Me — Having Something to Say

For the longest time, the MO of this blog had been “write for me, and anyone that reads it is a bonus”. That’s sort of translated to writing regularly about what I’m feeling about so that future me can look back at how very specific events have affected me over the years. For instance, I can look read the post about my cat that died November of 2017, or when I went to Portland, Oregon last July and how I felt during that time.

Most often, though, it just means that every week I commit myself to writing a “Me” post, but all I can think about is stuff I’ve written about in past weeks. At this specific moment, roughly three things come to mind: weather, and how I deal with the cold, getting up and being productive in very early mornings, or just general stress, and how the combination of an ever strengthening writer’s block and an omnipresent feeling of loneliness are working together to make insecurities more and more prevalent.

I’ve already talked about the former two, and the latter isn’t really something I feel is a good topic of conversation, even for a blog post. I’ll say this much, though: I’ve always imagined myself as having a bottle of emotions, and once every several months I rant to a friend about all my problems and then I feel nice and empty for a while. Recently, though, I haven’t managed to empty that bottle, and what worries me about that is that I’m starting to crack. In all honesty, I’m one serious tragedy away from a full mental breakdown. Not that I would wish it, but maybe that’s something I need—a traumatic yet cathartic release of emotion in order to reset my emotional balance.

But anyways, every week I’m struggling with finding a subject of conversation to go into. I really want to talk about my new D&D campaign, but that seems better for a Saturday post for arbitrary reasons. I don’t really like the idea of reviewing games or movies at the moment—the purpose of that was so that future me can look at my first impressions at all this media that may or may not end up being anything—but really I only go back at archived blog posts for references, and when I link them in new posts I don’t reread them. Part of that problem is that the current me isn’t far enough removed from any of those posts, so I know I haven’t changed, but still.

This is a long way of saying that Tuesday posts will no longer be restricted to “Me” posts, because I’m a boring individual and I don’t even have enough to say to interest my own writing muses, so nobody, not even future me, should be subjected to reading that sort of crap. (The preceding paragraphs that are only tangentially related to each other are a good example of this.)

That said: here’s something that doesn’t deserve a full post but I want to mention anyway. I got two pairs of nice cotton pajama pants for Christmas and they are so cozy I love them. One of them even has tea cups on them.

That is all.

Learning! — Conversations

A friend of mine asked me the other day how to bring up a specific subject of conversation without sounding strange, and I was surprised to find out that controlling a conversation isn’t really something that everybody knows how to do! The techniques that I’m about to explain came intuitively for me, so while I’ve done virtually no research as to how social interaction works (and admittedly am bad at this sort of thing in practice) I like to think I can make things go the way I want to most of the time!

There is one technique, (that I’ve picked up from the streamer Day[9] somewhere) on how to always have interesting and engaging conversations. If you think that you never have anything to talk about with this one person, this trick will help you.

First and foremost, though its not exactly related, people generally like talking about themselves. I am notoriously bad at certain aspects of this. If somebody asks me “What classes are you taking this semester?” rarely will I redirect the question to them, even if its the polite thing to do. People always have more to say about themselves, so just keep this in mind.

The idea is to never let a full thought see completion. For example:

You: “What movies do you like to watch?”

Another person: “Oh, mostly horror movies. Jaws, Saw. Stuff with a lot of suspense.”

“Oh, really? What do you like about that genre?”

“Well, I like being on the edge of my seat and that tense feeling horror movies give.”

“Oh, me too! I like suspense, but I can’t stand blood, though!”

And so on. Think of it this way. You can easily take one aspect of any sentence another person says and ask “Why?” but disguise it so you sound like you’re asking a thoughtful question rather than letting them talk. Don’t say, “Hey, I like horror movies, too!” because it leaves nowhere for the other person to go. Either ask them to explain what they said in more depth, or add a contrasting opinion that can spark more and more. That’s the first idea.

But let’s say you go into a conversation with a specific subject in mind. Let’s say, for whatever reason, you want to find out if somebody has any siblings. Now, obviously it would be weird to say “Hey, are you an only child, or no?” so it would be more polite to approach the subject with more tact, especially if you want to talk about something more sensitive. Let me give an example that is actually more plausible than siblings.

The way I accomplish this is to find something that requires no introduction, and find a way to easily tie it into the conversation I really want to have. Maybe I want to know what somebody’s shoe/shirt size is to get them a present. Now obviously you don’t want them to know this. So think about the possible topics of conversation this can branch from: clothes, family foot size, the beach (specifically sandals and stuff). You can casually mention how your shirt is too small/big, and from there branch out to how you have a hard time finding clothes that seem to fit properly (whether or not this is true). They will naturally give their own input to this, and at this point you can ask them how they gauge their own foot/shirt size, or whatever the subject happens to be. If it goes well, nobody would suspect that the conversation you’ve been having for the past several minutes was one long lead up to one specific question.

I’m sure we all go through the scenarios of a conversation in our heads before they actually happen. But rather than daydreaming and considering the possibilities, try actually planning ahead for what you would say and how they may respond.