16

I have friends who will engage conversations with me about topics that either I know nothing about or that I just don't care for.

For example:

My closest group of friends (which include around 6 people whom I talk to very often) talk about superhero movies and shows. They constantly ask me if I watched a certain movie or am caught up on a particular show?

I only like a select few shows and movies, but I don't care for the rest - and always feel lost when they all talk about the latest episode of a popular show. During moments like these, I feel out of the loop.

I always end up staying silent when my friends go off in that tangent. My question is, how should I handle myself in these situations - and how can I prevent future situations like these?

18

On these cases, people generally want to explain themselves. That is, if they are super happy about a movie or series, it is quite likely that they are asking you so that they can then go on and explain how interesting they are.

So what I normally do is: just ask them about it:

So this is an interesting series? Why? What is it about? I honestly don't like these series much, but please try to convince me and I may try and watch one!

This way your point is given (I don't like these) but at the same time, you show empathy by asking them.

12

Be honest, they're your friends. So what if you haven't seen the latest movie? If they haven't they might invite you to see it with them, if they already have so what? Provided you keep not seeing films they'll eventually get the gist that you're not that into films.

A good option here is maybe just to see more films, maybe even offer to go out with your friends to see a new movie, that way all of you are on the same page. If you don't want to do that you can always try and talk about something else, another topic that you all have in common, perhaps TV instead or some other shared hobby.

8

You don't like or care about a topic, but you care about your friends.

If you value their friendship, and you value the future that promises, then you may consider watching movies you would prefer to not see. This will allow you to enter their world, and participate with them in a way they find valuable. You may simply choose to "be there" when a new movie they will like comes out. Better yet, make it a group thing and go with them to the movies. (When given lemons, make lemonade.) You may well enjoy it.

Wouldn't you want your friends to do the same for you?

  • 3
    Actually this will only work on some topics. If they are talking about playing soccer, and you're not into sports, OP should not feel obliged to join the soccer. – Vylix Jun 27 '17 at 22:11
  • 1
    Point taken. It has to be within the limits of reason and possibilities. – John Jun 27 '17 at 22:17
4

I tend to operate on the assumption that anything is interesting if addressed from the right angle. I also have a few friends (and more than a few acquaintances) who aren't so good at the meeting-someone-halfway aspect of conversation, so I've had a bit of practice putting this philosophy into action.

This usually involves doing two things:

  • If anything they mention in relation to the subject is interesting, exciting or even just new to me, I'll try to communicate this to them. "Oh, so that's how they play sky-chess! To be honest with you, I always thought it was just like sea-chess, but where the lions are all on stilts".

    I'll never pretend that sky-chess is in itself of interest to me, but little concessions like this are a way to signal that I've understood it's important to them, and I'm therefore willing to discuss it.

  • When appropriate (i.e. when they aren't clearly invested in telling me something), I ask questions about the subject. As I said before, I think all subjects are interesting on some level, so I try to find that level as quickly as possible.

    Asking the most interesting question you can think of that relates to it will usually encourage the other person to speak about this more interesting (to you) aspect of it. This can obviously be repeated (once they're done answering your question), allowing some aspect of the subject to get ever more interesting to you, while still allowing the other person to discuss the thing they want to discuss.

Now, of course, what I've described is a compromise. The other person probably doesn't - in an ideal world - want to discuss the subject from the same perspective that your questions are aimed from, and you probably - in an ideal world - would rather not be discussing the subject at all, from any perspective. In the absence of known common ground, though, or as a courtesy to a friend before I encourage them towards a different (more mutually appreciated) subject, this is the approach I've found works best for me.

2

Friend circles usually form around shared interests, and a person can have quite a few different circles that they belong to, say, if you play football, you'll make some football friends, and you cannot expect them all to be your movie friends as well, although there can be some overlap between your circles.

How to converse about a topic you don't like or know about?

For one, you don't have to, however since casual conversations can always stray off topic, if you really want to converse, you must find the right moment, and chime in to let the subject subtly change, unbeknownst to them, but it takes practice to make it work well, and until then silence may be your best shot.

How should I handle myself in these situations - and how can I prevent future situations like these?

Keep cool, and don't blurt out opinions about those hated subjects in front of them, and if you really want to engage, do some research before joining your friends, for example, if it's about ongoing World Cup football matches, join your friends after a quick googling into what's what and who's who of the recently played and upcoming matches, and make sure you don't talk too much because then you'll quickly run out of things to say, and they'll realize that you're really not into this.

1

We never know much about anything. Learn the art of general conversation. Be careful about asking questions that display your lack of knowledge or interest. It is OK to fib, say things like "is that the one where he pulls that stunt on the villain". Every movie has somebody pulling a stunt on somebody.

  • 1
    Please consider signing up with a username and password to avoid having to create new accounts to post each answer. – NVZ Aug 6 '17 at 6:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.