February 23, 2010

Conversation Cards

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!!!


Shanel said...

Thats a GREAT idea and useful for dating, parties, and meetings, and anything where an icebreaker is needed... I would buy them:)

Ina in Alaska said...

HA! Seniors "whiling away their days on rockers".... you should see the senior ladies with whom I play doubles tennis on Fridays (I am a sub player, I substitute for a snowbird senior in her 80s who winters in Hawaii).... they are the most alert people I have seen. I have also subbed in a Thursday morning doubles tennis group of "old" folks who can beat my behind at tennis by placing the ball where I can't reach it. They are super duper examples of aging well, and I love to play with them. I think I have an old soul anyway.

Anyway, dear friend, I have gone on "talking" too much... someone once said this about me (and it is true)... Ina could get a conversation started with a blank wall.... Many hugs to you today !!!

Marla said...

Ok, that is a neat idea.

Kristina P. said...

Sometimes, talking to people can feel like pulling teeth! Some people are so freaking boring!

Ronda Laveen said...

Such a great idea, TB. Loved the vision you having tea and cookies with your children.

Syd said...

I had to smile at this. Most seniors seem to have little trouble talking about the good ole days.

Kathy M. said...

I love the idea of tea time. I can just picture your son sandwiched, so to speak, between his sisters.

When I was in high school, I wished I could go to etiquette school. I had a sense that manners were important.

But behind that was the recognition that I was socially awkward. My mother seldom had company. We seldom visited other people. So I never really got a sense of how relationships were supposed to work.

It was my mother-in-law who finally taught me some social skills. I can't tell you how grateful I was to her for that.

My husband is a very social person, and we lead a very rich social life. That was a big adjustment for me. I'm just now really beginning to feel comfortable in social situations.

I had never heard of conversation cards, but I do remember a little book of questions that was popular for a while. People used to pull it out for dinner party games. I love the idea of cards for people of a certain age (and I include myself) that would spark reminiscences of the old days, good or bad.

Maybe you could develop different decks for people of different generations. I imagine them something like the questions you find in books about writing about your life.

I've always wanted to start a writers group in which we would all write on such questions and share.

Thanks for this post. As usual, you really got me thinking.

cinner said...

You know I think that is a great idea, I, like you have always been a talker but for some it would be great icebreakers. Great post. You go with this idea. I think your on to something.

Ms Hen said...

Very cool idea.

I read the other post too. I like that the little children go first to not just mimmick the others that are older.

You have grandchildren???.. you sound so sound young.. so Youth is in the MIND..!!!! You are blessed.. :)

And did you buy the cards for your children?? for this past Christmas..?? and how did it go??

Ms Hen said...

P.S. my 14 year old son never stops talking.. but I remember going for walks with him.. and that made him open up back in the day..

We would go for a walk in the evening to get a bag of chips or whatever.. something about walking and talking went well together.

My oldest son still does not talk so much..well, except to complain.. lol..

My daughter is very talkative at almost 24 and always was as a little one too.

just jill said...

So funny, just before I came to read your post, I put up water for tea! Being married to an Englishman, we do that quite often especially during the winter.

Excellent idea! I hate it when hubby and I go out to a restaurant and we find ourselves watching others in conversation while we sit there and say nothing!

DJan said...

After I began reading this post, I ran out and put on the kettle for tea. It's almost ready. I've never had any problem talking or finding conversations, but I like the idea of the cards for different groups. If you do it, I'll be happy to be a test subject!

Margie said...

Oh my gosh!
I was here a few mins ago and had a comment to post and then my dang laptop went wacko!
So, here I am again.
Now what did I say?
Have to make it shorter as I'm meeting a friend soon (and for tea, isn't that lovely!)
Anyway, I think it was awesome that you had that wonderful experience of tea time with your children when they were young.
Loved knowing that about you.
You are an awesome lady and each time I come here I enjoy my visits more and more as you share more and more about yourself!

And what a great idea on the conversation cards.
I have never had any problems with conversation but so many do.
I wish you much luck and tons of success!

Hope you are having a most wonderful day!
Take good care, my friend!

Margie :)

Jeanie said...

It sounds like if most of those leaving comments got in the same room there would be a cacophony of conversation with no need of a tool to help keep the words flowing. For those for whom it is a little harder, your cards could be a great tool.

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

I think that is a FABULOUS idea! Can't wait to see your finished product!

I love that you incorporated a "tea time" with your children to get them to be social talkers. I think that's incredibly important, especially these days when texting and emailing seem to be replacing real, thoughtful, face-to-face conversations! Good for you!

Shadowthorne said...

.... people divorce because of their lack of communication? Maybe.

But in my case, the lack of love and understanding in the first.

I applaud your project anyway :)

♥ Braja said...

Everyone needs prompting at times, don't they? :)

Brian Miller said...

great post techno...people do need to talk more...i see too many kids atteached to the video games with parents on the couch sucked into tv...have seen these cards before...use something similar with some of the fams i work with...

terri said...

Great idea! Yes, some people have trouble talking. I can't shut up when I'm doing my talking in writing, but actual conversation is often difficult for me. In social situations, I always feel self-conscious. My family doesn't communicate with each other either. My daughter and I talk easily, but the husband and boys... not so much. I actually worry about when the kids move out. What will we talk about?

Jason, as himself said...

Sometimes I just feel too lazy or tired to even have a conversation. Maybe these would help me in those situations.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You're full of great ideas!

I gave you an award on my blog.


Anonymous said...

That is a fab idea... Let me know when they are complete and I will hand them out to all the people who normally have to sit and listen to me drone on!! ;0)

Shadow said...

i find talking to strangers very difficult. even about superficial stuff. because i don't like superficial conversations. so your cards sound like a great idea. they should become compulsory on all dinner tables. i love what you did with your kids though, the tea and chatting.

Jeni said...

Put me in a place where I am around people, lots of people, as long as it is a work type setting, and I can converse like crazy. But on a one-on-one basis, particularly with the opposite sex, if I can think of anything to say, inevitably it is the wrong thing or I ramble (gee, I write like that too, don't I?). And the older I get, the worse that situation seems to become too. Any suggestions? Of course, I don't really need to worry about talking to the opposite sex in a one-on-one situation since I rarely go any place where that might happen.

JStar said...

Good idea! I dont have that problem either...My kids joke all the time about how much I talk as well lol

secret agent woman said...

I don't think a an inability to talk has anything to do with the divorce rate. My ex and I never lack ed for conversation and still do not.