No one is exempt from awkward social situations.
They happen to us all and have the unique ability to reduce us to cowed, embarrassed shadows of ourselves who scuttle off making excuses about needing to take a phonecall .
Thankfully, there is a way – apart from the classic non-existent phone call – to avoid them altogether.
It’s called the Three Question Rule and it’s been hailed as a “lifesaver”, socially-speaking.
How the Three Question Rule works.
It works in the basis that it’s really not that hard to ask someone you meet a question about themselves.
Not only this, but on doing so, you’re showing you’re interested in them and willing to engage in conversation.
First reported by Tali Aualiitia for news.com.au , the Three Question Rule wisdom was passed down to Aualiitia from a friend of a friend.
Whether it’s a date, a party or a work do, when you meet someone for the first time, you ask them three questions.
If, in the time it’s taken you to ask these question they’ve not asked you a single one…well, let’s say it may be time to fabricate that phonecall.
This is because that person has displayed a lack of manners and is also a bit of a drain on your time and emotional energy.
Aualiitia points out the responsibility for maintaining a conversation shouldn’t just fall on your shoulders.
Here’s an example of two scenarios to help you.
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob.
Karen: Hi Bob, I’m Karen, I’m Karen, how are you?
Bob: Fine, thanks.
Karen: Great, so how do you know the couple?
Bob: I went to school with the groom.
Karen: How nice…It was a beautiful service, wasn’t it?
Bob: Yes I suppose so.
As you can see, Bob is a walking, talking conversational cul-de-sac, not having asked Karen a single question. We hope she hit the bar shortly after making her excuses.
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob.
Karen: Hi Bob, I’m Karen, how are you?
Bob: Great, all the better for watching one of my oldest friends get married. How are you doing?
Karen: Pretty emotional, I’m a big sucker for a wedding. You didn’t shed a tear did you?
Bob: No I managed to just about hold them back! So how do you know the couple?
Karen: I’m the bride’s cousin. You must have some dirt on the groom if you’ve known him so long?
As you can see, this Bob is a lot easier to have basic small talk with, having answered Karen’s questions and responded with his own.
So remember, make sure you ask questions and if the person you’re talking to can’t be bothered, then fake that phonecall.