Talking to friends is a great way to grow relationships, reduce stress and get new perspectives on life. But depending on the length of your friendship or how long it’s been between visits, you and your friends might find it difficult to pick up where you left off. Thinking about talking topics ahead of time can help break the ice and get the conversation going.
Talking to both old and new friends about recent travel is a great way to begin a conversation on common ground. Most people have been somewhere memorable at least once in their lives, and giving friends a chance to remember and share lets them know you are interested in their lives outside of just the day to day. Develop good conversation skills such as keeping good eye contact and remaining silent while someone else tells a story while.
Talking about kids, spouses, parents and other family members is a great conversation jumping off point with friends. This is especially true when catching up with old friends. Children’s progress in school all the way up to what colleges they are considering can keep a conversation moving for a while. Even those friends who have no children of their own will likely enjoy hearing about what your kids are up to, as long as the topic does not take up your entire time together. Asking about your friend’s family members that you know well or remember lets her know you are interested in the people that are important in her life as well. Brush up on your listening skills -- like showing genuine interest and focusing on what she is saying -- so your friend feels comfortable talking to you about her family.
A natural conversation starter between friends is recalling shared memories or experiences. After exchanging initial greetings and polite inquiries, jump in with, “I was thinking the other day about the time when we…” and continue the conversation from there. Friendships are built by shared experiences, and talking about them serves to make your relationships stronger. ChangingMinds.org reminds friends to be aware of who is in the group and make sure everyone is included. It can be uncomfortable to be the only person in a conversation who has not shared an experience that’s being talked about.
The ability to share feelings and emotions with someone is the mark of a true friendship. Long-term relationships have seen many ups and downs, and people who know each other well can go beyond just casual conversation and be a true help to each other. Talk to trusted friends and loved ones about feelings rather than holding them inside, to promote better emotional and physical health, suggests KidsHealth.org.