Ever noticed how some people are great conversation starters?
This is because they have some topics and techniques at starting conversations in a way that makes others feel comfortable. To some it comes naturally, others require practice, and some of us just need a bit more confidence.
As we grow older most of us find our circle of friends becoming smaller. Not everyone of course, there are a lot of reasons why this might not apply to you. But for a lot of you reading this it will apply to you, and here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re wondering why.
Have you lost contact with some of your friends over the years?
Do you work from home, alone, or as a stay at home mom?
Do you find it difficult starting a conversation with someone new, or even a long time friend?
These are some of the more common reasons why people find themselves feeling a little more isolated, and as a result they find it difficult to start conversations with people and having meaningful discussions.
As adults most of us don’t go around meeting new people and making new friendships on a regular basis. To have someone enter into your circle of friends takes time, and usually a few open conversations where you find out information about the person.
But in order to get into the deeper conversation, you first need to start a conversation. With everyone generally being busy and having a lot to do in their daily lives this can be easier said than done. When the opportunity presents itself to start a conversation with someone, missing the mark by coming across badly can cause the opportunity to pass by.
How many of us can say they regret not talking to a certain person, maybe a certain special someone? Almost all of us probably feel like we let a friendship or relationship pass us by at one point or another, because we didn’t have appropriate conversation starters, or maybe the nerve and confidence to talk.
Becoming better at starting conversations and talking to people was something very important to me. It took time and practice, but I became good at the art of conversation – and so can you.
With that being said, here are 10 good conversation starters to help you out in those situations where you want to get to know someone better.
Tell Me about Your Childhood
Asking someone about their childhood and upbringing is a great conversation starter, and can lead to so many different conversations. People are usually happy to reminisce on their childhood, talk about their family, and discuss any fond memories they have.
This gives you a lot of scope to find some common ground. There are usually some connections between two people, whether it’s the areas they grew up in, the hobbies they had as children, or anything else that made them the person they are today. You will usually have the same question asked back at you too, so this sets the scene for an in-depth conversation.
What Attracted You to Your Partner?
One of the fondest memories we all have is meeting our partners. So talking about what attracted us to them is something most people will freely talk about. Also, listen carefully to what they are saying about the values and aspects that attracted them to their partner, as this gives you a clearer picture of what they are like as a person.
Tell Me about Your Favorite Holiday or Travel Experience
Anyone who has traveled will be happy to tell you how it has enriched their lives. Travel has a profound effect on most people who experience it, often becoming more than just a vacation – a life changing experience.
But whether you find the person has a life changing experience, or just that they visit their family 2 hours away once a year, travel is a great conversation starter. Comparing how different cultures do things, how you tried new foods, or what an eye-opener seeing other countries is, most people could talk for hours about these topics.
What’s on Your Bucket List?
Bucket lists are lists of things people want to do before they die. So as you can imagine, there are an infinite amount of different ideas and goals that people have. If someone doesn’t have a bucket list then they are either too young to have considered it, or maybe you can spark something in them to think about it.
When someone does start to tell you about the things on their list follow up by asking them what they plan on doing to achieve them. Who knows, you may find some shared goals and make a new friend to achieve these goals together.
Can You Recommend Any Films You Recently Watched?
The kind of films someones watches and enjoys gives you an insight into what kind of person they are. Obviously you cannot pigeonhole someone from one movie, but its a great conversation starter.
If you find the other person is a film buff or that they have watched the same film as you have, there is a lot you can talk about. Discussing how you interpreted the film and which bits you most enjoyed is a great way to have a discussion. Ask open-ended questions too so the other person needs to give you more than just a “yes”, or a “no”.
What’s the Craziest Thing You’ve Ever Done?
If there is something that sticks out in our memory, it’s some of the things we have done that are out of character, or just outright crazy. How we acted when this happened and what we changed because of it is very impactful for some people.
What someone did, why they did it, and how they feel about it now is another way to shed some light on what makes that person who they are. Don’t judge the person if they did something you don’t agree with, we all make mistakes and do things from time-to-time that we are not proud of.
What Achievement Are You Most Proud Of?
This question is always a great conversation starter. Just about everyone has done something that they feel proud of during their lives. Some answers may be pleasantly surprising, but each one is sure to be something you can talk about.
Think about what you are proud of yourself too, because the person is likely to ask you back the same question. Remember, it’s not a competition, don’t try to outdo the other persons achievement!
What Is the Best Life Lesson You’ve Learned?
This is a good thought provoker as well as a great conversation starter. Most of us don’t stop to think about what life lessons we have learned, yet if tasked with listing them there would be lots. Experience is the best teacher, and asking someone of mid to late life this question is sure to provoke some interesting talk.
Being able to admit we have made mistakes is a very mature approach to take. As long as you learn, and improve, you can’t be too hard on yourself for making a few mistakes along the way – we all do.
You Look [Insert Adjective]. Is Everything Ok?
Always gauge a situation before asking a question of this nature, you don’t want to put your foot into a bad situation. But sometimes if people are looking happy, sad, confused, you can ask why and see if anything out of the ordinary is going on.
Most people will take kindly to you showing concern for them, and they will tell you what’s going on in their lives. As the saying goes, ‘a problem shared, is a problem halved’. So talking though whatever is on their mind is going to help them. Additionally it will help you both gain a level of trust and may be the start of a friendship.
What Does Your Typical Day Involve?
This is a great way to understand a lot about a new person. We all have certain daily routines and commitments we need to take care of. Maybe it’s family, work, or other commitments, you may find that your paths cross with certain activities.
If someone is willing to talk openly about their day it’s a good sign that they feel comfortable speaking with you. Be as open back to them yourself too, talk them through your day if they’re interested.
Obviously some of these conversation starters are to be used at appropriate times, and requires some communication and social skills to judge a situation. But with these topics you should be set to start talking freely to new people and make new friends.
Care to share any conversation starters you fall back on when striking up a conversation with someone? Leave a comment below and, well, start a conversation. 🙂
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.