No matter how great your body language is or how many funny stories you tell, if you commit this conversational sin you will turn people off.

The biggest deal breaker is ‘Conversational Mooching.’ You know when you ask someone a question and they answer, but don’t ask you back? Like you ask them where they are from and they say “New York”... and then silence.

We expect reciprocity in conversations.

When we share something, we want someone else to share something. When we ask a question we want them to answer and ask us back. It doesn’t have to be tit for tat, but we are coded to look for and be treated with equality. Be sure you are not a moocher and give back as much as you get.

Note: One other conversational sin is being a one-upper. A one-upper is someone who constantly has to outdo you or your story. You had a bad day—well they had an even worse one! You traveled to 20 countries—well they traveled to 25 AND have done all 50 states! Let people enjoy their moment and celebrate with them, don’t one-up them.

Your turn:
Read about seven types of conversational sins, and about how to avoid being a toxic person in your conversations and your interactions at The Science of People.