This is about a specific situation in my life, but by all means, apply it to yours.
There's someone coming into our lives (about to pop the question to my wife's friend -- who's been to busy with him for us to see her any more, and we'd like that to change). When I talk to him, it's just polite.
I'm going to:
* try to feel him out on various topics. It will feel clunky; so be it
* try to joke with him. If he's offended or uninterested, I'll stop
* try to get over that he was dating my wife's friend when he was still married. (He'd started divorce proceedings at the time, but he was married. Still, he's single now.)
My hope is that we'll like each other, so it's not just, "We want her over, and he'll tolerate a boring evening for her sake."
My suspicion is that he'll give polite responses to everything, and we'll get nowhere. Maybe I can't control that. Ironic. He's in my church, he's an engineer, he likes art. How could we not have something to talk about?
Thread may be a mayfly.
Mayfly? That is an expression I have not heard. What does it mean?
As to the topic,
It could be as simple as he is scared as all heck that he is going to make a bad impression on you all. You are good friends of hers and he does not want to cause any more friction.
Or it could be you have not broached the right topics. My father in law jokes in rather male fashion. I find those jokes stupid and uncomfortable. They fit is his generation and I don't hold it against him I just don't find them funny.
Give it time, he should be polite right up until you hit a topic he cares about.
In real life most people think I don't like them at first, I rarely talk and added with that lately it is also hard for me to hear in certain situations. I am more than happy with a beer/drink, just sitting back watching and listening to everyone else. Ask me a question I will answer, but I don't really waste words.
Was on a boat with 12 other guys for 14 hours over the weekend and they started calling me the stealth fisher. I wasn't a constant talker like the rest of the guys, and they started noticing my line was in the water first and bringing in a fish more often then not(except the two damn sharks snapping my line)
Lots of guys like me, we might not be talking or interacting, but it isn't what you think. We are having a good time and we don't hate you.
Took 3 years for my wife's friends to realize this about me.
In a situation where I have to be "social", ie because it's my kid's friends' parents, or something my wife put together, I'll treat it like a conversational game, throwing the ball around, and, if the conversation stops, I'll be the first to get in there and restart things. With a few people, or even one on one I see silence as a product of intimacy.
Now, with a lot of other guys and without my wife around, I'd go into shut-down mode.