Keeping a conversation interesting has never been particularly easy. This becomes even more pronounced and awkward around complete strangers. In real life, you get to take non-verbal cues from the way the person reacts to what you say. Not so with the Internet. The person you are chatting with may already be bored to death by what you’re saying. And you’ll never find out until it’s too late.
So how does one go about keeping conversations interesting online?
This is one of the many things that people keep talking about but never practice. When chatting with a stranger online, let this be your watchword. The world is made up of billions of unique individuals – individuals whose belief-systems and values may not agree with yours. The best thing to do if you don’t understand is to ask. Ask and refrain from judging. If you find that the other person’s differences are too much for you to ignore, then politely bid the other person goodbye and thank them for their time.
It’s hard to be interesting when you have nothing to share. If you really want to be a good conversationalist, read up! It doesn’t have to be about science or politics if you don’t particularly like to read about those. You can find what interests you and read up on those topics instead.
The best compliment you can pay a person is actively listening to what they say. A lot of people love hearing the sound of their own voices. So much so that they keep talking without even letting the other person speaks. Not only is this a big turn off, it is also rather rude. Learn to listen and you may just surprise yourself with the things you end up learning. When chatting, try to point out some of the things they said and say what you think about it. That will make the other person feel that you actually read the messages.
Don’t worry if the person you’re chatting with has radically different interests. Ask questions. Most people tend to like answering questions about the things they like. If, for example, the other person loves cooking Japanese food, and you know little to nothing about it, ask for tips. But be sure to pay attention. It can get very annoying when the person you’re talking to asks questions but doesn’t listen to the answers. Also, don’t say you know something about a topic when you really don’t. You might end up embarrassing yourself when the other person asks you about things you’re supposed to know.
Stick to light topics
This is a good rule to follow during the early stages of chatting. If you don’t really know a person that well yet, try to avoid sensitive issues such as religion and politics. You might end up arguing with the other person instead of learning about them.
Keep an open mind
This goes hand-in-hand with respect. People are bound to have different opinions and different ways of doing things. Keep an open mind and a willingness to learn about the other person. You might discover things about yourself that you didn’t know before.