Recently, one of my readers wrote to me saying, “My mind often goes blank when Im talking to somebody, especially when Im nervous. What can I do to keep my mind from going blank during a conversation?”
This is a very common situation, especially for people who are somewhat shy. Even people who are not particularly shy may find that their mind goes blank during a conversation.
Some people seem to be gifted with an ability to talk easily with anybody, anywhere. However, there are many people who find making conversation somewhat difficult. They struggle to find things to say during conversations, especially when they are talking to someone they dont know very well.
What should you do if you find that your mind goes blank while youre talking to someone?
First, you must absolutely avoid criticizing yourself for a momentary pause in the conversation. Criticizing yourself will only make your panic worse, and it will not fix the situation. Remind yourself that a few moments of being quiet during a conversation doesnt really mean the end of the world.
If the person you have been talking to is a normal, mature person, they will not hold your occasional social awkwardness against you. However, if you are talking to people who are emotionally immature, it is possible that they will make fun of you if you are sometimes socially awkward.
Is there anything you can you do to prevent some awkward silent moments during the conversation?
Many people find it helpful to mentally prepare a few topics beforehand so that they can keep the conversation moving. Try to pick conversation topics that are somewhat lighthearted and that will be of interest to the person you are talking with.
Avoid topics that are gruesome or that might be considered offensive to a person youre talking too. As well, you should avoid topics that might spark a political argument.
While you are talking, mentally tell yourself that you are genuinely interested in learning more about the person you are having a conversation with.
Focus on them and not on yourself. Tell yourself to stop wondering whether or not this person likes you or approves of you.
During the course of the conversation, watch for clues the other person might be giving you about their interests. Does any particular topic make them become more excited and animated?
Most people love to talk about themselves, as long as they believe you are truly interested in hearing their story. While you are listening to them talk, you dont need to worry too much about what you will say next, as long as you can keep looking as if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
If you can get the other person to start talking about something that really interests them, you may not have any silent pauses in the conversation for quite a while!