Questions tagged [conversations]

Questions about having conversations with other people, and how to achieve certain things when having them. This can be covering (or avoiding) certain topics, starting them, keeping them going or bringing them to a close.

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132
votes
18answers
25k views

How to get spouse to empathetically listen to problems instead of offering solutions?

My spouse and I have a recurring problem. I will try to talk about my day, which may include a tough problem that has been frustrating me. Before I've even had a chance to explain what is going on, he ...
144
votes
16answers
25k views

Arguing science with a passionate non-scientist?

As a physician for more than three decades and a Molecular Biologist before that, I know a lot of science and medicine (I also keep up with the literature.) I find that people hold on tightly to ...
74
votes
21answers
34k views

How can I deal diplomatically with a feminist neighbor who continuously delivers political speeches in private?

This question is unlikely to have a very strong cultural context so I welcome answers from members all over the world. I met this person (code name Jane D) when I was studying sociology at Masters ...
68
votes
6answers
30k views

How can I try to get my coworkers to stop their jokes on LGBTQ+ people

Context I have been in this company for 5 months now and I'm sharing an office with four men (35 to 55 y.o.). They all are white, heterosexual cis men. For the record I'm a white, 22 y.o., ...
34
votes
9answers
17k views

How to use Social Penetration Theory to increase closeness with someone who doesn't normally talk about their feelings

I recently heard about Social Penetration Theory where the basic principle is that "in relationships, as people disclose more about themselves over time, those relationships develop layer by layer, ...
75
votes
23answers
29k views

Is it rude to ask someone where they are from originally? [closed]

Introduction This question is different from this excellent one, since it is not about tourists. The differences will become clear later on, I hope. I will, as usual, use fake names (Alice and Eve ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How to create a mindset which promotes fluid and spontaneous talk

I often find myself having issues having "smalltalk" or talks which are not directly aiming for some kind of solution or end, but are rather for amusement and as a pastime. When talking with people, ...
28
votes
5answers
36k views

How to gently tell someone that you just want to be friends?

Already many months ago, "Bob" joined my circle of friends. He has a plethora of good character traits and it is really great to hang out with him. In addition, he is a bit shy and also introverted. ...
97
votes
11answers
56k views

How to respond to someone when they ask how much you earn? [closed]

When I'm at social gatherings/parties, people would inquire about my job and, because I'm an app developer, they think I earn substantially more than I do. (Oh, the joy!) They then follow up asking ...
81
votes
22answers
20k views

Is it rude to ask tourists where they are from?

“So… Where are you from?” It's normal small talk for us, most Indians; and only general whereabouts is expected. In my tours in India, I've met some foreigners along the way, usually western. I ...
26
votes
5answers
10k views

Asking someone to use their native language without being rude

Sometimes, I find myself in a conversation with people who can't speak English (or some other language) with standard pronunciation. Of course, not everyone has good speaking skills to begin with, and ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Managing a bad temper in close relationships

I've always had a short fuse. I've been quick to rise and lose my temper, but on the flip side I'm quick to get over it when others lose their cool. The problem is that others usually are not, ...
22
votes
6answers
10k views

How do I or my husband tell my mother in law she smells?

She is fully able bodied and not short of money. She has a hoarding problem, and her house just smells musty. She needs to do more washing basically. The other day, she babysat for us. When we ...
141
votes
24answers
35k views

How do I answer the question “why are you vegan?” honestly, without making them resent me?

I am a vegan, only for ethical reasons. It is something I'm very willing to discuss. I have deliberated about it very carefully, for a long time, and have read papers and text books on the philosophy ...
133
votes
13answers
29k views

How can I explain to people that a programmer isn't a computer technician?

In Italy, a lot of people keep thinking that programmers are computer technicians. A programmer does completely different things, and in a company, I'm not the guy who should assemble your computer ...
61
votes
12answers
19k views

How can I remind someone to do a task when reminding them makes them less likely to do it?

