As a child, we were told not to talk to strangers, giving the perception that strangers are dangerous. It was just a way to protect us! As we grow up, we learn to differentiate people based on their intentions and realize the world is not evil and we can talk to strangers!
Talking to strangers has many benefits. It is good for mental health, helps expand our network and exposes us to new experiences and insights.
Despite the many benefits of talking to a stranger, it is challenging for many. The thought of approaching a stranger alone makes us nervous. However, it is possible to overcome this fear with practice. If you want to talk to a stranger for any reason, such as professional, romantic, or even to pass the time, you can follow the tips shared below to get started.
1. Start With A Compliment
A compliment is a great conversation starter both in professional and personal setups. You can also project your positivity by starting the conversation with a compliment. It further puts the other person at ease by diffusing the tension.
Consider the examples below as a reference:
“I read your work, and I am a huge fan.” (suitable for professional setup)
“I like your bag/outfit.” (ideal for personal setup)
To keep the conversation flowing, you should include follow-up questions like what they are working on now or where they got their bag.
2. Ask Ritual Questions
Ritual questions refer to requests which are easy to comply with. It is a great start to start talking with a stranger. While shooting a ritual question, first notice the person you want to start the conversation with a particular focus on the things they are carrying. Now frame your questions based on the situation.
For example, if the stranger is wearing a watch, you can ask, “What time is it?”. Similarly, if you want to talk to a stranger in a tourist destination, you can shoot questions asking whether they are enjoying the stay or if it is their first visit.
Try to ask open-ended questions. However, keep the follow-up question ready if you plan to start the conversation with a close-ended question.
3. Ask For An Opinion
People love to share their opinions, and you can use this fact to initiate a conversation. However, while asking for a view, consider the setup. For example, if you want to start a conversation with a stranger while waiting for the bus to arrive, asking their opinion on global warming makes no sense.
In such a situation, it would be more realistic to ask for an opinion on the public transportation in the area. However, avoid asking about political views, as it can take an awkward turn.
Lastly, thank the person for sharing their opinion.
4. Make The Person Laugh
Think of something humorous in the situation you both are in, and share it to make the other person laugh. It’s a great icebreaker and can instantly spark a conversation. However, using foul language or making fun of someone is a big no when you employ this method to start a conversation.
The ability to talk to a stranger is an extremely useful skill. If you are just getting started, it might be challenging. However, with little practice and preparation, you can begin enjoying the process of connecting to new people.