Knowing a few conversation starters can save you from those awkward moments when speaking with others. So below I’m going to outline some scenarios and suggest questions that you can ask to get the conversation going.
- Meeting someone at work: when you meet someone at work, you already have something mutual that you can take advantage of to start a conversation. The fact that you both work at the same company or building is a great start to find something you can discuss. You might want to ask what department they work for or how work is going today. If there was a big event happening, ask them how they are enjoying it and what other events they went to before that are similar. Breaking the ice isn’t easy, but because you have something that you can both relate to, drawing on that for your discussion can help you ease into the conversation.
- Meeting someone at a coffee shop: when you meet someone at a coffee shop, the best way to connect with them is to ask about their order. I’ve done this before and said, “hey, what did you order there? It looks like you’re enjoying it a lot.” Another way to start a conversation is to see what they are doing at the coffee shop. If they are listening to music, ask about what they are listening to. Then, you can start asking questions about their music preferences or if they sing and dance too. If they are reading a book, you can ask what the book is about since you love reading too and could use a good recommendation. Notice how you can draw conversations by being attentive to what’s around you and the person you want to converse with.
- Meeting someone on the streets randomly: this one can be more awkward, but a lot of people start a conversation randomly by commenting on weather or the time (if they are waiting for something like the bus).
- Meeting someone at school: the best way to start a conversation here is to make a comment about the class, subject, or teacher. Sometimes, asking when an assignment is due or when’s the next test also helps too. When people see a connection with someone, they are more willing to chat with them because you don’t seem to be so much of a stranger.
Honestly, you’ll know if the person you are approaching wants to engage in a conversation with you if they respond with more than a one-word answer. It takes two people to have a conversation and if it’s one-sided, no matter how hard you try, unfortunately, you won’t get anywhere. Good luck and remember, it doesn’t hurt to try starting a conversation. If it doesn’t work, move on. Don’t push too much or you might appear rude or even frighten them. If it does work and they are actually talking back, then you just scored yourself a possible new friend. It might be weird asking for their contact right away, but make sure to end off with something hopeful like: “I hope to chat with you again” or “perhaps we will see each other tomorrow so we can continue in this conversation.”