How many people know about a tool to help initiate conversation. Personally, I have never had a problem talking (or not talking, clamming up) when I feel like it. Just ask my kids. It was always a joke that mom talked so much. I think they just didn't appreciate the fact that on my job, whatever it was at the time, I didn't talk to people. They didn't know much about my childhood either, so they didn't know about my trust issues. So the fact that I was comfortable with my children meant that I would talk (and talk and talk) with them. I encouraged them to talk too.
When my children were quite young, I initiated a ritual of tea time in the late afternoon. Pot of tea and real tea cups and saucers and sugar and tea and honey and cookies or some treat. The reason for the ritual was my way of teaching them social skills like conversation. They learned quickly that I was hoping for a time of visiting and sharing thoughts and feelings or current events or news. Sometimes it was tough to pull words out of them, especially the shy son sandwiched between two sisters.
In November 2006 I wrote this post about conversation aids. So I was thinking about this even back then.
Included in a recent online order, I received a little packet with some cards about the size of playing cards. They are Conversation Cards. The outside of the packet touts "Just pull out a question and the chit-chat begins!"
I honestly was not aware that some people have trouble talking with other people. So I have a plan to produce cards for people dating. Maybe that is why there are so many divorces. They didn't learn how or what to talk about with each other while they were dating! And of course I will make cards for families. Maybe the busy families today will return to the sit down meal and talk together because they will have my cards to spur on the conversation!! And I won't leave out the seniors, especially since I am in that category now. I will make cards that prompt reminiscences of the good (or bad, sorry) old days. This will give us seniors something to talk about when we are whiling away our final days in rockers on the front porch watching life go by!!!