As humans, we thrive on the exchange of words, ideas, and the presence of other human beings. We love to chit chat and converse with one another, but usually with a person we already know. We may thrive on interaction, but our fast-paced internet age has caused most of us to tend to avoid it with those who are not close to us or that we do not know. We hold our gaze low as to not make eye contact, and try every other tactic as to not get caught in a potentially awkward conversation, or weird situation.

 

In these moments of avoidance, however, we lose the opportunity to meet someone, learn something, or simply brighten someone’s day. The art of conversation comes naturally to some, but for many others starting a conversation with people is a formidable task. Here are some ways to make talking to strangers more comfortable and easy.

 

1. Be open. Instead of walking everywhere with your nose pointed at the ground or your cell phone screen, and brighten your demeanor. People are more willing to talk to someone they perceive as open and easy-going.

 

2. Ask a question. One of the easiest ways to begin a conversation is with a question. Depending on where you are and what you are doing, the question may change; use your surroundings to find a potential point of conversation. Whether your question relates to the person themselves, or something happening around you, do not be afraid to ask.

 

3. Listen. This may seem obvious, but genuinely listening to what the other people have to say is important. By listening intently, you are better able to respond or ask a related question. Listening also shows the other person that you care about what they have to say.

 

4. Do not fear awkward silences. No one likes when there is a lull in conversation, but do not let the potential of an awkward silence stop you from talking to someone new. When you do find yourself in a slow moment, use your surroundings or a random thought to start the conversation up again.

 

Talking to new people can be intimidating, but it is an opportunity to hear amazing stories and share your own. Next time you are bored waiting in line, or sitting on a park bench, take the chance to interact with a fellow human being. You never know what surprises may be in store!

 

What is your favorite conversation starter? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich