How to Start Up a Conversation With a Stranger
Starting a conversation with a new person is never easy, mainly if that person is entirely a stranger. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for you to break the ice and speak to people you have never met before. These are a few basic conversation-starting tips that you'll want to keep in mind.
If you are going to try to talk to someone you've never met before, you'll want to make sure that the person will be amenable to having a conversation with you. Don't try to talk to a person that is clearly in a hurry, engrossed in a book, or wearing headphones.
If you look out for these kinds of indicators, you'll find that it's easier to determine whether you should try to talk to somebody. You'll be able to find people that will actually be receptive to the questions that you ask.
While the simplest way to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know is to say "hi," something basic like that isn't going to encourage people to give you a detailed response. Instead, you'll want to ask questions. Make use of a random question generator tool if you fall short of questions. Ideally, these questions should require more than a one-word reply.
It's a good idea to ask questions that are relevant to both you and the stranger. For example, if you're waiting in line at a theme park, you could ask things like, "Have you ever been here before?"If you're at an event, you could ask them where they met the host. Questions are always a great way to spark a conversation.
Work to Get to Know the Person
When you're starting a conversation with a stranger, one of your goals should be to ensure that the person won't be a stranger anymore after the conversation is over. Ask all kinds of questions that will help you get to know a person better.
For example, you could ask the person about what they do for a living. You could find out if they've lived in the area for long, or if they have children. Show a real interest in the person you're talking to.
People may not be willing to tell you a lot about themselves when they don't know you at all. When you're asking questions that are a little more personal, you might want to start out by volunteering a little information about yourself. For example, you could say, "I have two dogs at home; do you have any pets?"
When you share information about yourself, people will be far more willing to share information with you. Doing this can also encourage people to ask you follow-up questions, which can keep a conversation going.
Listen to What a Person Says
A conversation should never be one-sided. It should always be a back and forth. That's why you'll want to listen closely to what a stranger tells you and react to the things you're saying. If they reveal something to you, you might want to ask them to tell you more.
For example, if a stranger tells you that they just moved to the area, you might want to ask them how they are liking it so far. If they tell you they own a dog, you should ask about the breed. When you show that you're paying attention, people will have more positive feelings towards you.
Don't Get Too Personal
It's fine to ask light, casual personal questions when you're getting to know someone new. However, it would be best if you were careful not to ask them questions that are too revealing. There is a limit on how much people will open up when speaking with a stranger.
Think about the kinds of questions you'd feel comfortable answering if you were talking to a stranger. If you'd be hesitant to reveal information, you'll want to avoid those kinds of questions. If a stranger doesn't seem receptive to your questions, don't push. Change the subject instead.
Present Yourself in the Right Way
You'll want to pay attention to how you present yourself when you're talking to other people. What kind of impression do you make when you're not speaking? How do you dress? What is your posture like? Is there anything about you that could scare people off?
You'll want to make sure that you're not intimidating the person with whom you are communicating. It would be best if you work to become a more approachable person. If you succeed, you may actually find that new people initiate conversations with you.
Acknowledge Awkward Moments
There may be some awkward and uncomfortable moments when you're trying to talk to someone new. For example, you might notice some long periods of silence. A stranger may only give short answers to the questions that you ask.
If this happens to you, you shouldn't be afraid to acknowledge the issue. It's okay to say, "well, that was an awkward silence," or "I'm sorry if you're not in the mood to talk." Discussing awkward moments can help them to fade away, and they can even encourage people to speak more freely.
If you want to meet more people and get to know strangers, you'll want to keep this advice in mind. Starting a conversation with a stranger won't always be easy, but with this advice, you'll find that it's easier for you to talk to people that you've never met before. You may even wind up making some new friends.