We’ve all had the “I never know what to say!” moment. It might have been during an interview, on a date, or just out with friends. Your mind goes blank and you have no idea why. It’s frustrating and confusing. But it’s why we created this post, to give you some clues about what might be happening. Below we mention 5 possible reasons you might be having these moments and what you can do about them.
We hope this gives you some insight! Also, check out our toolkit if you want some extra support!
#1. You’re terribly nervous and might be blacking out
“Our brain starts acting certain ways as a result of trauma and anxiety,” said Laura Bloom, psychotherapist and social worker who specializes in anxiety and neuro-psycho education.
When we’re in a situation that causes nervousness or anxiety, a “fight or flight” reaction is triggered, sending hormones into the body. Several side effects can occur like feeling “light-headed and dizzy,” and it can affect “the way our brain remembers situations that we’ve been in,” said Bloom.
Strong feelings of anxiety or stress can cause you to feel incompetent during conversations, causing the “I never know what to say!” moment.
#2. You never know what to say because you don’t prepare
Without preparation, you’re probably relying on luck and hope. If you have too many moments of, “I never know what to say”, during an interview, on a date, or at some random party, then most likely, it’s because you didn’t prepare or practiced enough. It’s that simple.
With thorough preparation, you can significantly change your situation. Even a few minutes a day of preparation for conversations will put you ahead of most people since the majority of people don’t.
#3. You have faulty thinking
You need to examine how you think. If you looked at a list of everything you thought about during the day, would most of your thoughts be positive or negative? Do your thoughts suggest calm and contentment, or anger and anxiety?
Psychologists use the phrase “cognitive distortions” to describe faulty thinking patterns. Two very common faulty thinking patterns are, “Catastrophizing” and “All or Nothing Thinking.”
Your thinking process can prevent you from reaching the goal of having a good conversation. Here is a list you can read to learn more about faulty thinking and how to manage it.
Here is a list you can read to learn more about faulty thinking and how to manage it.
Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck)
#4. You’re at the wrong event, party, or social situation
The first question you should ask yourself is, “where do I feel comfortable talking to people?” You might be draining yourself of energy by forcing yourself to go places you hate.
We’ve all had good conversations in our life, no matter who you are, so consider the places, events, or moments, you’ve enjoyed a conversation with someone that brought out the best in you. Continue asking yourself, “where do I thrive the most?” Figure that out and you’ll start to see your conversations improve significantly and you’ll go from “I never know what to say” to “It feels good to know what to say”.
Check out the 5 reasons you should socialize where you thrive.
#5. The questions you ask are below average
Learn how to ask questions. It’s a skill you need for your personal and professional relationships. This can help you overcome the “I never know what to say” dilemma.
Alison Wood Brooks, who studies conversations at Harvard Business School, quickly learned that people don’t ask enough questions. In fact, among the most common complaints people make after having a conversation, such as an interview, a first date, or a work meeting, is “I wish [s/he] had asked me more questions” and “I can’t believe [s/he] didn’t ask me any questions.”
Below a survey of 2,169 business leaders and decision-makers was conducted. Asking questions matters!
How to get better at socializing: Finally know what to say
Below we’ve added 4 helpful tips to avoid or have fewer “I never know what to say!” moments. If you implement just one of the tips, you’ll start to see changes in how you talk to people and nerves reduce. Give it a try!
Get better at socializing ProTip: Practice more often
Practice speeds up learning, The more immediate the opportunity for practice and feedback, the more likely learning will occur. Rehearse what you’re going to say, practice objection handling, negotiating and know how to answer common questions,
Conversation skills need to be refined and honed over time. Develop better habits too.
Get better at socializing ProTip: Small talk isn’t going away
Small talk is an essential part of socializing and a great way to recognize what you have in common with another person. When you have brief conversations about topics outside of work you solidify a bond with another person. For example, when someone talks about a trip they went on and you’ve had a similar experience, you can relate. This helps establish rapport and can be useful in understanding who the person is. Check out our small talk guide to learn more!
Also, if you want to know how to get better at socializing and small talk, here are some of the best and worst conversation topics.
Get better at socializing ProTip: Get some help. It could help a lot
Knowing what to say and building confidence to initiate a conversation is not easy. With a lot of things in our life, the journey starts in your mind. Although, sometimes it’s hard to do it on your own and your insecurities are more complex than you thought.
Working on yourself is about diving deep into your thoughts, history, and insecurities. Discovering how to overcome the things holding you back in life is important and can be life-changing. Overcome and understand your thought “I never know what to say” by discovering counseling in your area by clicking here.
Get better at socializing ProTip: Learn to carry a conversation
Knowing how to hold a conversation can mean the difference between getting a job and a raise, making new friends, or even meeting that special someone. But for many people, starting, and holding a conversation isn’t just hard, it’s downright impossible.
If you’re one of the millions of people who think “I can’t start a conversation,” you’re not alone! Luckily though, with a bit of help and some practice, you’ll be on your way to becoming a master conversationalist in no time!
So check out these 9 powerful tips to help you learn how to hold a conversation with ease! With these tips, the “I never know what to say” moments will be much less.
When all else fails …
Try talking about yourself. But if you’re shy, this can feel scary.
If you don’t share your thoughts, opinions, and experiences with people you’re limiting your conversations and your relationship potential. By revealing something about yourself, you start to build a connection, and the more comfortable you’re with someone the easier conversations will be.
When you make a habit of opening up about experiences, your opinions, and facts about your life you’ll start to see your relationships evolve.
The quickest way to find something to talk about is by commenting on what you see.
What do you notice about the person you’re talking to or the location you’re at? Look at people’s clothes, what they’re saying, the person next to you, the food, and even the weather. What stands out to you?
Simply start a conversation about what you see in front of you and see what happens. Have fun with! Ultimately, you’ll hit on a topic that will spark a really fun or deep conversation.