How can I manage awkward topics?

What do you think good conversation topics are?

Be careful with topics when talking with people you don’t know well. Topics like food, travel, interests, and weather, are usually fine. But sometimes longer conversations move to other topics. Be careful these topics don’t become awkward. These topics can make the other speaker uncomfortable. They can even make the other speaker upset.

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So, what are awkward topics? When speaking English with people we don’t know well, topics like religion, politics, relationships, and money, can be awkward. Sometimes, in different cultures, other topics can also be awkward. If you can, check suitable topics for that culture before the conversation.  

But maybe the other speaker starts an awkward topic. Maybe you feel uncomfortable. Then try saying ‘Sorry, can we talk about something else?’ or ‘Sorry, I’d rather not talk about that,’ or ‘Sorry, that’s private.’ After you know the other speaker well, maybe then you can agree to talk about more personal topics.

Extra tip:  Maybe you don’t know if your topic is awkward. Then look carefully at the listener when you’re talking. Look at their face. Look at their body language. Then you can check if they are uncomfortable. Then you can change the topic.

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