10 Deadly Sins of Conversation

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Conversation is the crossroads of an individual's personality, intelligence, and spirituality. What someone says, and how they say it, becomes more important than their looks as a relationship matures.

Bad conversation habits like the examples below can doom a relationship:

Conversation Hijacker

So you've just finished telling a story about a funny memory. The Conversation Hijacker makes their move: "You think that's funny, let me tell you this." The Hijacker doesn't intend to listen to you, but they expect you want to listen to them. They like to top your story and belittle it, while allowing little time for discussion or reaction to it. It ends up as an unbalanced conversation dominated by the Hijacker, frustrating the hijacked victim.

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Eye-Contact Issues

The other day someone was presented to us in our office, and they looked at me too much. It made me uncomfortable. On the other hand, when a girl seems to be looking "through" me, or around me, as if anything is more interesting, I assume she's not into me. Just like words in a conversation, good eye contact has a certain rhythm to it.

Ghost Listening

Don't you hate when you're in an loud environment and you have to ask the person to repeat themselves more than once? By the time I hit "excuse me" number two, I'm already feeling awkward. I sometimes bail out and react with a fake (usually positive) reaction without hearing accurately. So you might get something like this:

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"My grandmother is sick."


"My grandmother is sick."

"I'm sorry, say that again?"

"My grandmother is sick."

(Ghost Listener panics/gives up) "Wow, that is so great!"

It's a toss-up: Do I want to keep asking someone to repeat themselves, or do I want to end the misery by assuming and reacting even though I risk making things worse?

Tasteless Jokes

I'm guilty of talking about porn and my favorite: bathroom humor. Growing up with sisters, I learned that girls fart and do all sorts of horrible bathroom humor type things. So, I often talk "bathroom humor" shop with the ladies. But when I meet someone, it is a turnoff for them in the beginning. I guess the obnoxiousness (and this is tough for people in my family to do) has to be introduced slowly.

Shameless Self-Promoter

It's obnoxious to berate someone with your accomplishments, or how you know cool person/celeb A, B, or C. You'll look insecure and look like you're trying too hard. Putting the best foot forward gently is not an easy art to master.

Me, Me, Me

A variation of the Shameless Self-Promoter, the Me, Me, Me broadcasts insignificant stories about their life, but completely forgets to ask the other person about their life. It may not be on purpose, but they magnify everything in their own world, which shrinks the importance of everything in the other person's world.

My Name Is Negativity

They might describe their average day like this: "Of course my boss made me stay late, and of course I locked myself out of my apartment because that's my life. Everything sucks." Another form of negativity is self-deprecation. I love making fun of myself, but sometimes it gets to be too much and my friends tell me to ease off on it. Don't fake positivity but remember: No one wants to spend time with a person who is too negative.

Dead-End Answers

Answering with a simple "yes" or "no" or one sentence sings detachment, like a guilty criminal being grilled by a detective. So, use short answers when you're trying to get rid of someone, but if you like someone you should be naturally inclined to say more.

Word Machine

You don't want to be Dead-End Answer, but if you talk too much you will overwhelm someone. The person you're with is more likely to remember that you talked too much than the actual content over your conversation. I talk a lot (too much sometimes), and when someone talks as much as me, we fight for time. Conversation is about balance: sharing the stage at the right rate creates a good conversation rhythm.

I Only Read Us Weekly, or Russian Literature

There are girls who only talk about pop culture, butthere are also the condescending "too smart" types that are not down to earth. Everyone wants an intelligent partner, but they don't want a preachy person or someone who makes them feel stupid. My dream girl talks Us Weekly, then pulls out the Russian lit from time to time.

What are your biggest pet peeves or turnoffs when it comes to conversations with potential mates, and do you agree with my list? What other bad conversation habits have you seen?

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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