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Apps that tell you what to say

Want an interesting way to start a conversation or chat up a girl? It's not surprising -- there's an app for that.
Want an interesting way to start a conversation or chat up a girl? It's not surprising -- there's an app for that.
  • It's not all bad acronyms and lack of eye contact with smartphones
  • Apps can give you the right apology or excuse for any occasion
  • Translator apps can be a fun way to pass some time

(CNN) -- Smartphones are perpetually blamed, ironically, for our lack of communication. Incessant text messaging, constant "Words with Friends" games and endless Facebook updates often distract us from face-to-face conversation.

As Gizmodo's Sam Biddle wrote, "Phones, for the first time in their history, are being designed to undermine their primary function ... actually facilitating a world in which I never have to talk to anyone."

It's not mobile phones alone that are stopping us from interacting, Richard Ling, author of "New Tech, New Ties: How mobile communication is reshaping social cohesion," argues. In fact, his research shows cell phones actually improve communication between you and your closest companions; while waiting for the bus it's easier now to text a friend or call up your mom.

However, when people have the ability to surf the web from their smartphones, they're distracted from that connection opportunity.

"Yet it's interesting that you can also bring it full circle," Ling added. "Smartphones can give you an interesting way to start a conversation or chat up a girl. It's not surprising -- there's an app for that."

So it's not all bad acronyms and lack of eye contact with smartphones? We did a search for apps designed to help you improve your communication skills. If you're feeling tongue-tied, check these out for the right thing to say.


Stood up a date? Forgot a friend's birthday? Insulted your boss? Fix it with the perfect apology using the "iPology" app on the iPhone. Answer the questions "What did you do?" "Who did you do it to?" and "Are you being sincere or sarcastic?" for several automated responses guaranteed to get you out of the doghouse. Send the message via spoken word (you know, like in person), email or text.

And if "You trusted me, big mistake" doesn't quite solve your problem, the app allows you to send a bouquet of virtual flowers her way.

Excuses, excuses

Along the same lines, "Excuse List" is available on both the iPhone and Android phones. Pick the activity you wish to avoid -- work, church, sports, school -- and scroll through a list of excuses. Some are believable, others not so much. The one we're trying out next? "I saved so much money by switching to Geico, I don't have to work today."

%#^$# profanity

The iPhone app "Profanity" has more than 3 million phrases available to help you find the right words to describe your enemies. Shake the phone to reveal them as the lint-naveled, goo-gargling, fart-flingers they are. Then share the new label on Twitter for all to see.

There's also the "iSwear" app on Android for simple profanity in other languages. Or if you're finding it too hard to constantly spell out all those %#@# words in an angry text message, use the "Swearing Sailor" app to insert the vulgar vocab into your auto complete function.

Pick-up lines

It's not easy to walk up to a stranger in a bar and open the conversation with something more original than "um, hi." The "Pick-Up Lines" app gives you nine categories to choose from -- cheesy, sweet, plain lame -- in the hopes of enticing that special someone into a conversation and out of their clothes. Find it in iTunes or on the Android Market.

If you're tired of being on the receiving end of lines like "Baby, I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I can make your Bedrock!" download the "Anti Pickup Lines" app. Or buy pepper spray.

Translation, please

Online translators have been around forever, so don't expect us to identify the best English-to-Spanish apps for your midterm. We will, however, list some of the funny translator apps that have helped us avoid any resemblance of work today.

"Translator for Cats" gives pet owners an idea of what their furry friends are saying -- although we're not sure why you'd want to know. If you're not sure whether their eternal disdain for you is because of your lack of hygiene or if you're just not feeding them enough, record a few mews to find out. (Also available in "Translator for Dogs").

The "Men Translator" interprets more than 100 common phrases that men say. Example: When he says "Take a break honey, you're working too hard," he really means, "I can't hear the game over the vacuum." (Not available in "Women Translator" because, well, there's no app for that.)

Or laugh it up with the Android "Speakin' Tongues" app that translates standard American English into Aussie, British, Leet, Gangsta, Pirate, Redneck, Jamaican and more. Ahoy matey, it'll cost you a pretty penny, but yea mon, it done did good.

Conversation starters

Still having trouble coming up with something to say? Use the "What If" iPhone app to ask interesting questions on a first date or the "Did You Know" Android app to offer up intellectual tidbits in an awkward group setting. If nothing else, people will ask you where you came up with that lame idea and you can tell them about this story.


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