Last updated on July 27th, 2023 at 05:01 pm

“Argh, I suck at making conversation.” Have you ever found this thought ricocheting in your mind amidst social gatherings?

Or, perhaps the more onerous, “I suck at small talk,” resurfaces whenever you contemplate striking up a dialogue. You are not alone. A multitude of people share the sentiment, “I hate starting conversations.”

This blog post seeks to dismantle and understand seven widespread hindrances to initiating conversations.

Our aim is to convert the damaging confession of, “I suck at making conversation,” into a confidence-inspiring commitment to nurturing valuable and meaningful conversations.

Now, let’s dive into why you say, “I suck at making conversation!”

Understanding Challenges in Effective Conversation

There are several reasons why someone may face difficulties in engaging in effective conversation.

These can broadly be categorized into lack of experience, social anxiety, self-focus, and limited knowledge or interest.

Lack of Experience or Exposure: If a person hasn’t had ample opportunities to engage in diverse social interactions, they may lack the necessary conversational skills. Understanding the rhythm of dialogue, the ability to read non-verbal cues, and knowing when and how to ask open-ended questions are all skills honed with practice and exposure.

Social Anxiety: The fear of judgment or negative evaluation can be a significant barrier to effective communication. Social anxiety can inhibit someone’s capacity to converse freely, as they might be constantly worried about making mistakes or saying the wrong thing.

Excessive Self-focus: If a person is overly centered on their own thoughts and emotions, they might struggle with active listening and empathizing with the other person’s perspective. 

Limited Knowledge or Interest: Someone may face difficulties in conversation if their knowledge on a broad range of topics is limited, or if they have minimal interest in learning about others’ experiences and viewpoints. This can restrict their ability to engage in a variety of discussions and maintain others’ interest in the conversation.

Now, lets dive deeper into specific situations and feelings that make you feel like you suck at conversation.


Your Fear of Rejection is Strong

The thought, “I suck at making conversation” is often rooted in the fear of rejection. It’s the terror of being snubbed, dismissed, or invalidated that looms large, making every potential conversation seem like a treacherous mountain to climb.

However, this fear, while formidable, can be managed:

  • Normalize Rejection: Everyone experiences rejection at some point—it’s not a personal failing but a part of the human experience.
  • Grow from it: Use rejection as a springboard for personal growth and honing your communication skills. 

    Social Anxiety is Crippling You

    If your thoughts spin into an apprehensive, “I hate starting conversations,” every time you face a social situation, it’s likely social anxiety gnawing at you.

    This form of anxiety amplifies the apprehension and stress linked with initiating conversations, making the challenge appear far greater than it is.

    However, with proper strategies and techniques, it can be managed:

    • Mindfulness Techniques: Practices such as meditation can help anchor you in the present moment, reducing anxiety.
    • Professional Assistance: Consulting therapists or mental health professionals can provide you with effective strategies to manage social anxiety.
    • Check to see if you have anxiety symptoms. Take the quiz. 

    The Lack of Confidence Blocks you

    When you lament, “I suck at making conversation talk because I lack confidence,” it’s clear that confidence, or lack thereof, is your stumbling block. 

    Lack of self-assurance can make initiating a conversation incredibly daunting. 

    However, confidence isn’t a fixed attribute but a trait that can be built over time:

    • Positive Self-Affirmation: Regularly remind yourself of your strengths, talents, and past successful conversations.
    • Knowledge Acquisition: Arming yourself with knowledge on various topics can boost your confidence when talking to others.
    improve social skills<br />

    You might have Difficulty Reading Social Cues

    If understanding social cues feels like decoding cryptic hieroglyphs, leading you to ask, “why do I suck at talking?”, remember that this is a skill that can be developed with patience and practice:

    • Active Observation: Actively watch how others handle various social situations and learn from them.
    • Request Constructive Criticism: Seek feedback from trusted friends or family members to understand where you might improve.

    You HATE Small Talk. Try to Embrace it

    If small talk feels shallow or insincere, pushing you towards the thought, “I hate starting conversations,” remember that small talk is often the stepping stone to deeper, more meaningful conversations:

    • Discover Common Ground: Finding shared interests can transform small talk from a chore into an enjoyable conversation.
    • Personalize the Conversation: Guide the conversation towards topics you genuinely care about to make it more engaging and less superficial.

