What advice would you have for a woman who doesn’t know what to talk about with male acquaintances?
The great relationship researcher, John Gottman has a popular saying that is great advice for such cases. It’s actually great advice for women OR men. When we don’t know what to talk about, it’s often because we think we have nothing TO talk about. We struggle to be interesting—funny, sexy, entertaining, attractive. We want to attract others to us. We want to be interesting.
John Gottman says we’re missing the target. He suggests that we not worry about being interesting. Instead, be interested.
Be curious about the other person: their interests, what they enjoy, what excites them, what moves them, what they love. Get them talking about their passion, be it their career, a hobby, a cause. Then, be interested. Ask open ended questions. Be inquisitive…not intrusive, but inquisitive. Then, listen intently and follow their lead with more open ended questions.
“How did you get interested in that?”
“What is the most important part of that for you?”
“How did you learn about that?”
Learn the story behind their passion.
This isn’t meant to be manipulative, but people are inherently drawn toward those who show interest in them.
So, don’t worry about being interesting… be interested.
Mark Beck, LPC, LMHC
Pairs Care Counseling, LLC
I have been an ordained minister since 1983 and have pastored churches in Virginia and North Carolina. In the 1990’s, I transitioned to the counseling field and been a licensed professional counselor since 2001. I maintained a private counseling practice in Virginia until my wife, Debbie and I moved to Florida in 2017, where I started my current practice in the little town of Inverness. I am now licensed in Virginia (LPC) and Florida (LMHC). So, I am a preacher who counsels or a counselor who preaches. But, both venues gave me a passion for helping people, especially couples. As a therapist, I focus exclusively on couples. That’s all I do. Couples therapy is a special type of counseling and I want to be the very best at it that I can be.