Are there any /lit/ recommended books about how to converse casually with people better? Ever since I started college I've realized that my conversation skills have really gone down the shitter for some reason. In High School I could talk to anyone without being awkward but now I struggle trying to find words to say.
I've already read How to Win Friends and Influence People (an archaic, unhelpful book which people should stop recommending) and How to Talk to Anyone.
This may sound like really weird and unhelpful advice but reading about Buddhism has been one of the things in my life that has helped my conversational abilities the most. Even if you don't buy into the religious/belief aspects of it Buddhist teachings can help you get to the point where feelings of anxiety, embarrassment, anger and other emotions that can come up in conversation don't negatively effect you and impair your ability to effectively communicate what you want to.
Also its teachings about the false-sense of self and ego can help in conversations as well. Again, even if you don't buy into the teaching of no-self/no-soul, being aware of it and pondering it enough can help you avoid saying things for the wrong reasons. If I think back to all the cringey things I have said in my life I find that the vast majority of them were said because I wanted to impress people or to have people think I was funny, I was essentially doing it for self-validation and to make myself feel good. Once you internalize the idea that ever doing or saying anything for those reasons are counter-productive and almost psychologically unhealthy it can help you avoid ever saying anything cringey or stupid.
>I live in a college dorm friend
Talk to people then breh. What's the problem? Talking with normies is the easiest thing in the world. Do you watch TV? Movies? What do you think about Star Wars? What about music? That shit can take you places for hours.
You're in school so you have all the 'what do you want to be when you grow up shit', what's your major, what about professor x, etc. etc.
Just try listening and ask questions.
Thanks for the advice. I talk to people all the time, I'm pretty outgoing and I can start conversations easily. But I can't keep conversations going for more than a minute or two because I can't think of anything to say.
reposting because I fucked up the greentext and that kills me
I would recommend "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula, which was my first book on Buddhism that I read. Its probably one of the best intro books to Buddhism in English, it was written by a monk that grew up in Sri Lanka but eventually learned English and taught at a US university so its written by someone who knows their stuff and has the credentials but its not a translation so there is no meaning lost.
Here is a link to a PDF of it, you want the revised edition if you read it which the version in this link is. Its only a little more then 100 pages and not many words on a page so it can be read in a day.
In the book he does not explicitly talk about the implications of Buddhas teachings as a whole for speech and that is something that you sort of just figure out on your own once you feel like you have a relatively solid understanding of Buddhism although one of the main precepts of Buddhism is following the 8-fold path of which 1 portion is "right speech". In the book he gives a paragraph for each section of the path and what some practical applications in everyday life might look like for each and here is what he wrote for right speech.
"Right speech means abstention (1) from telling lies, (2) from backbiting and slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity and disharmony among individuals or groups of people, (3) from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious and abusive language, and (4) from idle, useless and foolish babble and gossip. When one abstains from these forms of wrong and harmful speech one naturally has to speak the truth, has to use words that are friendly and benevolent, pleasant and gentle, meaningful and useful. One should not speak carelessly: speech should be at the right time and place. If one cannot say something useful, one should keep 'noble silence'."
Just try to ask questions when they say something that's remotely interesting. Or force a conversation with a topical question. Let them talk. Sometimes people just don't want to talk or are horribly boring, or they don't like you so it's not your fault necessarily.
But the main trick is to feign interest in whatever they want to talk about. And then when you're not faking it with someone, it will feel great.
Reading a book won't make you interesting, OP. People don't like talking about you, they like talking about their interests. You have to realize though, other people's interests may be completely uninteresting to you, and the other way round. I like talking about literature, so I talk to people in the English department and thus can have interesting discussions.
I found a few interesting eBooks for free in the kindle book store on how to read and analyze people, how they talk to how they dress to their body language. Not a good topic of conversation but it can certainly help build your confidence. But they're just an interesting read.
It is though. There's a reason that until the end of the Victorian era concerts where glorified schmooze parties for the rich. We have letters and diary entries of people complaining about the country bumpkins sitting quietly and listening to the music.
You could ask them about things they like. "Do you like music?", that sort of thing. If you find something in common that's already a big step to having a great conversation, it's easier with music, movies, cartoons, animes, books and that sort of thing. You can talk about your favourite characters (and theirs too), the bad scenes, the best album, the best song, that one line that was epic, stuff like that. It's pretty easy, I think. It will be harder with people who don't got much in common with you, though. And sometimes people reply briefly, so you gotta know when someone is in for a nice chat or not. Sorry, I ended up giving silly advices when you were looking for books, but I hope this helps. Feel free to ask something if you want, I'll do my best to help you.
So? I could just as easy post an equally popular damned pre-romantic string quartet that's also jarring. Damned modernist morons thinking art somehow progresses in quality.
I could do the same with music from the 12th and 13th century.