Most of us can’t live without a good conversation here and there, one with plenty of back and forth and honest sharing from all involved, a chat that makes you feel like you’re talking to the right people.
After having great conversations you become accutely aware of how awkward and difficult other conversations can be, especially when the discussion turns to touchier subjects- like a relative’s fight with cancer.
So Lifehacker’s Emily Price came up with planned conversations to help her and her dad deal with all those people who would ask her about her mom’s cancer but didn’t really care to hear the truth:
Planned conversations certainly aren’t full-proof, but as someone who hates small talk, they can be a lifesaver in situations, like family reunions, where there are a handful of topics you don’t want to talk about.
My advice to my dad was just to respond to questions he didn’t want to answer with a very short nondescript answer, and then immediately change the subject to something slightly related he did want to talk about.
The original question asker likely won’t notice the transition, and if they do, going back to the original question will be awkward after the topic shift, so they’re not likely to do it.
The key to success with this is to have a prepared answer that to some extent answers the question, as well as a planned conversation pivot.