Welcome to my guide on how to start a conversation with a stranger.
In this guide, you will learn the 3 ultimate steps to get to know a stranger.
In addition to that, I will also share some good conversation starters which you can use on different occasions.
Alright, let’s dive right into the content.
How To Start A Conversation With A Stranger
Starting a conversation is not that hard. Trust me.
There are only 3 steps involved.
Step 1: Initiate The Conversation With Question
Ask a common question related to both of you is the best way to start a conversation.
However, if you really cannot think of something in common, then you can just throw any questions as long as they make sense. No need to overthink or overcomplicate this step as it is not that important.
- A gathering event: How long do you know John (a mutual friend)?
- At the networking event – Are you from the financial industry as well?
- At the party – Hi guys, having fun?
- A community event: Are you into this (wine tasting, photography, animal protection, guitar) for long?
As I’ve said, this step is not that important. It is just to initiate a small talk, and then you want to quickly introduce yourself.
Step 2: Quick Introduction
After you initiate small talk and the person gave you a response, you should quickly introduce yourself.
You should also share a bit of yourself and what brings you to the event too.
“By the way, I’m John. This is my first time here. I always wanted to learn more about wine, and today, I finally get the time to be here.”
You want to share about yourself because you want to provide some information for the other person to expand the conversation.
Besides that, if you open up to someone, most likely, they will do the same in return. This will make the following conversation more fun and relaxed.
Step 3: Expand The Conversation
This is the last step where you want to expand the conversation further and learn more about the other person.
If she is into a particular topic, then just stick with it until you are running out of things to say. Try not to jump around different topics too much, or the conversation will become too random. A random conversation will make her feel like you are too nervous and you do not know what to say.
How to dive deeper into a conversation
After you found a good conversation topic, you can start to ask questions around the same topic and dive deeper into it.
For example, if you have talked about wine testing earlier:
- “Besides wine, are you into any other thing? What is your hobby?”
- “How long have you been into wine tasting?”
- “What gets you started in wine tasting?”
- “What is the favorite thing you like about wine tasting?”
At this stage, you can also ask some personal questions. For example, you can learn where she is from, what she does for a living, her hobby or passion, etc.
As long as you are not asking something too sensitive like their bank account password, they won’t be offended. People are not that harsh, so do not overthink this.
If you find that they do not wish to answer your question, just apologize and switch to another topic. For example: “Sorry, I think that’s too sensitive. Just ignore it. By the way, what get you started in wine tasting?”
Keep the conversation fun as you expand it, and soon you will realize you have just made a new friend.
At the end of the conversation, you can give him a compliment and suggest that both of you should grab a drink together sometimes.
Conversation Examples With A Stranger
Below is an example of how you can initiate a conversation with a stranger by applying the 3 steps I showed you in the above section.
You: Hi, so you are a coffee person too? (Step 1: Since we are in a cafe and both of us have ordered a coffee, I can use that point to initiate a conversation.)
She: Yeah. I think I’m addicted to coffee. Can’t live without it.
You: Haha, same here. I’m John, by the way. (Step 2: Since I got a positive response and am not busy or annoyed, I would just introduce myself.
She: I’m Nadia.
You: I’m here quite often. I like to enjoy a cup of coffee and then check out the bookstore nearby for new arrivals. I like to read about psychology and self-improvement. So, what about you? What’s your hobby? (Step 3, where I start to ask a more personal question to get to know her better.)
She: I’m into yoga and meditation.
You: Oh, you know how to meditate. That’s cool. I have been thinking about starting meditation for a long time, but I just can’t seem to focus and empty my mind. Whenever I close my eyes, random things will start popping up in my mind, and I will be driven away. How do you do it? How do you stay focus when you meditate? (I found something about her that I’m interested in, so I decided to expand the conversation around it.)
She: Oh, it’s totally normal when you’re just starting out. Focus requires practice. As a beginner, I would suggest you… (I will let her speak, and then, based on what she shared with me, I can ask more questions to expand the conversation further.
To expand the conversation, I can ask her:
- How long has she been practicing meditation?
- What inspires her to get started?
- How did she get started?
- What is the most challenging part of meditation for her?
- What are the different kinds of meditation she knows?
- Does meditation really bring a positive effect to her life?
There are just so many things you can ask to expand the conversation when you are genuinely curious about the other person or the topic itself.
As you can see from the conversation example above, initiating a conversation with a stranger is not hard.
You can always use a conversation starter to get to know the person better.
Conversation Starters With Strangers
Here are some good conversation starters you can use to initiate or expand the conversation with someone you don’t know.
- Do you know what time the event kick-off/end?
- Have you been joining similar events?
- Are you into… too?
- How long have you been doing …?
- What’s your plan for the upcoming weekend/holiday?
- What do you think of this event?
- Tell me about yourself?
- What do you do for a living?
- Where are you from?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- Where are you staying?
- What is the most interesting about…?
- Why did you choose…?
- How did you feel when..?
- Tell me more about…?
- What’s your thought on…?
- What is your favorite thing about…?
- How did you get started with…?
- What is the most challenging part about…?
- How did you overcome the problem…?
- What keep you going…?
- Do you know any good restaurants nearby? (you can replace a restaurant with any store which you want to buy something from.)
Good Topics To Talk About With Someone You Don’t Know.
These are generally good topics to talk about with someone you met for the first time.
They are not sensitive, and you can expand the conversation relatively quickly with it.
- Sports/Outdoor activity
- Latest Trend/news
- Upcoming plan (for weekend or holidays)
- Movies/TV show
- Unique experiences
You should pick a few good topics that resonate with you and practice initiating conversation with people you meet.
Over time, you will discover some good questions about that topic and become better at it. Next time, you will be able to talk smoothly about it with a stranger.
I personally like to talk about passion, travel, and personality topic, so I’m kinda good at initiating a conversation with these topics.
Mindset To Overcome Shyness When Talking To People You Don’t Know.
1) Take the pressure off earlier
Instead of working so hard to avoid eye contact and suffer from the awkwardness of silence, it’s much better to take off the pressure by getting to know each other earlier.
Once you have introduced yourself, you can be more relaxed and continue to enjoy whatever you are there for, be it listening to the host or attending a conference.
2) People want to connect with you too
Sometimes, we are afraid to talk to a stranger because we are not confident enough. We fear that the other person might find us boring or annoying and what we have to say might not be interesting enough.
However, if you take the chance and strike a conversation, most of the time, you will find that people are more than welcome to talk to you and befriend you. This world is full of friendly people.
3) You lose nothing when someone can’t connect with you
People want to know the real you and be themselves in front of you. So, you should just be yourself and don’t be afraid of how they will judge you.
If they like you, they will stay with you, and you get to spend time with them as your true self. It’s much more comfortable that way. If someone doesn’t resonate with you, you should let them leave to give more time to people who deserve you.
4) Fake it to make it easier
You can directly imagine that the other person is already your friend. You should start talking to them like how you talk to your friend.
Most of the time, you will be surprised to find yourself being able to initiate conversation and make instant connections effortlessly.
A word from Charismatic Persona
Talking to a stranger is not as challenging as most have expected. As long as you are genuinely interested in getting to that person, you will be able to ask good questions and have an engaged conversation.
Remember to remain eye contact, smile, call the other person by name, and occasionally compliment during the conversation. This will make him/her feel appreciated and help you to forge a connection faster.