How to Converse in a New Relationship

by Katrina Miller

    The goals of conversation in new relationships include deciding whether or not the new relationship is a good match. This process is sometimes referred to as "selection," and it is much like the process of job selection. Conversation in a new relationship is focused on filtering through the many characteristics of your potential friend to find matches with criteria that are important to you. You know that your new friend is interested in building a relationship if more phone calls and activities follow the first encounter. If you find that your new friend is not a good match, it is important to continue seeking new relationships.

    Step 1

    Before you meet with the potential new friend, prepare a brief introduction of yourself. A 30-second introduction can inform your new friend about your strengths and interests without monopolizing the conversation or preventing the new friend from pitching his or her strengths and interests. The brevity of the introduction demonstrates that you are a good listener and conversation partner. It also sends the message that you value the other person's experiences. Share your introduction in an informal, spontaneous manner that does not make it obvious that you are facilitating the relationship selection process.

    Step 2

    Listen attentively. When your new friend speaks, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your finesse at responding in ways that delight your new friend. Comment on the messages your new friend shares, as well as any emotions you may witness. Your attention to the other person will demonstrate that you have the ability to communicate productively, rather than becoming bored or stuck on your own agenda.

    Step 3

    Encourage conversation that is personal and meaningful. Research presented in the April 2010 issue of "Psychological Science" suggests that people want substance in conversation; conversation about meaningful topics is associated with greater well-being, happiness and satisfaction than conversation about trivial topics.

    Step 4

    Share information about yourself. Sharing information about yourself can help you bond with your new relationship and enhance your ability to bond to others, proposes an article in the May 2010 issue of "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships."

    Step 5

    Invite your new friend to engage in a mutually enjoyable activity. The invitation will inform your new friend of your interest in building a relationship, and the response you get to the invitation will inform you if there is a mutual interest.

    About the Author

    Katrina Miller is a medical writer specializing in behavioral health. She has been published in "Family Perspectives" and the "Salt Lake Tribune." She has a doctoral degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State University.

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