Ask Jono: How to Have a Followup Conversation
Hey there! I'm of the male species, and before I get to the point, one cool little tribute of info: the condition "Polycephaly" is when an animal (from what I've seen snakes and turtles) has two heads. For example, here is a picture of a two headed turtle.
(The turtle didn't make it all the way to my inbox, possibly because it didn't know what to do with all of its heads, but I will take your word for it.)
Right, so now I shall get to the matter at hand. I'm a sophomore in high school, and for a little back story, I've always been good at making friends, but every time I've always had some sort of link to them, like another friend, or some sort of after school activity. Well, now there's a girl that lets call Siri (sorry Apple). Siri has been here for a while but I never really noticed her until one night we ran into each other and started talking to each other. We didn't necessarily get into anything specific to each other, we just ended up joking and dancing the entire time since said event was a party. So then after that, we said goodbye and went home, but after that party, I really want to get to know her better.
This is where I'm stuck. Now don't get me wrong, I am interested in Siri a little bit, but until I know we have some common interests and get to know her a little bit better, I don't want to dive into anything, as I tried doing this a couple times before and it ended up akin to how jumping into a tank with a very angry and surprised shark would end up. The problem is, I have no idea how to approach her. I work up the courage to go talk to Siri but then when, for example, I see her in the hallway, my brain goes "Error 404: Plan not found" and I just sit there trying to find a way to start up a conversation.
Anyway, thanks for your time.
A very stumped two headed turtle :P
I've been there, VSTHT. In a way, it's almost harder to approach someone you kinda know than someone you don't know at all—you can't lead off with the usual introductory questions like "Hi, what's your name," and "Do you come here often?" because the answers to those questions are "We just met the other night" and "Yes, this is high school, we both come here often," and also possibly "What is wrong with you." Chances are, all that comes to mind is "Hey," to which she replies "Hey," and then nobody says anything, and finally you're like "Well this was great, see you later." The second conversation with someone might be the hardest, because you can't just go by a script, and you're supposed to remember some things from the first time you met her, but not so much you'll sound obsessed. On the other hand, you already joked around and danced with her, so you're at least somewhat comfortable with each other and she'll be more forgiving of any stupid things that come out of your mouth.
That said, here's some advice on how to ease into a second conversation with this girl.
Ask her something.
Good: Asking her a question that can segue into a conversation without sounding it seeming forced, like "Hey Siri, so how late were you at that party the other night?" Be sure to speak clearly into her microphone or she'll end up updating your Facebook status or something.
Bad: Asking her something abrupt and out-of-the-blue, like "Hello Siri what is your favorite music." This comes across as really awkward and unnatural, and you may as well follow it with "My favorite music is Earth Human Music. I listen to it all the time with my ear holes."
Questions are good because they get the other person talking immediately, which gives you time to think of something to say (which means your question shouldn't have an immediate yes-or-no answer). I can't tell you exactly what to say, because it depends on how you know her (and it doesn't have to relate to the party, especially if a lot of time has passed). Most of the time, you're going to be asking some variation on "How are you," but one that prompts a non-monosyllabic response. Once you've been talking a bit longer, your questions can get more esoteric (though I'd steer away from the "favorite quote" question because most people aren't walking around with an answer locked and loaded for that one).
Remember something (but not everything).
Good: After talking for a bit: "Hey, didn't you say you like Broken Bells?"
Bad: "At the party you said you like Broken Bells and that you saw them in Chicago and then you brushed your hair away from your face and I wanted to kiss the mouth part of your face."
People are always touched to find that you remember something about them, if that thing comes up naturally in conversation and it doesn't seem like a weirdly specific thing for you to recall. You should use this as a way to talk about a new subject, rather than just rattling off random unconnected factoids like you're super proud that you don't have amnesia.
Share your own interests (in an open-ended way).
Good: "Do you like The Heavy? I saw them in Philly." (Segue into your similar music tastes.)
Bad: "I like The Heavy." (SILENCE ENSUES FOREVER)
This doesn't have to happen in the second conversation, but at some point you should try to find out your common interests and then suggest either doing something that involves those interests or simply hanging out to talk some more. This will make you an OFFICIAL DATING COUPLE WHO GOES OUT DATING ON DATES.
Just kidding. It does not do that. A lot of LWs have questions like "I like this guy, and he likes me, but how do I get to know him more so I can decide if we should go on a date?" and the answer is you go on the date. Adult dating often involves going on a first date after sharing nothing but a five-minute conversation, because learning all the things you have in common is the whole point of the first date, not something you have to do prior to it. Having coffee with this girl probably won't be like jumping into a shark tank, unless you know some really polite and inquisitive sharks. But if you'd rather talk at school instead of taking the LITERAL DATE plunge, that's fine too; just focus on the fact that you've already done the part that terrifies most dudes ("Oh my God I can't dance with girls what if I paralyze them with my stupid limbs") and all you have left here is the easy part.