I don’t like talking about myself
This is a complete guide on understanding the question you have, why “I don’t like talking about myself?” We also talk about how to get better at small talk, which can help you talk more in-depth about who you are and make talking about yourself easier. In addition, we believe this is a method that can significantly improve how you talk about yourself. We know you prefer to avoid it, but why not try to learn more so you know what to do next time.
So, if you’ve recently had an awkward night out trying to talk about yourself, we think this guide can help you introduce yourself and ease anxiety when walking into a room full of people.
Now, we want you to be confident talking about yourself and learn more about how to navigate conversations so you can have better more meaningful interactions.
The 17 reasons why learning how to talk about yourself, using small talk, matters in your life
#1. “I don’t like talking about myself” But it leads to friends
Most importantly, humans are very social and crave connections with other people. In fact, small talk is how we get to know each other and discover if they’ll fit into our lives.
Eventually, the better you become at small talk, the more potential for deeper, meaningful conversations, which leads to bonding, true friends, and stronger relationships.
#2. You can relate to others when talking about yourself
Being likable leads to a lot of things, such as:
- A romantic partner
- More friends
- A promotion in your career
- Getting hired for a new job
- Believe it or not, being likable, can make you more money.
In short, learning how to small talk is a gateway to all of the things listed above. Think of it as just one part of a conversation that leads to your end goal, which is different for everyone but for many, it’s making friends.
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#3. Small talk helps you understand people
If you’re able to find something in common with someone, your conversation will be much easier.
To demonstrate, below is a simple/quick conversation showing how to arrive at the “Yes, same!” moment during small talk.
Them: “Cool, you live in Brooklyn NY too?”
You: “Yea, near Atlantic Ave.”
Them: “Oh nice! Me too!”
You: “I love the Bar, near my apartment.”
Them: “I was there last night!”
You: “They have great trivia on Thursday. We should go.”
Them: “Yes! Let’s do it!”
So, discovering compatibility or arriving at the “Yes! Same!” moment is a huge accomplishment in conversations. It almost always solidifies a connection and can be used for a more in-depth conversation.
To sum it up, if you want to have deeper conversations, find things in common and talk about them. The only way to accomplish this is if you start learning how to small talk.
#4. Small talk will make you happier, especially when talking about yourself
For example, if you’re grabbing a coffee before work and you spark up a short chat while you wait, you’ll leave feeling better than when you walked in.
A study by, Gillian Sandstrom and Elizabeth Dunn called, “Is Efficiency Overrated?” says, “People who smiled at, made eye contact with, and briefly spoke with their coffee baristas reported a greater sense of belonging than those who rushed to buy the coffee.”
For this reason, try to make small talk with strangers or with the person who pours your coffee or tea!
#5. You’ll always need the skill of talking about yourself
Above all, there will always be a necessity to talk to people. Especially, when short moments of conversation occur, which can be very impactful.
So why not practice?
If you want to improve, start making the effort. Learning how to small talk is easier than you think. Try stuff out, see what works.
In fact, accepting a job, working with colleagues, winning new clients, entertaining current clients, and managing people, all require you to small talk at some point.
In the end, most social activities, including a career, requires you to use small talk.
# 6. Benefits of talking about yourself outweighs anxiety
Undoubtedly, genuine social interactions, even small ones, contribute to fulfilling the basic human need to belong.
Gillian Sandstrom, a psychology lecturer at the University of Essex, says, “By chatting with a stranger, you are being seen and acknowledged, and your connection to that one person may remind you of your universal connection to other people.”
In essence, small talk is a way to bond with people. If you can’t small talk, developing relationships will be more challenging. If you think you have anxiety but aren’t sure, take a test here.
#7. Find a social event you feel comfortable going to
Have you ever gone to a networking event or a happy hour and you just hate being there? We all have and it’s very draining! In our opinion, many networking events are a waste of time. A lot of people at these events are only there to get something from you, instead of trying to develop meaningful relationships.
In the book, Likeonomics, the Author Rohit Bhargava says, “Networking Needs to Die”.
The author, Bhargava goes on to say …
“We can all recall a moment when we meet someone who clearly was trying to get to know us only as a strategy for being able to sell us something or ask us for a favor later. No one likes those people.”
“So what do I do?”
“How can I talk to people? And about myself?”
The answer is:
- Find an event you’ll thrive at socially
- Make sure the event gives you a chance of meeting people you’re compatible with.
