don’t understand: “Do you mean….?” “Are you using ....in….context?” etc.

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