Last night I found myself in the West Village to help celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. As I chatted with the guy sitting next to me, the discussion somehow turned (I brought it up) to Chipotle’s recent additions to their menu. Specifically, chorizo. I kid you not, this is the conversation that took place:
Him (trying to find something relevant to say): Is…it…good?
Me (overenthusiastically): Oh YES. It is SO GOOD.
Upon review, I am convinced that my “game” basically amounts to cafeteria conversation at fat camp. Dear reader, take your cues accordingly. As someone who spent most of their youth trying to figure out ways to eat more donuts, I can attest that not much has changed in the interim. But why, WHY in the high heavens do I think this makes for suitable conversation? I have no reasonable reply. I’m comforted by the thought that we all have our moments of social ineptitude.
Generally speaking, I default to jokes about food because it helps me avoid subjects that I feel less equipped to handle. Yet I am beginning to realize that conversationally and socially, there’s something to be said for stepping outside of my comfort zone. Do I know much about politics? No, but I can throw down some ill-informed opinions and in that regard, I suppose Congress and I have quite a bit in common. Do I care passionately about my job? Eh. Not really. But I care about this site. I can (and probably should) talk about that.
A while ago, I went as a sort of wingwoman on a date. A guy wanted to ask a girl out, and presumably, he wanted a buffer zone of a few extra people while he tested the romantic waters. I remember being really impressed with how hard the men were trying. They asked questions. They listened to our responses. Neither was about to throw down Don Juan moves, but truthfully, they didn’t need to. They both were making a concerted effort to be engaging. It was charming.
My point (I swear, I do have one) is that we don’t have to be conversational superstars in order to put our best foot forward. The rules are basic: ask questions and then listen carefully to whatever the other person has to say. If you don’t know much about the subject at hand, say so. This gives them the opportunity to teach you something. Finally, in the interest of not following in my awkward footsteps, avoid talking about snacks. Unless you’ve taken to freebasing bacon, waxing poetic about your favorite meats probably won’t make for the most dynamic dinner conversation.
Remember that by stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’re demonstrating a willingness to try. The effort garners respect; the rest will improve with practice.
When it comes to dating and romance, how have you had to actively step outside of your comfort zones?