Starting a conversation with someone

02 Aug
Name Confidential

Hi guys,

I'm not sure I've seen this question on the forum yet which is a little surprising considering how relevant it is to all of us. 

So we've all been in situations where we meet someone new whether we're in a completely new social situation or a familiar one. A lot of the times we aren't introduced to this person by someone and starting a conversation can be a little scary. 

So how do we start conversations with people, without coming off as awkward or nervous? What's the right thing to say?

Thanks for your inputs. 

Responses 11

  • Anjali Deshmukh
    Anjali Deshmukh   Aug 15, 2017 11:25 AM

    Hey Hi.

              It's a very interesting question which you have put forth. We all think how should we start the conversation with a person for the first time. Well i would put it in a very simple way. The best ice breaker is a "SMILE". A smile is the best way to initiate a conversation. A simple smile means that you are ready to talk to an unknown person. 

                             After that lovely smile just wait and see. If you get a smile back then bingo! You are on the right track. The new person too is interested in talking. Start off randomly. May be weather, time or may be something different. But never make the new person uncomfortable with your talk. Make sure that you are being genuine.

               Talk according to the place. If you are at a bus stop, then say " You are boarding which bus?" and if it is the same then " yeah me too". Once you hit a conversation it becomes easy to go with the flow. Don't be shy or reluctant. If you really feel like talking, then make the first move.

                                                                         Hope this was helpful to you. I am sure the next time you approach a new person you will definitely have a good talk :)      


  • Kadambari Agarwal
    Kadambari Agarwal   Aug 05, 2017 09:45 PM


    Any new situation is undoubtedly daunting, for the best of us. It is unsettling to be thrown in suddenly in unchartered, unexplored territory. We always want to be our best selves, but it is so hard to be who are are.

    The new people around you can seem so confident, charming, sure of themselves. You, on the other hand, feel awkward and nervous. Here is an idea: these new people are just that. People. They are people like you are; they think, they feel, they even get anxious and nervous. You never know that the person making you nervous might be nervous himself. 

    Yes, this is the first step, and a small one. But understanding is key to remedy. Once you understand and treat everyone like people, it will come naturally to you to talk, to be yourself. 

    Specifically, if you want to open conversation, just smile and compliment them on something. Notice something distinctive - a hat, their hair, their socks? Vpcalise it. Conversations tend to flow after an initiation. Ask them questions. Listen, and as questions based off that. If you are having trouble talking to a person, don't be disheartened. It happens. Talk to someone else. Don't be too hard on yourself. 

    I hope you are able to work on this, and understand what I have tried to convey to you. Good luck!

  • Aashna Agarwal
    Aashna Agarwal   Aug 05, 2017 01:14 AM


    Hope you are doing great. 

    And i completely agree with you, this is a very generic question. And the answer is to react according to the situation. For instance, if you are going to a party of your friends and you dont know anyone there, then ask your friend to introduce you to them and then you just dwell in the ongoing conversation. But if you are not introduced, then just go to the person and start with a simple 'Hi' followed by your name and then just say something according to the situation. For instance, if its the party only, then ask him/her if he/she knows your friend and then talk about the party first , as in "What kind of parties do you like", "what beverage you prefer, etc, then what you currently do, and then the conversation just proceeds.

    Its not difficult at all, after all even he/she is a person only. But, i understand the anxiety before it, and so comes the humor. Humor is the best way to break the ice. It is almost always riverted back, with either just a smile or another joke, from their side. 

    But, if you are to shy to do anything, then just make eye contact with a person, for a while, then smile(a smile goes a long way) and then. wave, if he/she comes over, great! If not, then you go over and just pass a compliment to him/her. For instance, "you have a nice smile" or "beautiful eyes",etc. But, it should be subtle and not the one where you would seem desperate.

    And, lastly, just be yourself. You are a charming person. 

  • Priya Parwani
    Priya Parwani   Aug 03, 2017 10:37 PM


    Hope you are doing good. Your question is relevant and this is something we all have felt in our lives THE AWKWARDNESS. Yes it can be difficult to take to someone who is a complete stranger to us but we can surely break the ice through following tips:

    1) Greet the person with a warm smile.

