The 5 types of conversation (and their characteristics)

A conversation seen as a change of ideas, opinions or a dialogue on different topics is essential for communication between people, since it often revolves around interpersonal relationships. In addition, a conversation can serve to avoid conflicts and/or resolve them, as well as allowing us to strengthen family ties, make friends, find a partner, work in a team, etc.

We can find several levels or types of conversation: conversation about things, about other people, about ideas, about feelings and, finally, the most intimate level that could be reached in a conversation and would be the one in which they share feelings themselves when expressing how you feel.

In this article, we will explain each of the conversation types in more detail. and what are its characteristics.

    What do we mean by conversation?

    What we generally mean by having a conversation would be an oral, sign language or written speech or dialogue in which two or even more people participate and interveneso that it serves them to express their ideas and / or feelings in a natural and improvised way, without the need for prior planning.

    However, in a debate or interview that is not a familiar conversation like the one that usually takes place on a day-to-day basis, it is common for there to be a pre-script defining the topics to be discussed.

    We could communicate by a conversion by verbal language and also by non-verbal language (for example, by gestures). Moreover, a conversation can take place on a wide variety of topics and it is quite common that the context conditions each conversation. For a conversation to be fluid and appropriate, participants must respect each other’s speaking turns and listen carefully to what they are saying in order to better understand each other.

    Main characteristics of a conversation

    In addition to having different types of conversation, we can find two broad categories between which conversations could be classified: formal conversations and colloquial conversations.

    A conversation is formal when it is governed by precise rulesbeing important in this sense to keep in mind in what context and situation it will be developed and for what purpose, as well as it is also important to know that a formal conversation usually takes place in a more structured way than the familiar conversation.

    On the other hand, a familiar conversation would be one that takes place in people’s daily lives, whether with family, friends, acquaintances that we meet in the street, with colleagues, with the workers of the stores that we are going to buy, etc. In this type of conversation an informal tone is usually used and it is usually built on the fly as it is usually given in a natural context and there is no pre-planning, so you also have more freedom to express yourself and all participants in the conversation. participate equally.

    It is worth mentioning that it is normal for any type of conversation, regardless of the type, formal or informal, to have in common that they usually have a fairly similar structure.

    Any conversation usually has an “opening”, in which it is initiated in a way that shows an intention to engage in dialogue by calling the people or group of them to talk; second, we can find the “body”, which is the center of all conversation and where all the intended information is exchanged; Finally, we can find the “closing”, with which the conversation would end and in which a farewell formula typical of each country and / or culture is usually used.

      The main types of conversation

      Now that we have briefly explained the main characteristics of a conversation, it is time to explain what the different types are.

      1. Talk about things

      The first of the types of conversation would be the one that usually takes place when talking about things. It might be the most superficial type of conversation of all since it is generally the most characteristic of those acts of communication that we usually have with people we do not know and with whom we maintain a dialogue because the situation requires it (for example, in the elevator, in the waiting room for a consultation, etc.).

      While this is also a conversation we might have with family and friends, we would include conversations about football in this category (as long as no information is provided about their own preferences regarding any type sports), news, traffic, art, music, etc. And it is that in this type of case the most common thing is that it is talked about the weather or the pandemic in recent years, among other topics. Of course, to consider conversations within this level, one would only have to talk about such things.

      It would therefore be the most basic level of conversation but no less important and necessary because it can be important for us in a wide variety of situations.

        2. Conversation about other people

        The second type of conversation would be that dialogue in which two or more people talk about other people who are not present at the time, can also be seen as a rather superficial conversation. In these types of cases, it is quite common for the topics to be discussed to revolve around things that have happened to other people or things that they have said, so no personal matters are discussed.

        Here we could also include current conversations about famous people, a writer, various gossip, comments that other people have said, or even quotes from other people, as long as we’re not talking about self-evaluation, because in this case we would be talking about another type of conversation. Therefore, this second type of conversation can be quite sparse and superficial to help build a lasting personal relationship with the other person.

          3. Conversation on our ideas

          Another type of conversation would be that which occurs in the cases or situations where a dialogue is established on our ideas. Here we would begin to see deeper and even personal conversationsbecause in this type of case, the participants in the dialogue already show more of themselves, instead of only talking about the topics of others in which no personal evaluation or reference has been included.

          When having a conversation about ideas, you can talk about a wide variety of topics such as politics, sports (as long as you provide personal preferences and ratings, like when talking about our favorite team), company that currently contributes to our assessment or how we believe certain things should be.

          In this case, only one of the people explains his ideas, while the other person only listened but did not do so at a deep level, pushing the same upside down, so here two monologues would be shared, as each was primarily concerned with letting the other person know other what thinks but without trying to listen to others.

          4. Conversation about our feelings

          The next type of conversation would be one in which a conversation about feelings takes place; being a mode of dialogue deeper than the previous ones, it therefore requires higher levels of intimacy than in the others of which we have just spoken. In this type of conversation, participants would already talk about what is happening to them and how they are feelingand may even become vulnerable.

          When we have a conversation about feelings, through which we could comment on what worries us or what makes us feel good, we would be giving very personal and sensitive information to the other person, so that could be a starting point to build more stable and lasting relationships. While it’s true that normally you don’t start having conversations like this until you’ve managed to generate the enough trust between two people, and so those conversations would come later.

          Such dialogues about our feelings would be what we commonly call “relief” and, as we may have experienced at times, can be of great help at times.

          5. Share your feelings

          Finally, among the different types of conversation possible, there is a way that could be considered a step above the rest, being more restrictive, and that is that here we would share our feelings. In this case, we would be talking about when the most stable and long-lasting relationships are built.. And not only does a person talk to another about how he feels, but he also tries to actively listen to the other person in order to understand him.

          This is where we would find a real encounter, in which both parties could feel comfort; especially when a conversation has taken place to talk about the problems themselves and/or to try to find solutions that could solve them.

          Although with our loved ones we can have a conversation at any level, since we have been able to observe that with them we can talk even about the weather, in order for our relationship with them to be strong and long-lasting, we should have been able to d having conversations of any type that we have just seen, because there will be times when we will need privacy and to be able to talk about our ideas, emotions or feelings and to feel heard and supported by the person who we are talking to and that would only be possible by reaching the deeper level of communication.

          Bibliographic references

          • Benesch, H. (2009). Atlas of Psychology I. Madrid: Ediciones Akal.
          • Carballal, T., & Groeger, MR (2015). Table discussions: Conversation in Spanish. New Haven: Yale University Press.
          • Careers, M. (1997). Language discovery and processing. Madrid: Editorial Trotta.
          • Francoise, RD (1998). Akal Psychology Dictionary. Madrid: Ediciones Akal.
          • Gallardo, B. (1994). Conversation and Everyday Conversation: On a Confusion of Levels. Pragmalinguística, 2, pp. 151-194
          • Zeldin, T. (2015). Conversation: how dialogue can transform your life. Barcelona: Editorial platform.

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