I have a bit of a problem with my girlfriend, in that things aren't getting done because she is forgetful about things she doesn't like to do. We've had many discussions on the topic, and we both ...
79
votes
17answers
19k views

How to talk to someone about being chronically late - not to fix it, just to get more accurate ETAs?

I've been friends with "Susan" for about 8 years now. She's part of my inner circle of best friends and the four of us meet up at my house every couple of weekends to play games and hang out....
52
votes
13answers
28k views

How can I politely get the attention of a coworker who is listening to music?

At work a few weeks ago, a coworker was listening to music with her earphones in, and I needed to ask her a question because a piece of code I was writing was not working and she often helps me debug ...
39
votes
12answers
55k views

Talking to boyfriend about his close female friends

About our relationship: My boyfriend and I have been together happily for two years now. We both love each other very much and we're always growing closer. We're planning to move in together in a few ...
72
votes
11answers
21k views

How do I tell a potential partner about my autism?

Background I recently met a woman on a dating app and we hit it off. Last night we went on our first date, which went very well and we are planning to go out again. I am interested in potentially ...
52
votes
10answers
13k views

How can I play the devil's advocate in politics without being attacked?

Background When it comes to politics I prefer to take the role of a "devil's advocate" instead of firmly entrenching myself into one political party's ideas. I do not like to disclose my ...
20
votes
5answers
13k views

How to stop constantly correcting everyone and everything?

I'm 23. All of my life, I've had a strange need to correct things. It doesn't matter how pointless, mundane, or unimportant something is; I need to correct it. And this isn't a simple habit. If I ...
22
votes
6answers
16k views

How can I tell someone I don't like the way they speak?

I can't stand "cutesy voice". That is, people who put on a high pitched squeal when they talk, who choose to say things like "wuv" over "love" or say things that are dark in a cute way. It's made ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

Dealing with TMI (Too Much Information)

Some people are natural "sharers". They have no qualms about giving the most intimate details of their lives, diseases, relationships, etc., to even casual acquaintances. One example was a ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I maintain eye contact with someone as a listener if it makes my body physically uncomfortable?

Here is an example: I'm talking to one of my professors, making eye contact and being engaged like a good student does, but all of a sudden I feel like I lose depth perception (I find that this ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Correcting what I see as factual errors in a political discussion

The day after the United States 2016 election, I attended a public political discussion club in the United States. I personally am very left-leaning, but this club was a conservative club; in fact, ...
34
votes
7answers
5k views

How to helpfully react to a male coworker's sexual comment about a woman

I'm a 29 year old male. Sometimes find myself in a situation with a male coworker who I've just met, or a male stranger who I'm talking with (at a bus stop, for example), and they make a comment about ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What small talk questions can I ask when I'm mostly interested in the motivations of people? [closed]

I'm not very good at small talk, even though I have improved quite a bit. My mother once said it's because I'm not interested in most of the topics that small talk brings up. But then I guess many ...
10
votes
4answers
533 views

How to address a detail of an idea without appearing to shoot it down?

There is a specific pattern which appears frequently in my conversations and alienates my conversation partners. I would like advice on how to address that pattern as a whole, not just the one example ...
7
votes
3answers
831 views

How do I steer the conversation with my Mom away from the same few topics we always discuss?

Of the handful of phone calls I make every week, the one with my mom is by far the most socially draining; we always talk about the same topics every time: me, my pregnancy, her work, her finances and ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Reject a close friend interested in dating me?

I recently went through a pretty rough break-up with a long term boyfriend. I've been feeling a little better about it recently and my friends have noticed. My problem comes in with one friend in ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Appropriate reactions to people who recently lost their pet?

I've only had this happen twice, but this morning my mom will be going to the vet to have my brother's pet rabbit put to death, because it is ill. For me, a pet is just a pet, and nothing more. It is ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How to ask a co-worker to sneeze into their elbow?

