Picture it: You’re sitting at a family function, the lunch table at work, or an evening out with the girls. You’re the only childless woman at the table, and the conversation centers around kids: poopy diapers, soccer practice, potty training, trips to grandma’s house.
And these conversations last a long time. And you really don’t have anything to contribute (what do I know about potty training? Exactly nothing!). So before long someone asks the Captain Obvious question:
“Why are you so quiet?”
Instead of seething in silence, what can you do to change the topic? What can you discuss where you can actually add to the conversation? I have a list of conversation changers for you so that the parents don’t monopolize the whole conversation and you feel resentful.
I want to frame this list by saying please let people talk about their kids. Obviously kids are the most important thing in peoples’ lives, and they have the right to talk about what makes them happy. But when you are starting to feel completely excluded, you need to find a lull in when you can:
- The weather. Yes, this is the most unoriginal topic imaginable. But it is definitely something every person can relate to!
- Politics. Use with caution, especially if you know your opinion is in the minority. Or throw Donald Trump’s name into the convo and watch sparks fly
- Current events. This is where it pays to stay on top of what’s happening in the world. From local tax hikes to national news, chances are there’s a touchstone in there for the group!
- Sports.This one is a little trickier. I live in a state where we live and die by college football, and I am not a sports fan. At all. But I know just enough to chat about the previous weekend’s games or be conversant in the NCAA tournament.
- Food. Especially helpful around the lunch table. From asking what someone’s eating to swapping recipes, food bonds us together like few things do.
- Clothes. Complimenting what someone is wearing and/or asking where they got it is an excellent way to completely change topics.
- TV or movies. Now that I am in full post-Downton Abbey withdrawal, we’ve had some lively discussions at lunch about how to fill the void. I rarely see movies in theatres, so I like it when my co-workers review them for me.
- Celebrity gossip. Whether Miley Cyrus did something she’ll be embarrassed about when she’s older or Adam Sandler had another box office bomb, there never seems to be a shortage of topics here.
- Asking for advice. I have found that casually mentioning you have a problem and needing advice is something others love to help you with. From mechanic recommendations to discussing my cat’s health, I’ve found people are very willing to share their expertise.
- Books or magazines. I talk about this less, but sometimes I read a book or article that is so good, I can’t *not* share it.
- Social media. Did you see a great joke or meme on Facebook? A funny YouTube video? Those are always fun ways to steer the conversation.
You don’t have to be doomed to being left out of every conversation that goes on (and on and on) about kids. At an appropriate lull in the conversation, I have given you 11 topics to steer the conversation to more neutral ground. It may take some practice at first, but I promise you it is worth the try!
What do you do when the topic of conversation is something you can’t join in on? Comment below!