    2) Aski him/her about their day or you can ask where are they from and what they do.

    3) Just start the conversation with some really basic topic like weather, any current news or any general affair. Dont just directly jump into personal things.

    4) Listen to them carefully and dont judge them with their responses and be polite and humble.

    5) Then ask about their likes, dislikes, passion, hobbies and other general stuff.

    6) Observe their body language and see whether they are interested in talking further or not.

    7) Try to be humorous and but dont be sarcastic.

    8) Just dont talk only about yourself rather make that conservation about that person.

    9) You can also do the hand actions they are doing as itsa fact that doing the same actions as others proves them that you are agreeing to them.

    Hope these tips will help you to break the ice.


  • Sanjna Verma
    Sanjna Verma   Aug 02, 2017 11:26 PM

    Hello. Hope you are doing well. Yeah, you are right. It is important to ditch that 'Hi, how are you?' kind of awkwardness because when you must have experienced it that it does not last long. Instead talk about your interests or hobbies or about the common purpose due to which you got to meet each other. See, human beings are social animals and as long as there is a need for belongingness, there is love for talking and unloading our hearts out and unless this does not hurt the listener's sentiment. We have been conditioned in such a manner that it is necessary to stay away from strangers and mind our own business.

    Here is a TED talk by RJ Malavika wherein she talks about the art of having a conversation. Hope this helps.

  • Sargam Chhabra
    Sargam Chhabra   Aug 02, 2017 10:18 PM


    This is a very common question that everyone has in mind but is afraid to ask. Now-a-days, not only guys, but girls also make the first move and it is acceptible too. It is still hard to go up to people and talk to them face-to-face but internet has made it a lot easier to chat via texts and on calls on various social media sites. One can express their ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions freely.

    But talking face-to-face is important too as it opens you up to new experiences and also help you to understand a person not only in the way they text or talk, but also their body language. To start a conversation with a complete stranger, following tips may be helpful for you:-

    1. First, you have to keep in mind that the other person is also a human being just like you.You should always be confident and have at least one topic in mind to talk about. Also understand that if they are not interested in talking to you, you don't have to make them. You can approach someone else too. 

    Tip: Always keep your expectations low and be strong in case of rejection.

    2. So to make them your friend or talk to them in general, you have to be warm and friendly. Always approach with a smile and maintain eye contact.

    3. Start with a general topic like the weather, or music or current news etc, which you think is related to their age or would interest them.

    4. Make the conversation about them, i.e., ask questions about what they like and then find the similarities between you two. They would feel more interested in talking about what they like rather than listen to you telling about yourself. So always be patient and be a good listener.

    5. You can also try laughter, as making people laugh tend to make them open up to you more easily. Do not offend them with your jokes and/or remarks and always keep within the social boundaries.

    6. Here are a few sites that would help you more in starting a conversation with people:

    4 ways to start a conversation

    Starting a conversation in different circumstances

    11 ways to turn strangers to friends

    And here is a short video, in case you don't want to read much: How to talk to strangers

    I hope it helps. All the best!

  • Ayushi Jolly
    Ayushi Jolly   Aug 02, 2017 08:48 PM

    Hey there!

    Hope you are doing well.

    Thank you for coming up with the topic.

    Being introduced to new people is a nice experience but can also be stressful at times. When we move to new places,we often come across new people and most of them are not introduced by anybody. In modern times,things have become so rapid,we make friends quickly and then bonds weaken equally quick.

    Starting a coversation with a stranger can be tough but what happens is that things go wrong often and we avoid furthur interactions.There is no hack that assures good social support or likewise but what usually happens is that there are little life hacks that can help you survive such situations and might help.

    1.Do not start a conversation immediately. You can take your time and reconsider the body language or vibes of the person.

    2. Choose your words wisely and that they are your representation. Based on that only,the other person shall form an image of you and react thereafter.

    3. You can check for links or mutual friends. If you really want to talk or befriend so you can first talk to your mutuals and confirm about the person.

