One of the most dreaded moments on a date is when, god forbid, silence descends between you. There's a pause in the conversation that grows and grows like some hideous weed, while your mind is frantically scrambling for something to say to break that awful uncomfortable silence!

This very fear has fed into the popularity of online dating, as people don't have to worry about awkward silences anymore. You can spend hours carefully composing a message, so that it reads just right, but what you lose is the spontaneity of a real conversation, and it's hard to know what someone will be like in person without speaking to them live.  

There is another option: phone dating services like Livelinks Chatline allow you to make instant connections and have real conversations with real people. If you want to up your conversational game, Livelinks is a great place to practice chatting with local singles before facing the real deal.

If you're nervous about encountering that dreaded awkward silence — don't be! All is not lost just because there's a lull in a conversation. Try prepping yourself with some easy topics to fall back on when things go quiet. Not sure what to talk about? These five conversation starters (or savers!) will get anyone chatting:  

1. Ask for Advice

One of the greatest things you can do to build a relationship is to ask the other person for help or advice. It doesn't have to be complicated — in fact, it's better to start small. Simple questions like “Which cocktail would you recommend?” or “What's good to eat here?” will build trust, make the other person feel needed, and make you come across as open and interested.

2. Give a Compliment

A compliment is such a simple yet powerful thing. You might think complimenting someone gives them too much power or makes you seem desperate, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Nowadays, people are so walled off that compliments are rare. So when you tell someone honestly, “I really like this about you”, it is both disarming and charming. It will make them feel good about themselves, and they will relax — which will do wonders for your conversation.

3. Tell a Silly Joke

This one may seem clichéd, but nothing breaks an awkward silence as well as laughter — and nothing elicits laughter as easily as a good BAD joke. You both know the moment is awkward, so when you blurt out “Why don't ants get sick? Because they have antibodies!”, you'll both laugh (you being slightly embarrassed), and the tension will bleed out of the situation. You'll come across as quirky and light-hearted, and they'll love that you sacrificed a little dignity to save the moment!

4. Quote your Favorite Movie

Instead of just asking what movies the other person likes, open with a line from your favorite film. Try a little humor with your quote, like remember when Harry says, “It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk” when he's trying to break the awkwardness with Sally? If the other person responds with a quote from the same movie, it's on. You have common ground and you can easily chat about your favorite scenes from that film. If they don’t know the movie you quoted, you can tell them about it. Easy conversational fodder.

5. Relate

How do you form a connection with someone? By relating. Pick up on something your date said earlier in the conversation and relate a moment where you had a similar experience. Mention their experience, so they know you were listening. When you mirror someone's feelings back at them, it inspires confidence (you get them!), and they will be more likely to keep on sharing — therefore, the conversation will keep on flowing.

Are you ready to have an awesome conversation? Need a little practice using these five talking techniques? Give Livelinks Chatline a call and polish your dating game by chatting live with local singles in your area. Who knows, maybe you'll even meet someone special while you're at it!

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