When I am having a conversation with someone I try to follow their face. It’s very hard because human faces move very fast and the individual facial expression blend into one another. Alice says that facial expressions are very important in conveying messages, as are tones of voice. She says that words alone are not enough to convey messages. When she said this, I was confused.

For example, she had said, someone might say something sarcastically. That means that they don’t really mean what they say. I didn’t understand why someone would say something they didn’t mean. I told Alice I didn’t know what someone’s face would look like if they were speaking sarcastically. Alice told me that it was a tone of voice that let you know if someone was being sarcastic. This confused me a little.

I told Alice that sometimes when I am speaking to someone their face looks odd. Contorted like, and then I demonstrated for her because I could remember the face they made very clearly. Alice smiled, but it was a different smile to her usual smile, and said that some people might feel uncomfortable around me. She said that it could make people feel uncomfortable when I don’t respond or add to the conversation. It could also make people uncomfortable when I added too much to the conversation and didn’t allow them to give any input. I nodded because I understood that. Communication required at least two beings and a balanced amount of input from each.

I told Alice that once we went to a party at my aunt’s house. My aunt is very large but short and jubilant. She has large breasts like my mum and the same blonde hair that my mum has. It was a Christmas party and my aunt was dressed in a festive costume. Someone had dressed up her entire house in a festive costume. I talked to my cousin. Her name is Francesca. She looks like my aunt and uncle. I talked to her about biostratigraphy for a very long time. When I was telling Alice, she picked up a piece of card and asked me if Francesca looked like this:


I nodded. Francesca had looked like that. Alice pointed out that Francesca might not have known very much about biostratigraphy. She said that not many people knew very much about it. I asked Alice something that I had heard someone say before, on the television. I asked her, “What makes good conversation?” Alice chuckled and I guess that she was happy. She said it was always good to introduce oneself. People tended to feel uncomfortable around strangers. I nodded; I don’t like strangers.

She handed me a “guide” to conversations, neatly printed onto a piece of paper.

Simple questions can be good to make someone feel less anxious. Example: The weather is nice, isn’t it?/The weather isn’t very nice, is it?

Ask personal questions (though if you do not know the person well, this may make them uneasy.) Example: What’s your favourite colour?

Open-ended questions are questions that require an answer that is more than “yes” or “no”. Example: What’s your house like?

Be funny. Laughing always helps conversation. Tell a joke. Example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Tank. Tank who? You’re welcome!

Choose a topic of conversation that is easy for everyone involved to contribute to. Example: At a summer party, talk about plans for the summer (holidays, outings, what the weather will be like.)

I folded the piece of paper and put it in my pocket. When I was talking to someone, I sometimes took it and consulted the piece of paper. When I told Alice that I was doing this she said that it could make people feel a little more -


I told her about a girl who lived on the same road as I did. She was talking to me about her school. When she told me about her homework, her face was changing so quickly that I couldn’t understand what message she was trying to convey. I told her that I didn’t understand. Instead of explaining to me what she meant, she pulled a face and asked, “What isn’t there to understand?” Then she walked away. I didn’t like being walked away from. It made me feel... awkward.

Alice asked me what face the girl had made and I imitated it. Alice showed me a picture that was similar.


Even though Alice explained I didn’t know what it meant. When I got home I told Catherine and my mum and Catherine said that the girl was being rude.
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To get into the feel of things...