September 30, 2015

Maintaining a Conversation: You’re doing great!

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Alright, so hopefully you’ve been successful at starting your conversation with the other person. let’s do a little more “self work”. Have they taken your head off? Scared you away with a death stare? Have they said they are not interested? If you answered “no” to any of these, you are likely being successful. Now to keep it going; this can be the toughest part because you’ve exhausted your initial conversation starters and are scrambling to find something else to keep the momentum going. You’re having a great time! And, seeing as they are eagerly responding to you, they are likely having a great time as well. You are both trying to figure out what to do next. Don’t worry! Here are some ideas.
Ask Questions: You started your conversation with a question. Ask more! Remember this is not an interrogation but a chance to get to know someone better, maybe even ask them out. give them time to respond and thoughtfully answer their questions. Remember! A critical part of asking questions is LISTENING. No one likes to repeat themselves or think that you don’t care by asking the same question or one that is not related to your topic of conversation.

Do not tell too much: Speaking about yourself only is rude and its domineering. Sure you may be nervous and talk to cover it up. However, taking all the conversation tells people that you don’t care about them or what they have to say. Who wants to be with someone like that? Don’t risk it!

Keep it simple: Do not get bogged down in details or try to recall large amounts of information. Doing so will make you more nervous and it will show.

Go with the flow: Conversations are natural and take on a life of their own. If you are truly listening, you will be able to keep the conversation going.

Evolve your questions: You started a conversation with a light question about an observation “Excuse me, are you reading X?”. gradually make them more intimate and personal as you get to know the other person through your conversation. “What other types of books do you like?” maybe followed by something like “What about this book is special to you?”.

Put conversation topics together: if you find that your current conversation topic, let’s say music, is coming to an end (see if you are struggling to find more things to talk about and you both are having difficulty keeping it going) shift gears and use your savvy to connect your topic to something else. For example, “You mentioned you really liked classical music. Did you see Master and Commander? It has an excellent soundtrack with some great classical pieces.” That opens the field up to any number of topics.

Eye contact: Yuck! Eye contact is probably the biggest pain of all pains. Unfortunately, our eyes are what we use to show we are involved, listening, and alert. Working on eye contact is important for those reasons, especially showing our care and interest in the other person. again, don’t stare! You’ll look creepy. It is ok to blink and occasionally look away. However, if you stare off into space, you’ve lost the person and the conversation.

Ending a Conversation and Getting a Phone Number and a Date: You’re almost there!

So you’re conversation has been going really well and you both enjoy talking to each other. But it can’t last forever and you have to go. Darn! What next? Seriously, especially since you’d love to talk with them again. Ending a conversation can often times be as hard or harder than starting one. No one wants to feel like they are being rude by cutting someone off or sending a signal, such as physically distancing themselves in preparation to leave, or glancing at the clock, to signal dis-interest or the desire to cut and run. Try to end your conversation on a positive note.

Indicate that you have to end the conversation for whatever reason (again fewer details are better) and be sure to leave it open for further opportunities.

Speak positively about your experience: “I really enjoyed talking with you and getting to know you.” Or something like that.

Indicate you are interested in meeting with them again: “I would like to speak with you again” or “I hope we can meet again and talk.”

Use ending your conversation as a bridge to getting their phone number: This can be really nerve wracking but gets much easier with time. Follow up with a compliment or statement of enjoyment by asking for their number. You might say “May I have your number so we can set up another time to talk?”

Another more natural way to reach this result (and get a date) is to add in, as you are wrapping up, something like “Do you have any plans this weekend?” See what they say, you are looking for signs of interest, before you actually ask them out. If they indicate not having any plans, it is often a sign that they are interested. Follow up with something like “There is a classical music concert this weekend at the local theater, would like to go.” Again, wait for their response if they indicate interest you can follow-up with “You want to exchange numbers?” Tie the invitation back to your topic of conversation or shared interest. You did it!

Remember! Everything about starting, maintaining, ending a conversation, and getting to lead to something more, can be really scary and frustrating. It will be tough in the beginning so don’t get discouraged if on the first try you get a weird look or told no. You hurt yourself by giving up. Your best friend in making this process work for you is PRACTICE! Practice having conversations with friends, family, and even strangers. Practice asking people for their telephone numbers. practice asking them out. Practice reading other people’s body language. PRACTICE YOUR EYE CONTACT! Practice being comfortable with the idea that you can succeed and build a relationship! Practice telling yourself that you CAN do this!


Edmonds, G., & Worton, D. (2005). The Asperger love guide: A practical guide for adults with Asperger’s syndrome to seeking, establishing and maintaining successful relationships. London: Sage Publications.

Plank, A. (Director). (2012). How to Flirt and Get a Date [Motion picture]. United States of America:

Thomas, A. (2014, April 2). Relationship and romance tips for people with disabilities. Retrieved September 19, 2015.

Tyrrell, M. (2015). Be a great conversation starter: Talk to strangers with ease. Retrieved September 19, 2015.

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