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How to Start a Conversation with Someone You Don’t Know

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When you’re new to a city or just getting to know someone, making small talk can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple techniques and some practice, you’ll find yourself chatting with strangers like an old pro in no time.

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Start simple, but authentically.

The best way to start a conversation is to simply ask questions. The key here is that you really want to focus on what they think or feel. Listen carefully, and let them know that you are interested in their answers by asking follow-up questions and making eye contact. This shows genuine interest in the other person, which should make them feel more comfortable talking with you.

If someone offers a response where they tell their own story or experience, try not to make any assumptions about what they said just because it doesn’t relate directly back to your life experience. Instead of thinking “Oh, I’ve never done that,” try thinking “that’s an interesting approach” instead, or even better: “That’s great. Tell me more.” By remaining open-minded and curious while listening respectfully (and again making sure your body language reflects this), others will feel more inclined toward sharing their thoughts freely with you as well.

Ask open-ended questions.

If you want to start a conversation with someone you don’t know, ask open-ended questions that will lead to more than just a “yes” or “no” answer.

Open-ended questions are ones that require more than a yes or no response. They can be about the person’s interests and experiences, their opinion on something, their favorite things, anything related to their life. Here are some examples of open-ended questions:

  • “What do you like about your job?”
  • “What is your favorite thing about living in the city?”
  • “How did you decide on your major?”
  • “Have you traveled anywhere cool lately? Where was it?”

One of my favorite tips for starting conversations is asking people what they do for fun. I love hearing what hobbies people have because it helps me figure out commonalities and interests we may share together. If I learn someone likes hiking or golfing, then maybe next time there’s an opportunity for us both at work we could make plans to do those activities together during lunch break 🙂 For example: “Hey. Do you play any sports outside of volleyball? If so which ones? I really love playing volleyball with friends but also enjoy biking and running too sometimes. You should come to join us sometime. Btw where do live (if it’s nearby) so I can add u as a friend 😉

Invite further discussion.

To invite further discussion, you can ask for their opinion on a topic or issue. In the first conversation with someone new, this can be as simple as asking them what they thought of an event or a movie. If you’re talking to someone at work, it can be a bit more formal than that: “Can I get your thoughts on this project?”

You may also want to ask if they have any advice for something that you’re working on or would like to do in the future. This gives them an opportunity to provide valuable information that might help you out later down the road, and makes them feel good about themselves in return.

Give full answers and ask follow-up questions.

The best way to start a conversation with someone you don’t know is by listening. Focus on the other person’s answers. Ask follow-up questions and don’t be afraid to pursue topics that are of interest to YOU. You should also give complete answers, not just yes or no responses.

Don’t feel pressured into saying something because it seems like that’s what people want you to say (or do). Don’t answer questions just because it feels like what someone would want you to say, either. The best conversations are those where both sides share ideas and interests, not only asking questions but also answering them with care will help make this possible in any setting

Say “thank you” and mean it.

So, you’re in a social situation and you don’t know anyone. As you are introduced to a person who is new to your life, say “thank you.” And mean it. Don’t worry about being polite; this is not some sort of test. By saying thank you when someone introduces themselves to you, they can tell that they have passed your first test: making them feel welcome in your presence.

Say “thank you” even if they don’t deserve it, for example, if someone says something like “Hey. How’s it going?” or “Nice to meet ya.” These phrases do not require any response on your part at all (other than maybe nodding), but by saying “thank you,” the other person will be able to see that even though their words were meaningless, they were still welcome in your company because of how genuine and friendly their intentions were when engaging with others around them, and that means everything in terms of building trust between two strangers who might end up becoming friends after meeting each other for the first time today.

Finally: don’t be afraid to say thank-you for something big or small; either way works just fine because at its core what matters most here isn’t what happens but rather how we respond afterwards which leads me into my next point…

These steps will help you break the ice with anyone, whether you’re on a date or talking to someone in line at the grocery store. Remember, we all want to connect with one another, it just takes a little bit of effort and patience.

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