    Hope this helps!

  • Shanmugi B.P
    Shanmugi B.P   Aug 02, 2017 08:36 PM


       Hope you are doing well. I can clearly understand about your plight situation. Everyone comes under this difficult situation. I can hereby suggest you something to resolve the situation.

    1. Start a conversation with the confidence level. Make a conversation with the person in a confidence like, “Glad to know about you, May I know your name?”. And don’t start with “I am xxx, What’s your name?”
    2. First impression is the best impression. Give them a hand shake with confidence and express yourself with great smile in your face, which can give them a confident of getting a new relationship who is strong .
    3. When you start a conversation make sure of your statements you are going to speak. It can relevant to your passion or the environment around you. Just make a smile and start a conversation. Don’t ever feel pessimistic, and be optimistic always


    Hope it helps you!!!

    Take Care :)

    CHINDU MARY MATHEW   Aug 02, 2017 07:46 PM


    it's natural and everyone must have once faced awakard situation like this it may be durning party, marriage or gettogether and wondered how to handle it. Everyone has different conversational style and it varies based on the nature of  personality in which one of them we look into consideration are extrovert and introvert dimension. Though  this dimension plays a role in any interaction but any communication can be handle smoothly by small inputs which includes :

    1. Listen :  To make any conversation we need to listen first then  talk which help things to flow more naturaturally
    2. Observation: Along with listening, one needs to observe the non verbal clues such as smile, hand gestures body language  etc helps to learn what the other person expects thus communication can be made easy.
    3. Open ended questions: Ask open - ened questions like their interest, hobby, passion, work anything in which you could find one common interest and from which we can build the interaction ahead. while sharing your details keep in mind not to overshare the details untill you feel comfortable with the person.
    4. Be updated: Being familar with the current events is the best way to bring up topics in any conversation.  

    Hope this tips helps you. along with pleasent smile and humour sense  can make any situation familar and comfortable.

  • Shreya Narayanan
    Shreya Narayanan   Aug 02, 2017 06:19 PM

    Hey there friend,

    I'm glad you asked this. This is something I'm going through right now,and if I had to counsel or advice anyone, I'd say 'Humour is the best ice breaker.' 

    You don't have to acquire those skills from training or something,it is something that is imbibed in you since childhood. For me,it has always been the best way of making new friends. I'd say something funny or witty or something what I feel at that point. The other person may respond with: 

    Either a grin and respond with an equally funny statement.

    Or simply smile at your joke and nod

    Or maybe, ignore you and give you the death stare xD

    Now now, an informal approach seems more appropriate but do not on any condition,make him/her seem that you're being desperate and creepy. This is where many don't understand and so,don't draw the line.

    There are many other approaches too like,simply starting to talk about your interests and passions or due to some activity you get to talk with them. Whatever the way you choose,hope you don't seem much clingy towards them. Maintain the friendship and a healthy rapport with them throughout your journey. I hope you find the above tips useful. Have a good day making new friends.

  • Anushree Nandi
    Anushree Nandi   Aug 02, 2017 05:31 PM


    “Helping questions are great conversation openers because when a person helps you it forms natural bonds. When you help another person to figure what an item is on the buffet or locate the restroom, it lowers your defenses. For example, if you’re at the grocery store, ask ‘Do you know how to tell if this fruit is ripe?’ It makes you look open to learning more and will help the conversation flow naturally.” —Dawn Maslar, MS, author of Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love 

    In other words, the ability to start a conversation translates to real business.

    What makes a good conversation starter?

    Open-ended: A broad question typically generates a far more engaging answer than a close-ended one.
    Non-routine: Breaking out of the standard weather and job-related questions will jolt the person you’re talking to out of autopilot. You’ll also make yourself more memorable.
    Professional: Some topics are more suited for your friends and family than strangers or near-strangers. Your questions should never make your conversational partner uncomfortable.
    Relevant: If you can, start a conversation about something timely or specific, such as your location, event, industry, jobs, or current interests. The other person will find it easier to contribute

    Hope these help you start topics next time.

Book an appointment