Are you tired of awkward silences and never knowing the right things to say to keep a conversation going? We’ve all had those notoriously annoying moments and know the pain of trying to carry a conversation on our own; it’s frustrating and often makes you want to run for the hills rather than work on the conversation.
But we’ve got your back with some amazing conversation starters and tips to keep the awkward silences at bay (and make sure that you get to know the person you’re talking to). If it is someone new, phone number exchanges are guaranteed and if it’s an old pal then you’ll be sure to find out something new about them.
Conversation starters with new people
Approaching new people is hard as it is, but it’s definitely made a lot easier when you’ve got some ideas of what to talk about! The most obvious topic of choice would be about your shared location, for example, if it’s a train station, ask where they’re headed. Once that gets the conversation going, here are other topics to talk about!
Everyone’s bound to have something they like doing in their spare time, but instead of simply asking what their hobby is, ask more specific questions like:
- Hey the scenery is beautiful here, don’t you think? It would be nice to take a few pictures of it if you’re into photography.
- Doesn’t the band playing here sound wonderful? Say, do you play any instruments?
- Have you ever tried scrap-booking/ bird- watching/ painting etc?
- What’s your go-to activity for when you’re bored?
- Do you enjoy outdoor sports like biking/ volleyball, running, etc?
If the two of you end up having a hobby in common, you can always try and set up a date to do it together!
Regardless of whether you’re at a restaurant or not, talking about food will not only leave your mouth watering but is also a relatively safe topic as there are very minor chances of offending someone (unless you bash their food choices)!
Ask them questions like:
- What’s the most delicious meal you’ve ever had and where was it?
- What has been your worst food experience? (if you’re on a date, you might want to stay away from this question to avoid any nasty stories)
- What’s your favorite restaurant to eat at? Or do you prefer home-cooked means instead?
- Do you have any cooking disaster stories?
- What’s your go-to guilty pleasure snack?
People, who have them, can’t stop talking about them, and those who don’t will either gush on about how much they want one or about how they cannot tolerate an animal in the house. Either way, a great way to bond is by sharing your love of animals, or dislike- whatever floats your boat! If they indicate that they like pets, feel free to ask questions like:
- What would be your ideal pet?
- What’s your pet like? Does it shower you with love or act like a moody teenager?
- What’s been your favorite thing about keeping a pet?
People’s travel experiences are filled with all sorts of fun stories and memories of the places they’ve visited, different food cuisines they tried, the kind of people they met along the way, etc. So, ask them:
- Are you a fan of traveling? If yes, what are some of your favorite places that you’ve traveled to?
- What are some of your best memories from traveling?
- Do you prefer to travel solo or with people?
- Have you ever experienced a culture shock while traveling? How’s that been?
- Books/ movies/ TV shows/ music
The fastest bonding occurs between people from the same fandom. If you like the same TV shows, enjoy the same books and have a similar taste in music, you can carry out an entire conversation based solely on these topics with questions such as:
- What’s the last movie/TV show that you watched and what did you think of it?
- What’s something you can watch multiple times and never get tired of?
- What’s your go-to happy song?
- Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? And if its books then what kind of books?
- Their current life situation
Are they working or at school, or both? If you already know them from your place of employment or school then feel free to ask them questions about their feelings about their particular place of work.
- Do you enjoy the courses we’re studying (or the place where you’re working) or are they more of a temporary thing?
- Why did you choose to work/ study here?
- How do you feel about the boss/teacher? (Add in your opinion to encourage them to open up, but be wary of snitches)
- Do you get along well with other classmates/ co-workers or are you having trouble finding people you can get along with? (This is a great question for when you’re facing similar issues as well)
- Their views on relationships with people in their life
Families and friends are usually safe topics as well, especially if you have mutuals with them. Unless they give an indication that they are uncomfortable talking about them or seem closed off about it, ask questions like:
- Which member of your family do you get along with best?
- What do you look for in a person when befriending them?
- What’s your favorite way to spend time with people?
- What’s a major no-no for you when it comes to relationships?
Conversation topics for friends
When it comes to friends, instead of just sticking to small talk, you can dive into more meaningful topics such as:
- Ask them how they deal with difficult situations
This is perfect for when you have something going on in your life that you want to talk to them about. Ask if they’ve experienced a similar problem in the past and how they’ve dealt with it. This can be anything from relationship problems to hardship at work, to trouble adjusting at your new school, general anxieties about what’s going on in your life, etc.
- Get to know what things like happiness and love mean to them
A big part of getting to know someone is learning their values and opinions to understand them better. Hence, ask them what they think about love, what happiness means to them, what they think success is, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to get into controversial topics!
Do not be afraid to get into more controversial topics like religion and politics once you’ve spent more time with the person, but remember to treat their opinions with respect if they differ from yours.
- Take a trip down memory lane
This one is for all those old friends and beloved family members. When the conversation’s running a little dry, take a little trip down memory lane and bring up past family trips, experiences and just funny moments spent together with them. These conversations will be sure to make you laugh till you cry and rediscover your appreciation for the people you’re surrounded with!
- Talk about your fears!
They’ve come this far in a friendship with you, so feel free to talk about things that scare you. Ask them what they’re afraid of and don’t be afraid to get deep with it, whether it’s a fear of commitment, or losing people or maybe just some good old spiders. Who knows you might even end up having some deep, meaningful conversations with your friends!
Conversation Starter Tips!
- Let the conversation flow naturally and pay very close attention to what the person is interested in talking about. Elaborate on that; ask to follow up questions about that etc. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to spring up a new question every 5 minutes.
- Unless you’re talking over text, pay attention to the person’s body language and tone. If they physically get more tensed talking about a certain topic or keep trying to change the subject then don’t force it on them. At the same time, make sure your body language is conveying the right message as well. Try and maintain eye contact, avoid constantly checking your phone, or not paying attention to the person.
- Make sure you’re not asking them too many questions unless you’re playing 20 questions!
- Respect their space and avoid unnecessary physical contact if it’s a new person in your life. Not everyone is comfortable with hugs and pats on the back etc, and chances are they’ll be too polite to let you know so just make sure you’re being respectful.
- You are completely entitled to an opinion, but if it’s offensive and rude, then no one needs to hear it.
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