a recent rumination on the subject of flirting led me to conclude that the practice is very much like a game of chess. i’ve never played chess, but the analogy to be made is that conversational flirting has a very strategic element.
the more i thought about it, the more i realized this to be true of even just regular talking. conversations are probably less like chess and more like catch. you say something (throw), the other person responds (catch).
we all know, for example, that if you respond with “k” to a person telling you about something, that the conversation with end there. because it’s dismissive. you caught their statement, and didn’t toss back any commentary for them to work off of. game over. just like we also know that if you want to keep talking, a helpful tactic is to ask a question, and you can at least guarantee some back and forth for a while longer.
I like to think of conversations like this, as a game. writing dialogue is, after all, something i feel really good at, so it’s important to understand the little nuances of how people communicate. one of my pet peeves is actually watching tv or a movie and having to listen to conversations that flow terribly because the dialogue doesn’t build on what the people are saying. i prefer to liken each response to that person’s “turn” in the game of conversing, and the topic at hand is like a “round”. you have different effects at your disposal. tone, a big factor. interest, for another. humour is always great to employ.
I personally like being contrary as a way to test people. I find that playfully disagreeing is interesting in terms of being lighthearted but also learning about the other person. one of you will have to explain yourselves in defense, and it’s interesting to see what people get passionate about. i suppose that’s why i do it - i like to see what people care about. so i poke holes in their opinions.
being “good” at conversations is not an easy skill for me, especially considering i mostly suck at small talk. i like being able to skip such things, and with close friends, it’s really easy to jump from “how was your day?” to a long rant about how their sister is driving them crazy. I like face to face conversations and I like phone calls more than texting, but they’re all good ways to communicate.
in the end it’s not really about being chatty, but about being able to direct a conversation based on the other person. as a skillset, it feeds into flirting and empathy and charisma, so i guess mastering the art of talking should be a goal for everyone.