Trouble making conversation: Why it happens

By Gretchen Vierstra, MA

Plenty of people don’t love making conversation, especially small talk. Some think they’re “bad” at it. Some are shy. But as long as they pick up on social cues, follow what people are saying, and talk in a way that makes sense, most do just fine.

Not everyone has those skills, however. Some people really do struggle with talking to others. This trouble with making conversation can have a big impact on self-esteem. It can also make it hard to fit in and make friends. And it can make people targets for bullying.

For kids, trouble making conversation can be a matter of development. Kids develop at different rates, and some just need a little more time. Other reasons both kids and adults might struggle to make conversation can be: 

  • Anxiety
  • Impulsivity
  • Being slower at processing  
  • Trouble with social skills
  • Trouble with language skills

Knowing the reasons behind trouble making conversation can help you figure out the best strategies for support. 

Dive deeper

    Tell us what interests you

    Share

    About the author

    About the author

    Gretchen Vierstra, MA is the managing editor at Understood and co-host of the 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.