The amount of times I’ve been told to “just be myself” is pretty astronomical. Most of my friends can deal with my ramblings about TV shows I watch, shows I’m in, or my favorite music (Hamilton, my favorite music is pretty much still just Hamilton.) But as a Grown Ass Adult, sometimes, it’s necessary to tone down my weirdness and be the “cool, unique person” rather than the “absolute psycho we should probably stay away from” Especially being a parent. As a mom (or dad…or guardian) sometimes, you have to interact with normal people, who may have younglings that interact with your kids regularly. This can be a daunting task, so much so that I usually fail. Either I don’t commit enough to the conversation, and then I’m distant and unengaging, OR I just speed along that line and become the person who is just WAY to into the conversation. Or, even worse…I pretend to know what someone is talking about, thinking they’re merely making small talk, only to find out that they’re going way further into this conversation and now I’m way deeper down the rabbit hole than I ever wanted to be.
So here’s my gift to you: Some phrases you can use in casual conversation that will help you portray a normal person, and help you keep the conversation at a level you’re comfortable with.
When it comes to politics, I’m a very passionate person, so I often find it necessary to avoid talking about politics if I want to keep a social relationship with someone who maybe an otherwise nice and kind person, but happens to disagree with me (or, as I like to call it…is totally wrong). I also find myself trapped in conversations about TV shows I do not watch, sportsball games I do not follow, and fad hobbies or diets that I usually take no part in. In these situations, I would rather nod, and fade to the back, but I sometimes find myself in the spotlight, shouting about the importance of Jughead on Riverdale, or touting the benefits of LARPing to a crowd of Yoga Moms. I have compiled a list of safe quotes to use when I want to remain engaged for society’s sake, but don’t know how to participate fully.
- I have heard of that, but I don’t really know much about it. What do you enjoy most about it? -This makes it easy to flip the conversation and make the other person do the talking. You can smile, and interject where appropriate (“Oh! that sounds cool!”) but ultimately the ball remains safely in their court.
- I’d love to hear more about <that topic> before I make an informed decision, what do you know about it? – Again, ball is in their court to carry the conversation, but this generic response has a little bit more adaptability to it, so you can use it for current events, and other volatile topics. (plus, bonus: you seem WAY more wise if you want to hear multiple sources and multiple pieces of information before discussing something)
- OH! I always thought that was interesting, but never got around to researching it. I’ve been really into <topic> lately that has taken up a lot of my time.- Careful with this one. If you’re trying to avoid being socially awkward choose a safe hobby that can’t be prodded into. Also don’t lie. If you say “I’ve been more into competetive eating lately,” you can bet your ASS the person you’re talking to knows someone who is a professional eater of multiple things. And now, you’re stuck.
- Ah, yes, <Topic> I’ve heard a few interesting things about that on the internet, such as <fact> what have you heard?- It’s important that you’ve actually heard something about the topic, but this helps you become more engaged in the conversation.
- Just word vomit. It’s ok to be passionate about weird things. It’s ok to obsess over Survivor (LIKE, WTF VARNER?!) or know the rules of Muggle Quidditch. As long as you’re not being malicious (AGAIN F U VARNER), you’re unique, and that’s super cool!
As always, you can word vomit in the comments, or on the Grown Ass Adults facebook page!