+
upworthy
Mental Health

Stop struggling with small talk by using the simple 'FORD method'

This'll make your next party a lot easier.

small talk, conversation tips, psychology

Using the FORD method to make small talk.

There are many reasons why people are nervous about entering social situations where they have to make small talk, such as a work event, a party where they don’t know many people, or at school.

Some people don’t enjoy small talk because they get frustrated talking about seemingly unimportant topics. At the same time, others are shy and afraid they’ll say the wrong thing or run out of topics of conversation.

Psychologists suggest those who are uncomfortable knowing what to say should use the FORD method. It’s an acronym that’s an easy way to remember four different topics of conversation that work with just about anyone.


According to Nicole Arzt, M.S., L.M.F.T at Social Self, FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.

Family

Just about everyone has a family, so it’s a great way to ask someone to share some information about their personal lives without being too forward. Arzt suggests the following questions when making small talk:

Do you have any siblings?

How did you two meet? (if you are meeting a couple for the first time)

How old is your child?

How is your____ (sister, brother, mother, etc.) doing since ____ (event that happened?)

Occupation

Just like a family, almost everyone has a job. Or, if they do not, that can be an interesting topic as well. Here are some starter questions you can ask someone about their job.

What do you do for a living?

How do you like working at _____?

What’s your favorite part of your job?

What made you interested in becoming a _____?

Recreation

You can learn a lot about a person after knowing how they spend their free time. It’s also an excellent way to determine if someone is like-minded and shares the same interests. Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:

What do you like to do for fun?

Have you watched (or read) ______(popular show/book)?

What are you up to this weekend?

Dreams

Learning someone’s hope for the future can tell you much about who they are on a deeper level. They may have just told you about their current job or how they spend their time. But, ultimately, what do they wish to do with their lives? Here’s how to ask someone about their dreams.

Where do you hope to be working in the next few years?

Where would you like to travel?

What’s something you’d like to try in the future?

Would you ever consider trying _____ (particular hobby or activity)?

Arzt also notes that you shouldn’t just be an interviewer. You have to talk about yourself, too. In other words, you need a mutual take-and-give. “Pay attention to someone else's answers and think about how you can draw from your own experience to connect," she wrote.

Not sure how much to say during a conversation? Follow the 43:57 rule. A numbers guy at Gong.io analyzed over 25,000 sales calls with AI and found the perfect speaking-to-listening ratio. Sales soared when the salesperson talked 43% of the time and listened for 57%.

Even though this insight is from business calls, it applies to everyday social interactions. It's really about listening and making the other person feel special. After all, who doesn't love feeling heard and appreciated?


This article originally appeared on 10.20.23

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

In addition to tips for tidying up around the house, members share advice on how to tackle one thing at a time, where to donate excess items, and what they do to exercise more willpower to avoid buying new things.

For anyone hoping to declutter their lives in the new year, this Facebook group has the perfect challenge to get you started.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.

I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Neuroscience learns what Buddhism has known for ages: There is no constant self

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it.

Ven. Thich Thong Hai prays by a statue of Buddha in the garden at the Ventura Buddhist Center.

Proving that science and religion can, in fact, overlap, University of British Columbia researcher Evan Thompson has confirmed the Buddhist teaching of the not-self, or "anatta," is more than just a theory.

"Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness," he tells Quartz. "And from a neuroscience perspective, the brain and body is constantly in flux. There's nothing that corresponds to the sense that there's an unchanging self."

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.

Keep ReadingShow less

Phil Collins and George Harrison

Beatle George Harrison was pigeon-holed as the "Quiet Beatle," but the youngest member of the Fab Four had an acerbic, dry sense of humor that was as sharp as the rest of his bandmates.

He gave great performances in the musical comedy classics, "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!" while holding his own during The Beatles' notoriously anarchic press conferences. After he left the band in 1970, in addition to his musical career, he would produce the 1979 Monty Python classic, "The Life of Brian."

Keep ReadingShow less

"Veteran" mom and "new" mom parent differently.

When a couple has their first child, they start out with the greatest of intentions and expectations. The child will only eat organic food. They will never watch TV or have screen time and will always stay clean.

But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.

"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

Keep ReadingShow less

A young mom with her kids in the ER.

Sage Pasch’s unique family situation has attracted a lot of attention recently. The 20-something mother of 2 shared a 6-second TikTok video on September 29 that has been viewed over 33 million times because it shows how hard it can be for young moms to be taken seriously.

In the video, the young-looking Pasch took her son Nick to the ER after he injured his leg at school. But when the family got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t believe Pasch was his mother. “POV, we’re at the ER, and the doctor didn’t believe I was the parent,” she captioned the post.

Keep ReadingShow less