Starting a conversation with strangers can be difficult.
We’ve all been there before. We see someone we don’t know and want to start a conversation with them.
We may be afraid of how they respond, so we remain quiet and choose not to approach them.
- “What if I get ignored?”
- “What if they think I am acting weird?”
- “What if I sound too aggressive?”
These are just a few questions we often ask ourselves until our confidence gradually disappears.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are many ways to overcome these doubts, feel good about yourself, and become confident and relaxed when approaching them.
Whatever the reasons, we will give you 12 helpful tips on how to start a conversation with strangers.
How to start a conversation?
1. Act Confident, Be Confident
Confidence is one of the first things you need when planning to start a conversation with strangers. It allows you to communicate clearly and effectively.
Often, those who go to talk to other people are those who are confident in themselves – or pretend to be. So how do you gain confidence?
One of the best ways is to ACT CONFIDENT. Fake it till it becomes real.
Our minds and bodies work in neat ways – when we tell ourselves we are confident and act that way, we start to believe it over time.
Act like you know what you are doing. Act like you are sure of yourself and good at conversations.
That way, someone will naturally want to speak with you, as they will feel that you’re easy to talk with. Act confident, and you will begin to believe it over time.
2. Action takes away fear
One fact about fear is that the more you wait, the stronger it grows. The best way to overcome fear is to take action before it grows.
Don’t take too long to make decisions, and avoid negative thoughts. The action takes away fear.
Stop worrying about what other people might say. Just go and talk to the person.
The truth is, the other person is probably just as nervous as you are.
We are often worried about what other people think about us. In fact, they are either worrying about what people think about them, or they don’t care.
Remember, the longer you wait, the stronger the fear will grow. Don’t give it time to grow – just go and talk to the person.
When you take action, it makes you bold, and it makes you seem confident and approachable. It makes you admired by people because you stepped up and took the initiative.
3. Greet and Introduce yourself
The next step is to greet them well and introduce yourself.
- Smile and look the person in the eye – it helps capture their attention.
- Then be confident in your actions, don’t rush.
- Walk up to them and give them a good handshake.
- Tell them your name and ask for theirs.
It will let the other person know you’re interested in talking to them. Once you’ve done that, you can start commenting on the location or something around you.
Reminder: You need to prepare some questions before approaching the person. You may start asking questions after you introduce yourself. It will make the conversation going and interesting.
Many people started a conversation by just offering or asking for some help from someone.
It could be something like:
- Helping someone to carry their stuff
- Talking to someone who looks lost
- Offering a seat to someone
- Offering some food
- Offering a ride
- Asking for the time
- Asking where to buy[item]
- Asking for some places
Make sure to talk to them in a friendly tone, and don’t forget to smile.
4. Ask Good Questions
Once you get their attention, asking good questions is a good way to get the conversation going.
Avoid closed-ended questions (usually answerable by “Yes” or “No”) unless you have a follow-up question planned. Generally, you want to use open-ended questions requiring longer responses.
It will encourage the person to give more answers and engage in the conversation. You can ask questions about the location or situation you are in. Those are both starting points for discussions.
For example, you could ask something like:
- “Where are you from exactly?”
- Use a follow-up question like “How long have you lived in this city?”
Use simple questions that they can relate to. The goal is to get the person to talk about themselves.
It’s everyone’s favorite topic.
Also, have a list of prepared questions memorized that you can pull out anytime. Even keep a notecard with questions on you that you can pull out before walking up to someone.
You might be surprised how people are willing to share if you just ask.
5. Show Interest
As you talk to the other person, show interest in what they are saying. If you are facing the person you are talking to, look them in the eyes, nod, and lean forward.
Make sure you aren’t in their personal bubble and use good body language. You must maintain distance between the two of you. Remember you are talking with a stranger.
Avoid crossing your legs or arms if you can. It might give a negative feeling to the person.
Give them your full attention and focus the conversation on them, not you. Ask questions that dig deeper into what they say, and give a few verbal responses to show that you are listening.
Avoid sounding as if you are waiting for them to finish speaking.
