Have you ever walked into a party where you’re supposed to meet a friend but they’re not there yet? You’re left waiting all alone for an awkward 15 minutes not knowing how to initiate conversation. It’s pretty normal to feel uncomfortable about walking up to a total stranger and having a conversation.
Learning to gracefully strike up a conversation can be a great social skill, especially when you’re stuck in a social situation. The rules are simple:
Open with a Compliment
Most of the time, people love being complimented – only if it’s genuine though. Don’t compliment someone’s hair if it clearly seems as though they are having a bad hair day. Comment on someone’s shoes, their clothes or the colour of their lipstick/eyes. Keep it friendly, not creepy. A rule of thumb when talking to a stranger is to stay away from anything political – you don’t know this person’s values, beliefs and morals so the last thing you want to do is offend them.
If you’re not particularly good at giving compliments, start with a neutral ground comment. The weather is a great place to start. Whether it’s rainy and miserable or blue skies and beautiful, you can always say something about the weather. Make it witty and clever if you can to earn bonus points!
Offer or Ask for Assistance
If you see anyone who needs help with something or you need help yourself, don’t be afraid to speak out. Requesting assistance can make another person feel helpful and from there, a conversation can easily spark. Helping someone else out can allow your generous personality to shine, which can also spark a conversation.
Travelled somewhere recently? Talk about that! As humans, we’re always curious about what else is out there in the world. We love to travel! Talking about travel can really open up some amazing things about people and can lead to a blossoming friendship. Discussing what you loved or hated about a place you visited, or even talking about where you’d absolutely love to go are all great conversation starters!