My co-worker has been sneezing about 8 times a day for the last two weeks. Like clock-work, I will hear him loudly sneeze out into the air every hour. He is not covering his mouth when he sneezes (and ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Hard to have productive political discussion with significant other

Inspired by this question, I thought of a recent pattern of behavior that I have been falling into that I have been seeking to change. My question is different because it does not pertain to dealing ...
6
votes
2answers
540 views

Confront mentor on unwarranted remark

My meditation mentor is convinced that I do not practice at home, while, in truth, I do practice regularly. Her argument is that, in her eyes, I have not improved my attention span, nor my ...
98
votes
8answers
17k views

My best friend has become increasingly xenophobic towards Muslims. What do I do?

My best friend (let's call him Bob for potential answerers) whom I have been friends with since childhood (around 15 years) has become increasingly xenophobic recently. He's a great person and ...
101
votes
12answers
21k views

Meeting someone who used to bully me

When I was at school, I received quite a lot of verbal bullying. This waxed and waned over the years, and generally it was patchy enough that I could put up with it in the long term, even if in the ...
98
votes
9answers
17k views

Refusing free goods as a blind person

As a severely visually impaired person, I use a white cane in the public and unfamiliar shops for identification purposes and as a mobility aid. I regularly encounter sellers at bakeries or fast food ...
30
votes
7answers
15k views

Asking a girl whether she would like to dance with me

Here's the setting: I'm at a popular nightclub, and on the main dance floor there's a girl who is dancing with her friends; they seem to be having a great time and her body language, e.g. her dance ...
32
votes
9answers
4k views

What methods help to avoid “that awkward silence”? [closed]

Introverted people tend to become embarrassed either when approaching someone or when a certain topic in a conversation runs out. It is often followed by apparently "losing the ability to find a new ...
70
votes
10answers
28k views

When and how do I tell the person I've been “Netflix and chilling” with that I love her?

We have been seeing each other for almost 3 months, she is 24, I'm 26 years old. We did not 'date' in the regular way, but she comes over to my place regularly (weekly), where we usually 'netflix and ...
43
votes
10answers
16k views

How can I politely ask someone to get off their phone?

Firstly, I'm not asking someone to not use their phone at all in my presence. But, when I'm with someone and they're sat there scrolling through social media for a prolonged period of time and we've ...
46
votes
10answers
20k views

Boyfriend always responds “I didn't mean to” when he gets feedback [closed]

My boyfriend (been together 4 years) will always respond with "I didn't mean to!", when someone points out to him he did something wrong. It always sounds slightly accusatory when he says it, like he ...
44
votes
9answers
17k views

How avoid a question about women being loyal housewives?

I was in a country in Eastern Europe. I went to a practice-public-speaking event, as a visitor (to see if I wanted to join the group). After the event, all of us went to a small restaurant close to ...
44
votes
5answers
13k views

How can I help a close friend get over me?

I have this friend, I could easily call her my best friend. We see each other at least twice a week usually, have travelled together etc. About 6 months ago she confessed that she has feelings for me, ...
63
votes
9answers
24k views

How do I handle strangers who want to “borrow” a cigarette and give nothing in return?

I'm a Spanish 26 year old guy. I have the appearance of what people would call "loser good guy", so when I'm hanging out (mainly at night clubs) it's really frequent people ask out for a cigarette (...
44
votes
17answers
22k views

How should one respond to trivial, obvious questions? [closed]

I'm not sure how to respond to questions where it is obvious that the asker knows the answer. For example, when I'm the only one in the room waiting for a meeting to start, the project manager comes ...
39
votes
8answers
16k views

How to have dinner without romance involved

I live in a tourist hotspot in japan, in particular a place where people often go when travelling solo. This means that when people I know (even just passing acquaintances) come here, they often ask ...
26
votes
6answers
17k views

How to tell people that I don't like answering my phone?

I simply don't like video/voice calls. I feel I am not comfortable with them, except for emergencies. Most of my co-workers and friends try to convince me in a voice call, because text messaging is ...
31
votes
12answers
37k views

How to stop people from looking at my mouth when we're having a conversation?

Context I am a male in my early 20s. My work requires me to frequently communicate face-to-face with customers that are often strangers to me. Because of this I tend to take good care of my ...