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How to Never Run Out of Things to Say & Banish the Awkward Silence

Conversations can be difficult when an awkward silence happens. Handily, you can learn how to never run out of things to say and side-step the cringe!

How to Never Run Out of Things to Say

Everyone wants to be a master conversationalist. The problem is, it’s not as easy as it looks. Trying to come up with witty things to say all the time is exhausting and if the other person isn’t really helping you out, it can mean the chat dries up faster than a desert in the summer. But, by learning how to never run out of things to say, you can keep a conversation going, become the best conversationalist around, and charm everyone with your ability!

Let’s be honest, awkward silences aren’t much fun. You’re not sure what to say, your mind is ticking over at ten times the speed it normally would and you’re desperately hoping the other person ends your misery. It’s horrible.

Awkward silences are the worst, yes, but they are avoidable.

It’s actually easier than you think. You don’t have to be a master of every subject on the news to be a real conversation starter, or to keep one going.

Of course, it also relies on the other person being engaged in the conversation too. One-sided conversations are doomed for failure at some stage.

[Read: Loosen up! Your complete guide to overcome social awkwardness]

Running out of things to say? The first step

Honestly, we all run out of things to say now and then. And you know what, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and you’re not alone. Just as you’re scrambling for things to talk about in your head, chances are, the other person you’re talking to is probably doing the same as well. It’s stressful, anxiety-inducing and absolutely no ones likes that feeling.

And however much of a smooth talker someone is, there will always be moments when they don’t know what to say next, especially if it’s a conversation with someone they’ve just met.

So if you’re in the middle of a conversation and can’t think of anything to say, just pause. Stop fidgeting, or scrambling for ideas. And just relax. This is the first step you always need to remember.

Turn your face away from them from the neck up, while continuing to direct your body towards them. This makes it subconsciously clear to anyone that you’re still engaged in the conversation with them.

Take a few seconds to look around and take a few deep breaths *or a few sips of any drink in your hand* while you’re at it. Relax and admire the world around you, even if you’re in a room full of people.

Sometimes, just looking around calmly for a few seconds is all you need to come up with a new topic to talk about *a room full of people can give you a lot of conversation topics as well*. And even better, the person you’re talking to would be grateful for the break, and you’ll be giving them a few seconds to compose themselves as well. It’s a win-win situation however you see it!

[Read: The art of keeping a conversation going and making anyone absolutely love talking to you]

How to never run out of things to say and be the best conversationalist around

So now that you know the first step to calm down when you run out of things to say, let’s look at how to never run out of things to say in all the right ways!

1. Ask a lot of questions

The best way to expand a conversation and keep it ticking along nicely is to ask questions. It keeps the other person talking too.

If you do this, you’ll find that the conversation barely stalls. However, don’t fire question after question at them. Otherwise, you run the risk of everything becoming a little interview-like! [Read: These funny conversation starters will help you fit right in]

2. Make sure you ask open-ended questions

It’s not just about any old question, it’s about open-ended questions too.

These types of questions require more of an answer than “yes” or “no.” They require an explanation and from that explanation, you can chip in and give your own opinion or your own insights into the issue.

3. Expand your own horizons and give yourself more to talk about

When you have a lot going on in your life, you’ll find it easier to come up with new ideas on what to talk about. The more experiences you have, the more hobbies you engage in, the more you’ll be able to keep a conversation ticking along.

You might also find that you inspire the other person to try new things. [Read: How to be funny and make people love your company]

4. Try the “that reminds me of …” technique

Memories are ideal conversation-starters, and you can easily take a small detail and continue a conversation based on details you remember.

As a result, the other person you’re talking to will be able to chip in with their memories and views on the entire subject, leaving you free of awkward silences.

5. Compliment them

Compliments are ideal conversation-starters, but they’re not necessarily ways to keep a conversation going. However, you can base the conversation around the compliment you’ve just given and link it up with the “that reminds me of …” technique.

For instance, “I really like that top you’re wearing” is a good way to start the conversation. It also shows that you’re friendly and open to discussion. Then, if the conversation stalls, pick out a detail of the top they’re wearing and weave in a memory, such as “the color really reminds me of the sea; I could really use a holiday right now, how about you?” This is one of the best ways to learn how to never run out of things to say. [Read: Decoding compliments – 50 cute words and their true meanings]

6. Know that nobody will judge you on what you have to say

Part of the reason why awkward silences happen is that people worry that if they continue to just talk, even babble a little, they’re going to be judged.

In reality, it’s more likely that the other person is relieved you’re the one in control and that the aforementioned awkward silence isn’t taking over! [Read: A quirky guide for the quirks on how to not be awkward]

7. Pick out small details and get them to expand

When the other person is talking to you, look for small details you can pull out. Ask them to expand on them. You can then weave in some open questions to further explore the topic. Ensure that nobody is short of anything to say!

You can ask questions to get them to do this, so if they tell you that they like something, ask them why and then ask them another question based on what they tell you. You’re not saying “oh, please could you expand on that,” you’re basically saying “tell me more, that sounds interesting.”

8. Read more so you have more to talk about

It’s not only about expanding your horizons with hobbies and experiences, it’s also about knowing what is going on in the world.

