written by
Grazyna Polit

How to start a conversation - 5 useful tips

social skills tips 4 min read , December 15, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to start a casual talk with a stranger? Breaking the ice is not always easy, but it’s not impossible and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Whether you want to start a conversation with a girl or a guy, over text or in person, here are some useful tips to start a conversation and get you more confident.

hot to start a conversation
How to start a conversation - Photographer: Yolanda Sun | Source: Unsplash

1. Take advantage of the surroundings

You are in a bar or at a party? Enjoying a sunny day at the park? Or maybe you’re standing in a tremendously long line? How to start a conversation in different environments? Look around and find some little things on which you can make a casual comment. Maybe the DJ is playing good music tonight (or a terrible one, that’s also a conversation starter, you can complain about it together). If it’s an international environment, find out where the other person is from and what brings them here.

2. Acknowledge details about the other person

Maybe he or she is wearing a T-shirt with your favourite band (or let’s be honest, it doesn’t have to be your favourite, if you know it and don’t hate it that’s good enough)? Or is it the only person in the crowd not drinking beer, but a special cocktail or a glass of wine? That is also a good conversation starter to acknowledge such a thing and maybe ask a simple question about it. Seriously, the beginnings are usually simple, it’s very rare that conversations start with great philosophical theories (although it happens).

tips to start a conversation
How to start a conversation - Photo by LexScope

3. Join the already going on conversation

This idea involves a little bit of eavesdropping, so please remember that we are not talking about violating anybody’s privacy here. Having said that, hearing a talk of two people on a neutral topic on which you also have things to say is a nice opportunity to join in and introduce yourself. Of course start with making sure that the other people don’t mind having a third party in the conversation and don’t push it if you feel that they’d prefer being alone. But usually if you’re joining an easygoing talk over a beer or at an art exhibition or anywhere else where people are mixed in a crowd, it shouldn’t be a problem.

4. Learning names

It may sound like a weird advice, but it checks out especially if you’re in an international environment. Let me share my experience with you - my name is Grażyna. I guarantee that except for Polish people of course, nobody gets it right on the first go. And that is usually how I start new friendships, the first 2 minutes is teaching the other person my name and after that we already spent some time together, so it’s easier to keep the conversation going on things such as where we are from, what we do and then asking detailed questions about these things. If you and the person you talk to are finding it very easy to pronounce each other’s names or you are both from the same country, there is no challenge. In that case, you can use my name or any other uncommon name you know. Tell the other person about that time when you really struggled with learning a difficult name, maybe he or she is willing to give it a go? Also, if you remember another person’s name and address them with it, they will appreciate you big time. Remembering somebody’s name right away shows that you are taking a genuine interest in them and can be treated as a sign of respect. It is obviously more difficult now that we are meeting people online, but hey, video talks are a possibility on so many platforms nowadays, I’m sure you will manage!

5. Start with meeting new people in the groups

If you find a group of people who are driven by the same interests as you, you have a lot of great openings. How to start a conversation here? You are already knowledgeable on the topics they like and there are things you have in common for sure. Maybe it’s a new course at your university or you’re volunteering at a film festival. In any case, start with some general questions, such as what the other person finds most interesting in a certain area or for how long they have been into. However, now we have mainly online activities. In that case, go find a platform with a variety of interest groups, such as UNBLND, where you will be assigned to these groups as soon as you put in your hobbies - you don’t even have to look for them, the app will suggest you the different groups! You can download it from Apple Store or Google Play. Once you are there, simply join a conversation or open up a new topic connected with food, photography, games and so on. Also, there is a person with whom you’re having a particularly good flow, you can click on UNBLND on their profile and start a private chat. And after we will be able to get out of our houses again, you can meet all of the people from your groups and do things you like together!

Social-Network UNBLND
UNBLND - Community-based social-network

Always remember - it might happen that the other person is simply not in the mood for meeting new people, and that is something to be respected and not to be taken personally. If it doesn’t work with one person, it will with another, don’t get discouraged and do your thing :)

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