David Morin

What to do when the topic dies out in a conversation

Last Updated on

I spent this Saturday at a friend’s place in Manhattan.

When the conversation dies outMy friend’s balcony

When a conversation topic dies out he uses a simple, but genius, question to keep the conversation going:

“How’s X?”

X is something he and the other person have talked about before. It could be work, a project, a trip, or some person they’ve discussed…

  • How’s your new car?
  • How’s work?
  • How’s it going with that guy/girl you met?
  • How was your trip to Chicago?
  • How’s your crazy neighbor?

Even though “How’s X?” is a simple question, it’s clever and should be used more. Here’s why:

It’s great to get a new topic started when the current one dies out, and you’ll be more confident knowing that you can always fire off a “How’s X”-question.

But there’s a deeper, hidden benefit with this question.

Studies show that when someone listens to us or cares about us, we like that person more.

“How’s X” shows that we listen and care. Simply put: When you ask “How’s X”, you become more likable.

Think back to a conversation you had with a friend. What can you ask about the next time you meet and a topic dies out?

The more excited or the more they care about something, the happier they’ll be that you asked about it. Don’t ask about stuff they aren’t interested in. Focus on what they really care about.

Also, check out this guide on how to keep a conversation going for as long as you want.

One friend of mine is applying for a scholarship, so I can ask her “How’s the application going?”

Another friend just built his own gaming computer, so I can ask him “How’s the new PC?”

A third friend just moved back home to France, so I can ask her “How’s Paris treating you?”

A while back I made a related video on how to never run out of things to say using “Conversational threading”. You should check it out here.

For in-depth info about how to make more interesting conversation, check out my mega guide here.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

8 years ago, I committed to build my social confidence and become great at connecting with people.

Hundreds of books and thousands of interactions later, I'm ready to share with the world what I’ve learned.

The interest in my findings has been beyond my dreams. We now have 30 000 members taking our courses. Perhaps you’ve seen my writing in magazines like Business Insider and Lifehacker.

Follow me on Twitter or Read more.

David Morin

8 years ago, I committed to build my social confidence and become great at connecting with people.

Hundreds of books and thousands of interactions later, I'm ready to share with the world what I’ve learned.

The interest in my findings has been beyond my dreams. We now have 30 000 members taking our courses. Perhaps you’ve seen my writing in magazines like Business Insider and Lifehacker.

Follow me on Twitter or Read more.

8 years ago, I committed to build my social confidence and become great at connecting with people.

Hundreds of books and thousands of interactions later, I'm ready to share with the world what I’ve learned.

The interest in my findings has been beyond my dreams. We now have 30 000 members taking our courses. Perhaps you’ve seen my writing in magazines like Business Insider and Lifehacker.

Follow me on Twitter or Read more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous

    good advice, but sometimes you get the answer “fine” or “ok, thanks” and that’s the end of it!!

    • David Morin

      I agree. Have a look at the video about conversational threading I linked to, that might help in those cases.