Read the news and celebrity gossip magazines, and know what’s going on. Then, you can weave these quick news spots into your conversation. For instance, if you compliment someone on their hair, you could say that you saw it’s a new fashion trend.

You can also use things that are going on in the world to spark a really interesting conversation.

However, if this is someone you don’t know too well it’s best to avoid anything controversial. Stick with quirky stories or things that aren’t going to offend or lead the conversation into areas that make either of you uncomfortable. [Read: How to hold a conversation and make people love talking to you]

9. Expand on the topic that’s being spoen about – with a twist

Stay on the same conversational lines, e.g. whatever the subject is, and then twist it slightly so it goes in a different direction.

For instance, if you’re talking about the weather, talk about when you visited a specific place and the weather took a nasty turn. Then the conversation will continue from there. [Read: 10 very subtle body language moves that’ll make you appear way more confident]

10. Watch their body language

Being a good conversationalist is also about being able to read the other person so that you can work out what they enjoy talking about versus what they find boring.

When you’re talking, watch the other person and see if they seem interested or not. If they’re gazing off into the distance or fidgeting, the chances are that your choice of topic isn’t engaging them too much. However, if you notice that they’re making eye contact, nodding along, and making agreeable noises, you’ve stumbled upon a topic they find interesting.

By understanding body language, you can always be in control of the conversation.

It doesn’t give you actual words to say, but it does help you to steer the conversation towards something which is going to keep ticking along, rather than turning it into an awkward silence situation. [Read: Body language of women – 12 subtle cues to read her mind in no time]

11. Be aware of what’s around you

If you’re struggling for things to say, just use your immediate environment for inspiration. Perhaps there’s an odd-shaped tree you can use as a conversation starter!

Good conversations often start from the strangest places, so if you’re really not sure what to say next, just zone in on something you can use and say “look at that, doesn’t that look like …” or “that …. reminds me of …”.

12. Ask for their advice or opinion

A good way to keep a conversation ticking along and learn how to never run out of things to say is to ask someone’s advice or opinion about something.

For instance, you can think about what they do for a job and say “I’ve always been interested in working with …, can you tell me how I’d learn more about it?” As long as it’s connected to something they know or do, they’ll be able to give you advice. So, you’ll learn something and you’ll keep the conversation flowing in a natural way. [Read: How to express your opinions without seeming cocky]

13. Never resort to gossip tactics

It’s easy to think that learning how to never run out of things to say could also mean that you resort to gossiping about someone you both know or, even worse, saying nasty things about someone. Don’t do this.

It doesn’t show you in the best light. Even if you both have a mutual dislike or something or someone, keep it out of your conversation. Nobody wants to talk to someone who is so negative. It’s best to stick to positive subjects and then you’ll become known as someone who is fun to talk to, not someone who gossips and backstabs.

14. Know when the conversation has come to an end

Don’t force it. If the conversation has naturally come to a conclusion, leave it be. If you desperately try to keep a chat going when the other person looks bored or uninterested, it’s not going to be enjoyable.

All conversations come to an end at some point, otherwise, we’d never actually get anything done or any sleep!

When the other person starts to look around more, stare at their phone, appear fidgety or as though they need to be someone else, read the sign and take it as a sign to politely end the conversation. You can say something like “It’s been great chatting, I really need to get to … ” That way it looks like you’re ending the conversation and it’s not awkward. [Read: How to talk to people in a charming way no matter who they are]

15. Don’t feel the desperate need to fill awkward silences at all times

Sometimes no matter how well the conversation is flowing, an awkward silence happens.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be awkward. If you’re with someone you know well, not saying something for a short while doesn’t have to be cringe-worthy. You can be comfortable in silence and it doesn’t have to make you want to squirm.

Also, know that the responsibility for a conversation doesn’t solely rely upon you! [Read: Drawing a blank? Try these 25 good conversation starters]

Be creative with fun topics

Learning how to never run out of things to say is really about thinking outside of the box and being inventive and creative. Don’t worry if you think you’re talking too much. The other person is probably relieved that they don’t have to do the thinking. Plus, they don’t want to endure the awkward silence either!

Do not simply fire question after question without giving your input. This simply turns into a churn of questions that might make them uncomfortable or feel like an interrogation! In this case, they’re probably not going to stick around for long. The awkward silence you’re avoiding might actually come your way regardless. [Read: How to keep a conversation going without ever breaking a sweat]

Open-ended questions are a great way to encourage the other person to give their input. It also takes the responsibility of the conversation away from you completely. If the other person isn’t giving you anything back, if they’re simply nodding along and looking uninterested, you might want to rethink whether you even want to talk to this person!

It could also be that they’re simply a little shy or not sure what to say back. It’s something you should consider when encouraging them to open up a little too. [Read: 6 small words that can stretch any conversation for hours!]

The good news, you can master these steps and never endure those horrible awkward silences again!

You’ll never sit there rapidly wracking your brain for something to say, anything you can say, to save the conversation from the abyss, while also not trying to appear as awkward as you’re obviously feeling.

[Read: How to talk to anyone and master the art of real conversation]

Seriously, awkward silences are the worst! Learn how to never run out of things and be creative. Open your mind and read more, have new experiences, and develop new hobbies. Over time, the more exciting you are as a person, the more exciting a conversationalist you will be!

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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