4 comments on “Conversational Spontaneity

  1. [Context: Peter and I are both members of a reading group that meets approximately monthly.]

    I’m looking forward to hearing more from you at reading group meetings, even if it starts out at a small scale.

    > Something still seems missing from my social interactions: I still
    > tend to feel passive and become just a spectator. That seems like a
    > promising candidate for an area where I ought to alter some
    > subconscious beliefs. But I find it harder to focus on a comfortable
    > vision for an alternative identity: aiming to be a leader in a group
    > conversation feels uncomfortable in a way that aiming to be
    > spontaneous/creative never felt.

    It seems like there’s a lot lower and less daunting targets to aim for than being a leader in the conversation. It seems like there are often evenings where you don’t contribute even a couple of sentences to the reading group discussion. If you aimed to join a topic at least three times in an evening, that might constitute a concrete enough goal that you could measure and assess it from meeting to meeting. Another possibility is to find a few passages in the book that you want to draw our attention to, and to find a time to actually do so. Either by asking a question about the interpretation or offering your own viewpoint.

    I offer these in the spirit of looking for alternative goals that seem more like partial, measurable steps, rather than end states.

  2. Pingback: Two conversationalist tips for introverts | Kaj Sotala

  3. I was more spontaneous in writing that “be a leader” sentence than I normally am when blogging, and I see it’s easy to misinterpret.

    It’s not just that I’m concerned about the difficulty (becoming more spontaneous often felt impossible). I want to move away from being passive, but I don’t have a clear vision of what I want to move toward. When I imagine successfully leading a conversation, I don’t imagine that bringing me much satisfaction. It’s possible that my introspection is faulty, but I don’t see an easy way to test that.

    I often prepare to bring a passage or two to the reading groups attention. Part of the reason I don’t get around to mentioning the passage is excessive concern over finding the right time, but it feels like at least half my reason is that the passage feels less important when I’m listening to a conversation than it did while I was reading it.

    Leading conversations in the reading group would be hard for me, in part because there are people who fairly consistently have ideas they want to discuss. There are other places such as Less Wrong meetups and smaller casual conversations which have much higher variance in whether anyone has something they want to say. It would be easier for me to start there and fill a more clear-cut leadership vacuum.

    Possibly “more passionate” is a better description of the direction I want to move in. That seems harder. I’m guessing it would require finding better projects to work on (and then talk about).

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