Welcome to my guide on how to start a casual conversation with anyone you meet in life.
You will get all the casual conversation starters and conversation examples in the bottom sections. Along with that, you will also discover the best 10 topics for a casual conversation too.
Let’s dive right into the content now.
What is a casual conversation?
Casual conversation is the small talk or chitchat we made in daily life.
Most of the time, we don’t plan ahead for it, and we can just talk about anything that comes up to our mind. It is effective in connecting with other people.
In a casual conversation, people tend to be less formal with their language. Slang, incomplete sentences, and even broken English are often acceptable in a casual conversation.
By removing the strict rules of proper English and grammar rules, the casual conversation allows creative expression, making the conversation more enjoyable.
We can use a casual conversation with our friends, family, and new people we meet on different occasions like parties, concerts, and other social gathering events.
When To Use Casual Talk
Basically, you can have a casual conversation on every occasion, as long as you are not doing a formal presentation, business talk, or having a speech.
For example, you can initiate a casual conversation with a new friend you meet at the pub, someone who’s sitting beside you at the bus or train station, restaurant waiter, colleagues, neighbor, and other new acquaintances.
We can have a casual conversation with our friends, family, and anyone around our age.
On the other hand, we can also have a casual conversation with the elders. Just that we might want to avoid using wordings or slang that they might not comprehend.
Casual Conversation Topics
You can talk about almost anything when it comes to casual conversation because it’s usually centered around a generic topic.
Here are some excellent casual conversation topics you can go after.
Conversation Topics To Talk About:
I know talking about the weather can seem boring, but we cannot deny that it is very easy to start a small talk with it. Plus, you can use it on almost all kinds of occasions, and that makes it a universal topic to talk about.
My suggestion is that you can divert it to a relevant topic after your comment on the weather.
You: It’s kinda sunny today.
She: Yes, the weather is lovely today.
You: Yeah, it’s great for outdoor activities like a picnic. Are you an outdoor person?
You can comment about many things around you. For example, the lighting, background music, temperature, coziness, and what’s happening around you at the moment.
You: I like the aroma and the music in this cafe. It’s very relaxing, isn’t it?
She: Yes, I like it too.
You: So, I guess you come here very often?
You can talk a lot of things about the place. For example, you can ask where he is from, where he works, etc.
You: Are you local?
She: No, actually, I’m from Bangkok.
You: Of, I have never been to Bangkok before. What’s the specialty there?
Travel is a very easy topic to start and expand. You can either talk about the upcoming holidays first and then divert it to a traveling topic. Or, you can just directly talk about traveling, and it won’t be awkward.
You: So, the holidays are coming soon. Any plan for it? Going anywhere?
She: I will probably go to Bangkok with my friends.
You: Wow, that sounds fun. You look like an adventurous person. Do you love to travel?
5) Sports/outdoor activities
Most people are into some kind of sports or outdoor activities. So, this is a good topic for small talk.
Just ask them directly if they are into any sports, and they will let you know if they have one. If they don’t, you can quickly divert the topic by asking what their hobby is then.
You: You look like a sporty person / I like your healthy skin tone and body shape. Are you into any sports?
She: I like Yoga very much.
You: Wow, no wonder you have an excellent body posture. How long have you been doing Yoga?
You can ask them what they like to do over the weekend and ask them directly what their hobbies are.
You: So, what’s your favorite way to waste time? I’m just kidding. What is your hobby?
She: Haha. I like drawing.
You: Really? That’s cool. What do you like to draw usually? People, flowers, or scenery?
7) Plan for the day/weekend
You can share a bit of your plan first, then you can ask her how she would like to spend the upcoming weekend. After you learn what she is interested in, you can then divert the topic to it.
You: I feel like exploring the new cafe in town this Saturday since I kinda free after the exam. What about you?
She: I think I want to visit the national library and check out some new arrivals.
You: Oh, I didn’t know you are into reading. What kind of books do you like to read?
I ask about this a lot, especially for cafes, because I found that girls are into food very much.