6. Ask for an opinion
As the conversation continues, asking for their opinion can bring you closer to the person.
Here are some example questions:
- “What do you think about the food in this restaurant?”
- “Do you have any thoughts on buying an old model car?”
- “Do you have any idea about traveling between European and Asian countries?”
Avoid politics when asking for opinions. Don’t forget to thank them for giving their opinion.Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply – Stephen Covey Click To Tweet
7. Find something in common
One of the best ways to start a conversation with someone is to find something that both of you are in common. They will feel more comfortable talking if you share something in common.
For example, if the person is wearing a shirt from your favorite band, you could ask the other person if they’re a fan. It will make it easier for you to connect.
Once the person responds, ask a follow-up question related to the first one.
It could be something like:
- “Have you heard [song title] on their latest album [album title]?”
- “Do you know if there are some color variations of that shirt?”
You can also use your surroundings or the events. These are good starting points for common ground.
That is why the weather is such a common conversation starter – everyone can relate to it.
Once you find something in common, the conversation will be much easier. It’s because you are both on the same side of that feeling.
People like people who are similar to them. The more similarities you find, the more comfortable both of you will become.
8. Don’t Fret Over Failure
When you are in the middle of a conversation with a stranger, there’s no point worrying whether you did something wrong.
We’ve all had those moments when we can’t think of anything to say. It’s not a big deal. We all make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Just brush it off, learn from it, and move on.
And, if someone refuses to start a conversation with you – don’t take it personally. It’s likely nothing personal. Even if it is, some people are just that way.
Just brush it off and move on. Don’t take it as a mark on you, but on them. There are plenty of people out there willing and wanting to talk to someone. Just relax and be yourself.
Often, success is built on the stepping stones of failure. Don’t fret over failure.
9. Compliment them
Giving compliments is another great way to start a conversation with someone. It can instantly break the ice.
Pay a genuine compliment.
You could compliment their outfit or hairstyle. Make sure it is something you appreciate, and be sincere about it. It will make the other person feel good.
For example, if the person is wearing a nice jacket or a dress, you could say something like:
- “I love your jacket. That’s a beautiful color on you.”
- “Nice dress. It matches your earrings.”
- Don’t say generic compliments like:
- “Your eyes are beautiful” or “You’re handsome.”
Instead, focus on something specific you truly admire about the other person. Ask some related follow-up questions to keep the conversation going.
10. Make the person laugh
One of the best ways to start a conversation is to think of something relevant to the situation or connected to what they’re doing that will make them laugh.
For instance, you could say something about your funny experiences while attending some event or something you have seen along the way. Something that they can relate to.
- It will keep your conversation enjoyable and more engaging.
- It helps both of you relax and be comfortable.
- Avoid using foul words or making fun of someone’s condition or appearance.
You should use your best judgment when picking funny lines to tell a stranger.
11. Leave a positive impression
Part of the conversation is knowing when and how to end it properly. Even when we are enjoying a conversation, every conversation has to end at some point.
Don’t just walk away. Say something and then exit gracefully.
There is no one way to end a conversation that works for all. It always depends on the situation.
It will sound awkward when you say “bye” in the middle of a conversation. Find some points in your discussion and use them to end it gracefully.
You could say something like:
- “I like your thoughts about [thoughts]. I need to go. Thanks for spending time with me.”
- “It was nice meeting you. Thank you for your time.”
- “I would like to hear more about you. Maybe we can schedule this sometime next week?”
Ending the conversation in a polite way shows some respect and appreciation for their time with you.
Final Thoughts on 11 Helpful Tips How to Start a Conversation With Strangers
As kids, we were taught not to talk to strangers, but as adults, it’s an essential skill to have.
It might be challenging to approach a stranger. But with a bit of preparation and practice, you can find yourself making new friends everywhere you go.
Enjoy the process of learning and meeting new people, and focus on having a good time. It’s actually easier than you may think, so why not give it a try?
Applying these 12 helpful tips helps you talk to strangers boldly and confidently.
Go get them, tiger. Be bold. Just do it!
Do you have other tips on starting a conversation with strangers? Let us know in the comments below.