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7 Conversation Starters When Talking to Strangers

We tell kids not to talk to strangers, but as adults, talking to strangers can open you up to a wider social network and more friendships.

conversation starters with strangers

Just because you might be new to a city, does not mean that you can’t make new friends easily. And it’s totally okay too if you just want to meet and befriend some of those strangers you’ve seen out around town. Knowing the usual people around town is always handy, especially when it comes to moments when you feel a little lonely or homesick.

While it’s perfectly fine to just wait for people to approach you, you also have to have the guts to approach them. It shows them that you’re not just the aloof new face who just moved in to town, but instead, you’re a person who has a lot to offer to the community.

Conversation starters for making new friends

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to meet new people and make friends with guys or girls, because these conversation starters work great, no matter what kind of friendship you want to strike up.

#1 “I just moved here.” A very simple, yet effective way to introduce yourself to a stranger is by putting yourself out there first. The next time you want to strike up a conversation or just say hi to someone you don’t know, position yourself within their general vicinity, and strike up a conversation simply by saying something along the lines of “I just moved here, and don’t really know anyone.”

Naturally, the first thing they will ask *or should* is where you moved from, why you moved, if you’re liking it, etc. You’ll be good to go in no time.  And if you end up not wanting to talk to them, just make an excuse up to make a dash.

#2 “Do you know where this place is?” You’re new, so you have every excuse not to know where certain landmarks are. Asking for directions in a world ruled by Google Maps is a great way to start off a conversation and learn more about an area in one go.

Who knows, the person you asked just might be nice enough to take you there, and on your way there, you can start chatting and forming a friendship.

#3 “Do you come here often?” This one is better to use when trying to open up the door to get to know an attractive person you’ve spotted. It also works well, because by you asking them if they come to a certain place often, you can hint at the fact that you’ve never been there before.

Which leads me to my next point: this can start off a conversation about why this place is so great, what other places are worth visiting and what places you should avoid. Who knows, if you make a connection, you might just end up going to all those awesome places together! [Read: 15 easy conversation starts with a guy you like]

#4 “Hey, you’ve got good taste.” This is so reminiscent of that scene in (500) Days of Summer, where Summer makes a comment about Tom’s love of The Smiths. Whether you’re at a bookstore, at the bar or at a record store, commenting on and complimenting a stranger’s choice of literature, drinks or music is always a plus. Sure, it implies that you’ve been eavesdropping or checking out what they’re holding, but that only shows your genuine interest in this stranger’s preferences.

It’s a great way to start off a discussion about a topic that you’re both already a fan of, and it can lead to a great friendship over a common interest as well! [Read: How to keep a conversation going with the opposite sex]

#5 “I like your shirt/your watch/your hair, etc.” Again, who doesn’t like a compliment? When we receive compliments from our friends or from strangers, it makes us feel really good about ourselves. There is no better way to cheer yourself up than by cheering someone else up. So this is one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to someone new. [Read: How to start a conversation with a crush and woo them]

#6 “What’s your favorite thing on the menu?” Universally, everyone has one thing in common and that is food. We need food, and most of us really love food. What people like to eat can say a lot about them. You can already tell if they’re the type to choose a dish based on its popularity or if they’re the adventurous type who’s into the strangest things on the menu.

Afterwards, you can have a discussion about your respective food preferences, and it doesn’t matter if you have different gustatory philosophies, because a shared interest in food always helps two complete strangers bond!

#7 Make an observation. For this one, you need a quick wit and an observant eye. Making an observation can sometimes come off as insulting, which will then make the stranger tell you to mind your own business. But when pulled off effortlessly, the least you can get is a smile and a quick conversation.

For instance, if you’re a girl and you spot a girl wearing a dazzling shade of lipstick, there’s no harm in asking her what shade it is and where you can buy it. If you’re a guy and you want to talk to a lady, you can offer her your seat on the bus or you can let her cut in line in front of you. Little acts of chivalry are often welcome, and there’s no harm in being a gentleman. Really, any positive comment will be well-received and can certainly guarantee the good graces of the person you’re talking to. [Read: 20 signs of attraction in the first conversation]

Just because you don’t know someone, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t. Yes, it gets a little harder to meet new people as we get older, but it doesn’t mean you should shy away from starting friendships with strangers. We all have to start somewhere. If you see someone that piques your interest, and you’re not even sure why, find out by starting a conversation!

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Charley Reid
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