If you start the small talk about cafes or desserts, most girls will be so excited, and they will contribute a lot to the conversation. This way, you can expand the conversation with ease, and she will stay engaged almost effortlessly.
You: I know most girls are crazy for desserts. What about you? Are you craving any desserts lately?
She: There’s a new cafe in town, and their chocolate molten lava cake is very popular. I’m dying to try it.
You: Is it really that good? Hmmm, do you want to explore it together this Saturday?
Some people do not like to talk about work after office hours, but most business people do. So, you have to pay attention to their facial expression when you try to initiate this topic.
If the feedback is good, then you can expand the conversation further. Otherwise, you might want to switch the topic back to the hobby, food, or outdoor activities.
You: Are you running your own business? You look like a very confident business person.
She: No. I’m working at an accounting firm currently. But, I do have a side project coming up.
You: Really? That sounds interesting. What kind of side project are you planning to start?
If the person is into this topic, you can talk about his job’s most exciting part. You can also talk about the biggest challenges, goals, and vision for the career/business.
10) Art/ Movies/ Music/ Books
You can start with movies and books because these two topics are easier to expand.
Just ask them what kind of movies and books they are into, and they will share a lot of info with you since they are highly interested in it already.
You: I feel like watching sci-fi movies this weekend. What about you? What kind of movie genre is your favorite?
She: I seldom watch movies. I prefer TV series. That’s how I waste my time, hahaha.
You: Oh really. So, what TV series are you into lately? Maybe I should check it out too.
Why Casual Talk Is Important
The most important thing about the casual talk is that it helps break the silence and help others feel more comfortable around you. It is also the easiest way for you to build a new relationship and expand your network.
Through casual talk, you will be able to learn more about the other person. For example, you can know their viewpoint on the topic, their character, and what they are interested in.
Suppose there’s something common between the two of you. In that case, you can expand the conversation further with ease and build a stronger connection.
On the other hand, casual talk can also help you relax and explore more about yourself because you get to share your own opinions and feelings creatively.
How To Start A Casual Conversation
It’s easy to start making casual talk on different occasions.
1) Ask a generic question
You can ask a general question to initiate the conversation. For example, you can ask how’s the traffic, how’s his work today, where he has lunch/dinner, etc.
2) Make a statement based on the environment
We can open up a conversation by using the surrounding environment. For example, if the queue is very long, you can say wow, their business is always excellent. There’s always a long queue when I come here.
Or, if it has been raining for so long today, you can say it’s a gloomy day. On the other hand, if you see a dog, you can say it’s so cute.
People will tend to agree with you after you made such a statement, then you can start talking to them about other things.
3) Quick intro & take a guess
To start a conversation fast, you can do a quick intro about yourself and then take a guess about the other person.
For example, Hi, I’m John. Are you here for the online business forum too? Are you heading to the town center too?
Sometimes asking an obvious question is also an excellent way to initiate a conversation. However, do not repeat it too much, or the others will think you lack common sense.
4) Expand the conversation based on the reply
After you initiate a conversation by asking a question, you have to pay attention to what he/she has to say.
Based on the reply, you can ask another question on the same topic to continue the conversation further.
This is why active listening is crucial because we can only expand the conversation effectively by listening to others first.
Casual Conversation Starters
- So, what brings you here? Are you into… as well?
- When was the last time you travel for fun?
- Are you into any TV shows lately?
- What is your favorite book?
- What is your favorite quote?
- Where are you from? What’s the specialty in your hometown?
- What are you up to?
- Any plan for this weekend/holiday?
- Are you into sports or any outdoor activities?
- If you had a VIP ticket to go anywhere you want, where would you go?
- Do you like to travel?
- Which country is on top of your travel list? Why?
- Do you have any hidden talent that not many people know?
- Do you know any good restaurants or cafes nearby with good coffee and music?
- I like rainy days. Listening to raindrops sound is very relaxing. What do you like to do on rainy days?
- Are you into a horror movie as well?
- What’s your favorite way to spend your weekend?
- What is your favorite sports/team?
- Are you reading any good books? Give me some recommendations.
- What’s the last movie that touched you and made you cry?