- You feel comfortable.
#8 Pick events you’re comfortable talking about yourself
Ask yourself, “Where will people like me be hanging out?”
One of the main goals is to go somewhere you feel comfortable because it will help you reduce anxiety, and most importantly, it will help you meet people you’re compatible with.
Once you discover a common interest, focus your energy on that topic you both relate to. It’s one of the ways you can begin moving small talk toward deeper conversation topics.
As a final point, finding or meeting people who have similar interests can be hard. Here are a few resources we think you might benefit from:
These are three great sources to use that can help you make more meaningful relationships and practice small talk. So, simply go where you feel comfortable and where you’ll find your “pack of people”. Go where you’ll thrive and feel good about yourself. Finding a group of people with similar interests is one of the keys to socializing more comfortably and learning how to small talk.
Remember, don’t drain yourself of energy by forcing yourself to go places you hate. If you do, you’ll almost always say, “I hate small talk!”
#8. Wear a conversation starter to talk about yourself
Even more, if you’re feeling confident, and don’t mind people coming up to you, you should consider wearing a conversation starter because it can get someone’s attention or spark small talk.
Here are some things you can use as conversation starters:
- Carry popular book
- Sports hat or team shirt
- A shirt that says something provocative (make sure to be sensitive)
- New shoes or a new tie. You’ll be surprised how many people give you a compliment.
- Show your tattoo’s if appropriate
If you don’t mind bringing a little attention to yourself wear something that stands out so people might ask about it. This will give you plenty of opportunities to learn how to small talk with people. If you go somewhere to meet friends or new people, there is a good chance they’ll ask about the conversation starter you’re wearing.
#9. Become a better questioner
The trick is … you actually don’t need to talk as much as you think you do. You just have to ask the right questions. One of the first steps in becoming better at talking about yourself is to become a better questioner. The next time you’re talking to someone be aware of the questions you’re asking.
The quality of a question relies on 4 factors.
- Types of questions you’re asking
- The order of questions
- Your tone
- How you present the questions
#10. Ask questions people will enjoy answering
Asking the right questions is a powerful way to discover meaningful information about the person you’re talking to. First, start with basic questions that are “safe” topics or “feelers” which will give you an idea about who the person is or what they’re feeling in the moment.
Here are some feeler questions:
“It’s great to meet you! How are you?”
“It’s great to meet you! How’s the day been?”
“What’s your day been like?”
“Have you been here before? (If yes) What do you recommend eating?”
Next, start picking up the speed and begin to use discovery questions, and listen for meaningful things the person mentions. Some questions you can use are:
Tell me what your weekend plans?
What are some personal projects you’re working on?
Can you recommend for fun activities this weekend?
Working on anything exciting lately outside of work?
At this point, you’ve discovered some facts about the person. You have clues and ideas to work with, so now you have more information to ask deeper questions.
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#11. Curiosity reduces awkwardness when talking
Have you ever had someone ask you questions about your life? I bet you enjoyed that conversation more than others. It’s because 99% of us love talking about ourselves because it feels really good.
Harvard’s psychology department did some research and found that humans get a biochemical buzz from self-disclosure.
In fact, the research also says we spend almost 40% of conversations talking about ourselves. What makes us do this? Simply, our brain chemistry. So, if you want to keep a conversation flowing, the easiest thing to do is be curious. It’s a skill you can develop to use in everyday communication.
Most importantly, being curious is about being open to exploring who the person is you’re talking to. The questions below are examples you can use for small talk and ultimately open the door to deep conversation.
What’s the highlight of your week?
Tell me some things you’re looking forward to this weekend?
What is it about the work you do that excites you?
Let’s talk about some fun things you’ve done in the last few weeks.
Ultimately, these questions will improve and build on the conversation beyond small talk. These are open-ended questions that will reduce awkward small talk. They’ll spark longer and deeper discussions and will extend the conversation significantly.
#12. Find someone’s spark to switch the conversation
For one thing, if you can find something someone loves to talk about endlessly, it will be like you’ve found gold. We like to call this, someone’s spark. If you master strategy #4 you’ll easily find someone’s spark.
When you ask the person you’re talking to a question and they jolt up and get excited about the question, then you’ve found their spark. And you have to find it by digging around with questions and by listening for clues people give you.
Another example: “I went to Europe this summer! It was a great time.”
Follow up by asking about Europe and where their next trip is going to be.
