How to Start a Conversation with a Stranger

Have you ever seen someone who looks attractive, nice or interesting and thought you would love to have a chat with them? Perhaps you would like to get to know them more, or you think that they would be fun to talk to?

Unfortunately, in our society it is deemed “weird and creepy” to start talking to random strangers, and most people don’t strike up a conversation with others in public places for fear of rejection or being invasive.

Here are some ways that you can start a conversation with a stranger at a party, on a bus, or in any public space without making the situation uncomfortable:

Ask them for Help

A great way to break the ice is to ask the person for help with a problem. For example, you could ask them to give you directions or recommend a restaurant or cafe in the area.

If you are at an event, you could ask them if they know when a certain lecture or concert is supposed to start.  

If you are in an internet cafe, you could ask them, “Is your internet working? My connection is a little slow…” It’s a great way to break the tension without being creepy, because you are asking for their help which is a more acceptable conversation between strangers.

Be Natural

Don’t come in with scripted material, pickup lines or pre-rehearsed jokes. The other person will be able to tell that your speech is not natural and it will come across as fake and strange.

It’s not important what you say, as long as you say it naturally and from the heart, in the moment. Don’t forget to smile!

It’s all About Them

When you are chatting with someone you don’t know, try to focus on them rather than yourself. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, so asking them questions will encourage them to open up to you. Also, you will be out of the spotlight so you are not forced to put on a show.

Gauge Their Reaction

When you use one of these conversation starting techniques, make sure that you are paying attention to the way the other person reacts. If they enthusiastically begin chatting back to you, you can feel comfortable carrying on the conversation.

If they look away, concentrate on something else, or respond with short one or two word answers, get the hint that they are not interested in talking to you. Don’t take it personally; perhaps they are just not in a good mood. Say something like “Nice chatting with you, have a good day,” and move along.

Although your mother might have told you not to talk to strangers, sometimes some of the best interactions can come from words exchanged with people you don’t know as you connect on a common bond or shared observation. You might even form a relationship or a lifelong friendship!