I think we’ve all there at some point in our lives. When we just can’t, for the life of us, think of something to talk about with someone new. You really want to start a conversation with them, but you just have no idea where to begin.
Sure, you could go with, “Wow, this weather is crazy, right?” But that’s just the most overused conversation starter out there and it actually makes things really awkward. You can only say so much about the weather, after all.
The truth behind good conversation starters
Conversation starters are really hard. It’s difficult to walk up to someone you don’t know and have never interacted with before and attempt to have a meaningful conversation with them. The truth is that most meaningful conversations take place between people who know each other well.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible, though. Even if it might be difficult and a little nerve-wracking at first, you can start a great conversation with a stranger as long as you have some good conversation starters like these ones up your sleeve.
Tips for making a great conversation
Before we get into any specifics of which good conversation starters to use, you should first understand a few guidelines to help assess the situation and choose which conversation starters to try.
#1 Look at their surroundings. A lot of times, a person’s surroundings can tell you a great deal about them and can help you think of something to talk about.
Whether it’s their t-shirt with a specific band on it or what they’re watching on the TV at the bar, you’ll find something to talk about based on where they are and what’s around them.
#2 Pay attention to their body language. Body language can also tell you a lot about whether someone is enjoying the topic of discussion or not. Someone who is facing you, eyes engaged, and smiling is probably enjoying and interested in the topic.
A person who is facing away from you and isn’t engaged very much most likely doesn’t care much about it.
#3 Start light. Don’t dive right into talking about someone’s worst fears right away. If you really don’t know them that well, you should start with something light that can deepen, depending on whether or not it’s going well.
Good conversation starters for when you just can’t think straight
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some great conversation starters that’ll help land you a fantastic first discussion with someone.
#1 Have you read any good books lately? If you’re looking for something to talk about and get past the introductions, this question can not only give you insight into the type of entertainment they like, but it’ll also give you an entire book’s worth of information to talk about!
#2 What’s something about yourself that you never want to change? It’s always great to start on a positive note and find out what someone likes best about themselves.
#3 What do you like to do? Asking this instead of what they do for work is almost guaranteed to get them chatting, since it’s something they enjoy.
#4 Is your job something you enjoy doing? This opens the door for more discussion about why they’re doing a job they don’t like or what exactly their job entails and how they got there.
#5 What’s a strange habit that you have? Everyone has one, and it’s bound to spark some kind of funny discussion between the two of you.
#6 What person, dead or alive, would you want to meet, and why? This is a standard question that often leads to a more in-depth discussion about who that person was and whether or not you agree with their choice.
#7 Do you come here often? While this may seem cliché, it actually opens the door to a conversation that could lead to just about anywhere.
If they say no, you can ask why they’re there. If they say yes, you can talk about why they like it there so much.
#8 So what’s your story? Asking a broad question like this will force them to divulge some information about themselves and give you more ideas of topics to bring up.
#9 I noticed you like _____. I’m unfamiliar with it. This can really be about anything. If they’re wearing a band tee, if you overhear them say something about an activity, or even if you see them watching something on the TV at a bar—if they like it, they’ll be willing to discuss it.
#10 Have you been to anything like this before? If you’re at an event that’s rather unique, asking this question can start a conversation about the event you’re at and could also help you gain some insight into their lives.
#11 Tell me about what you’re working on right now. Since this is so broad, you’re really allowing them to take the reins, even though you’re initiating the conversation.
#12 Who do you know here? If you’re at an event by invite, asking this question will immediately give the two of you a common interest and lead to more discussion.
#13 Have you seen the latest trending video about _____? If there’s something that’s gone viral lately, ask if they’ve seen it and if they like it or not.
#14 Do you have any funny obsessions right now? Everyone has something that they’re currently obsessed with, and most will be overjoyed to talk about it.
#15 What’s the best way to waste time, in your opinion? Some people like surfing the internet, others like lying down and reading a good book. Find out what they prefer.
#16 What’s something that’s really popular but annoys the hell out of you?Whether it’s a haircut trend or a song on the radio, they’ll enjoy discussing their annoyance with you.
#17 Do you have any pets? If someone has pets, they LOVE talking about them. If they don’t, asking why may introduce you to a whole new topic of discussion.
#18 If you could have just one animal as a pet, what would it be, and why? This is a great follow-up question for the one above. Whether they have a pet or not, this one will get them talking.
#19 How would you describe your perfect weekend? Everyone loves fantasizing about what they would rather be doing than the daily 9-5 grind. Asking them this will get them chatting up a storm.
#20 Do you have any tattoos? This one is always bound to spark up a conversation about the meanings behind any tattoos they have, needle fears, and more.
#21 Do you have a reoccurring crazy dream? When someone asks me about my dreams, I know I just can’t shut up. Maybe other people are the same way and want to know what their dreams mean, too.
#22 What’s the most annoying habit someone can have? Let’s hope it isn’t trying to start conversations with people they don’t know! This one can not only give you insight to their likes/dislikes, but it’ll probably drudge up some funny topics as well.
#23 Are you still friends with anyone from elementary school? It takes a special kind of person to hold onto a friendship for that long, which could make for a very interesting and insightful topic of conversation.
#24 What’s your favorite season? While this is riding awfully close to the weather topic line, it’s not exactly the same. It’s a fun conversation that can lead to talking about seasonal sports or even cuddling up by the fire.
#25 Do you like thunderstorms? Again, this is another more interesting take on a weather-related topic. if it’s storming out or supposed to storm, you can spark a great conversation by taking a cue from a good old-fashioned thunderstorm.