You can say: “Tell me about your trip to Europe?”
If you’re not asking these types of follow-up questions then you’re truly not listening or you’re not being curious enough. Eventually, you need to become more curious to be successful at small talk.
#13. Be more observant to lead the conversation away from you
If you’re saying, “I don’t like talking about myself”, then, let’s now recall when you’ve entered a room and noticed a beautiful painting or a view. We all see interesting things when we’re around other people. So, start talking about it! This is an important and easy strategy to use when learning how to small talk.
Observe what’s in the room or around you before you make small talk with a stranger. It’s a great icebreaker.
You: Wow. What a view of the New York City Skyline. It’s always inspiring to me, especially at night. What do you think?
Stranger: Yea, It’s a sight to see for sure. I love the city at night.
You: I’m Andrew by the way. Nice to meet you.
*Try this out: Take a look at the pictures below and think about what you observe. How would you talk about what you see to create small talk?
Sometimes, the best small talk starts from just simply noticing a detail or giving a compliment.
It’s as simple as noticing a hat, a picture, or almost anything in a room can spark small talk. Learn to become more observant about people and the room you’re in. You’ll start to become aware of the details people have that you can talk about.
#14. Reveal something about yourself
Sometimes both people who are talking to one another are nervous. Their mind might go blank or they can’t think of anything to say. So, feel free to talk about yourself or add an interesting fact related to what you’re talking about.
For example, if you’re at a bar and you’re asking people where they’re from follow up with:
“If you haven’t explored [ insert your city here] you should consider [a location people will like].
Also “If you haven’t explored Brooklyn NY, you would love the Brooklyn Museum.”
Or “The area where I live has a lot of new restaurants. It’s a great place to get local beer and food.”
You can even turn it into an invitation to a future get-together…
“The area where I live has a lot of new restaurants. It’s a great place to get local beer and food. We should all go next week for happy hour!”
Lastly, don’t wait too long for people to ask you questions about yourself because you might be waiting a long time. We all have interesting experiences people would love to hear about. No more saying, “I don’t like talking about myself.” Use these tips!
#15. Go to social events ready to talk about interesting things/topics
With the power of the internet, we all can find something interesting to talk about. For starters, it’s a good idea to find a topic or subject people can relate to. Therefore, knowing your audience is important.
If you’re speaking to a travel enthusiast or coin collector, talk about their latest adventures or collections. If you don’t know anything about someone’s hobby or what their “spark” is, then Google the topic.
This is a strategy that can make a conversation much smoother and less awkward. Being prepared goes a long way. This will make learning how to small talk much easier because you’ll have ideas or subject matter to extend or start a conversation instead of with no plan.
If you need some ideas to check out Googletrends.com
#16 Get them to say, “Yes, me too!” Finding things in common is huge!
We briefly talked about this above, but when you meet someone and you find out they like the same TV show or movie, or the same color, or anything, what do you say? “Yes, me too!” This should be music to your ears.
When two people discover they have something in common they didn’t think they would, it gives them a nice endorphin high. It’s a great brain buzz. Knowing you have something in common can be an intense experience, making the connection between two people much stronger. This is a great way to go about talking with people about who you are and not saying, “I don’t like talking about myself.”
Here is a video scene of Anthony Bourdain in Hong Kong asking questions and realizing he has something wonderful in common with the person he’s having a conversation with.
Strategy #17. Ask a friend to be a buffer to make small talk easier
For the purpose of making small talk less awkward, ask a friend to come with you to a social event. A friend can make you feel significantly more comfortable and able to engage with people or when you can’t. You can even call this person a “wingman”.
Think of a “wingman” as a teammate who is by your side and can help you with any social anxiety or fears you may have. Using a friend to learn how to small talk can be an asset. They will literally stand by you and support you during any social situation.
Most importantly, a good wingman can take the lead in a conversation. This can help you feel more confident instead of freaking out about starting a small talk conversation by yourself. Join in when you feel ready.
“What you can do right now?
If you feel like your social skills keep getting worse, talk to a close friend or a professional counselor about the feelings you have.
Or, you can prepare more when you go out to socialize. Joining our community and Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social toolkit, and more)
We think if you join our community, or just read a few more blog posts, you won’t be saying, “I don’t like talking about myself”. But you’ll feel more confident and know what to say.
We hope after reading this post you feel more aware of the why you might be asking yourself the question, “I don’t like talking about myself.”
You got this!