- What’s the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
- Are you the spontaneous type, or are you more of a planner when it comes to traveling?
- What kind of places do you like to travel to? You prefer a shopping paradise, islands, beaches, or historical sites?
- Do you have any hidden talents that not many people know about?
- What is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened in your life?
- Are you a dog person or a cat person?
- Do you have any pets?
- Are you a coffee person?
- Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
Casual Small Talk Questions
- Lovely day, isn’t it?
- Did you catch the news today? The covid cases have skyrocketed.
- Did you know that there’s a new cafe in town?
- What is your favorite restaurant nearby here?
- Looking forward to the weekend?
- How long have you been working in your current company?
- You are very humorous. I’m sure you have a lot of friends, am I right?
- This place is beautiful, huh?
- It’s nice to be outside on a sunny day like this, right?
- The flowers are beautiful at this time of year, aren’t they?
- How long have you been waiting?
- How was your day?
- Are you doing anything fun after work?
- I like your watch. It’s exquisite. Did you choose it by yourself?
- Which do you prefer? Samsung or Apple?
- How many countries have you traveled to so far?
- If you can live in a country you want, where would it be?
What To Avoid When It Comes To Casual Talk
One thing to remember when it comes to a casual conversation is that you should not ask the type of question which you wouldn’t want to answer yourself.
For example, suppose you do not know the person well enough yet. In that case, it is best to avoid sensitive topics like money, relationship status, age, weight, religion, politics, etc.
In addition to that, you should also avoid the things that will make the other person feel uncomfortable or sad. For example, if that person has a skin problem, bald, or just lost someone important in life, you should avoid talking about it.
In some cultures, talking about money and how much you make can be considered rude. In contrast, in other cultures, asking for age is impolite. This is why we need to learn more about other people’s cultures.
In Japan, talking about money & salary is rude.
In Korea, people tend to ask for your age at the beginning of the conversation. If you are older, they will talk to you in a formal language.
How To Have Casual Talk With Strangers
You should not overcomplicate the process. Just make a statement about the surrounding, and then you can quickly introduce yourself.
For example, it’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Oh, I’m John, by the way.
Then, you can start to change the conversation topic to something more personal. So, you can learn more about the person.
For example, you can ask where he is from. And, you can expand the conversation and ask him what’s the specialty in his hometown.
You: I’m from Bangkok. What about you? Are you local?
He: No, I’m from Phuket.
You: Oh, I’ve been there twice. It’s very lively and happening. Any good bars or pubs would you recommend?
Alternatively, you can also ask the person what brings him here if he is not a local person. Then, you will be able to learn more about him by listening to his life stories.
Be sure to share a bit of yourself too. So, that he can expand the conversation based on what you have said. However, please do not reveal too much personal or sensitive data because you are still talking to a stranger.
Suppose you enjoy talking to him/her. In that case, you can suggest grabbing a drink or brunch together sometimes before you end the conversation.
For example, “It’s fun talking to you. I don’t know. Maybe we can grab a drink or brunch together sometimes. What do you say?’
If the conversation is enjoyable, most likely, the other person will say yes. Then, both of you can exchange phone numbers and have more interaction in the future.
This is how you can use small talk to approach strangers and to make more new friends.
How To End A Casual Conversation
If you can’t seem to click with the person you’re talking to, you can always use some polite excuses to walk away.
Lines to end a conversation:
- Excuse me, I need to use the washroom.
- I’m gonna grab some food or drink. See you around.
- I think I better not occupy too much of your time. I’m gonna take a walk around. See ya.
- Excuse me. I want to get some fresh air on the balcony/near the lake. See ya.
- I need to make a call. Catch up with you next time.
- I want to check out what my friend is doing. See you around.
The Bottom Line About Casual Conversation
You can pretend that you are speaking to a friend while having a casual talk. This way, you will tend to be more relaxed and comfortable while speaking, and the other person will be more likely to respond in the same way.
The casual conversation should be something light and fun to talk about. So, don’t stress too much about what you should speak next.
Just be an active listener, go with the flow as the conversation expands, and you will find yourself having an engaging casual conversation.