Anticipate and Prepare
Talking to people can be difficult, even if you enjoy talking. One way that helps me is to anticipate questions and have a prepared pat paragraph.
This helps in three types of conversation: the boring polite, the repetitive inquiry and the emotionally heightened.
The purpose of these prepared sentences is to give your brain space, lower the effort level and reduce any anxious thoughts.
Initially suggested by my dad for visits with my grandparents. We knew they would ask about school – rather than the shrug and mumbling of ‘stuff’. We could prepare a couple of sentences to utter, then be comfortable in the conversational lull.
Q: How’s school?
A: We are reading Pygmalion in English, I’m finding the phonetics interesting. I like the exploration of social class and the broader cultural change required over the asethic.
This answer is polite, required little effort and has given hooks for the next step of conversation. Of course your paragraph would be less nerdy.
A prepared paragraph is helpful when you know a question will be asked often.
Q: What’s your tattoo say?
A: That’s Koine Greek, a quote from the book of Revelation in the Bible. It translates as ‘he will blot out every tear’. It contains the idea of God’s control over life and that he will remove all the sadness and struggle of this life when Jesus returns. The tree is just because it is pretty, but also links to the Tree of Life imagery in the book of Revelation. After some mental health struggles, I got it once I was stable to point me to the truth and confidence of the end to my struggle and everyone’s pain.
Rather than invest energy in combining new words, I slip into the previously established patter.
Having a prepared paragraph can help when the question elicits strong emotions.
Q: How was camp? When does chemo finish? When will you have kids?
A: Camp was a wonderful and encouraging
Having prepared paragraphs is helpful in polite conversations where you may be bored. They are helpful when questions will be asked many times and assist when we seek to keep emotions managed in turbulent conversations.