      Shyness is Hard to Overcome 

      If shyness makes even the idea of starting a conversation feel overwhelming, pushing you towards the thought, “I suck at making conversation,” it’s essential to remember that shyness can be overcome, and it doesn’t have to define you:

      • Start with Smaller Groups: Initiating one-on-one or small group conversations can be less intimidating than large gatherings.
      • Self-Challenge: Gradually push your comfort boundaries by taking small steps outside your comfort zone.
      how to small talk

      Get 8 Free Tools to Become Socially Confident

      Subscribe to our community and get a HUGE discount on our course, Next Level Conversation

      Need a Different Approach with Introverted Personality 

      “I suck at making conversation because I’m an introvert.” If this resonates with you, remember that being introverted doesn’t mean you’re doomed to struggle with conversation. Introversion simply means you might need a different approach:


      Overthinking Creates Indecisiveness 

      Overthinking can plague the minds of many, and it often whispers, “I suck at making conversation”. It’s this habit of dissecting every word, every sentence, and imagining negative scenarios that stifle the spontaneity and ease of conversation.

      However, overthinking can be tackled:

        Fear of Awkward Silences

        A significant contributor to the sentiment, “I hate starting conversations,” is the fear of awkward silences. This fear can create pressure to keep the conversation going, which paradoxically may make it more challenging to maintain a natural flow.

        Strategies to handle this fear include:

        • Embrace Silence: Understand that silence is a natural part of conversations and not necessarily a sign of awkwardness.
        • Prepare Conversation Fillers: Having a mental list of interesting topics can help in filling the gaps when conversation lulls.
        • Take on new social experiences  
        small talk check list

        Funny small talk topics

        Small talk doesn’t have to be a dreaded activity. Below are ten fun ways to engage in small talk that can make the experience enjoyable and memorable.

        Trivia Time: Introduce a fun fact or a piece of trivia into the conversation. It can be a great conversation starter and can also provide a good laugh if the trivia is quirky or surprising.

        Play “Would You Rather”: This game is an excellent ice-breaker and can be made humorous with the right kind of questions. It’s a surefire way to get the conversation flowing and the laughter going.

        Reference Pop Culture: Whether it’s a humorous quote from a recent movie, a funny meme, or a trending internet challenge, referencing pop culture can bring in a lot of fun and laughter into the conversation.

        Shared Experiences: Talk about a funny or interesting shared experience. It can be as simple as a humorous observation about the event you are both attending.

        Bring Pets into the Conversation: Discussing pets can be both engaging and entertaining. Sharing funny stories or antics about your pets can bring smiles and laughter.

        The Power of Puns: If it suits your style, a well-timed pun can add a lot of humor to your conversation. It’s all about the delivery, so be confident and playful.

        Funny Anecdotes: Everyone enjoys a good story, especially if it’s amusing or has a funny twist. It can be something from your day-to-day life, your childhood, or an amusing situation you once found yourself in.

        Joke of the Day: Prepare a light-hearted, friendly joke that you can use as an icebreaker. It can be a fun way to start a conversation and put people at ease.

        Question with a Twist: Instead of the usual “What do you do?” or “Where are you from?”, surprise them with something like, “If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” It’s fun, unusual, and a great conversation starter.

        Compliment with Humor: Compliments always work well in small talk. Adding humor to it can make it even better. For instance, “I must say, your fashion sense is even better than my grandma’s, and she was a fashion icon back in her day!”

        Remember, no one is born a master conversationalist

        It’s a skill that can be developed and honed with time, patience, and practice. The next time you find yourself thinking, “II suck at making conversation” or “why do I suck at talking,” remind yourself of this fact.

        Instead of dreading the initiation, view each conversation as an opportunity to learn and improve.

        Adopting this mindset will transform your dreaded, “I hate starting conversations,” into a more empowering, “I’m improving my conversation skills every day.”

        Starting conversations doesn’t need to be a dreaded task.

        The moment you exchange the thought, “I suck at making conversation,” for “I can improve my conversation skills,” you’re already on your way to becoming a more confident and effective communicator

        Get 8 Free Tools to Become Socially Confident

        Subscribe to our community and get a HUGE discount on our course, Next Level Conversation

        What else can you do right now?

        Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social blueprint, and more) Prepare more when you go out to socialize.

        We think if you join our community or read a few more blog posts, you won’t be saying, “I suck at making conversation.” 

        But, you’ll feel more confident, and prepared and you’ll know what to do next, especially, when it comes to socializing.

        Steve Anthony

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