Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to talk to a stranger, but you were absolutely petrified at the thought?
Maybe you were at a networking event and needed to make a good impression, or you were in a new city and needed help finding your way around. Whatever the case may be, we’ve all been there. We all sometimes feel afraid of talking to strangers.
Talking to strangers can be daunting. We subconsciously think the interactions with strangers will go badly because they don’t have much to offer, this is a misperception but it doesn’t have to be!
Following a few simple tips can quickly become a pro at striking up conversations with new people.
This blog post will give you our top tips for talking to strangers. So next time you’re in a situation where you need to chat with someone new, you’ll be confident and ready to go!
Why Talking to Strangers Can Be Beneficial?
In a world where we are constantly told to be weary of strangers, it may seem counterintuitive to think that meeting with a stranger and talking to them can have any benefits. However, research has shown that there are, in fact, many advantages to striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know.
One of the most significant benefits of talking to strangers more often is that it can help reduce social anxiety.
When you force yourself to talk to strangers, you are putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation that will help you feel more comfortable in social situations. Talking to people, you don’t know can also help improve your mood and mental well-being.
So next time you’re out and about, don’t be afraid to discuss it with the random person next to you. You never know; it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
We’ve all been there. You’re out and about, minding your own business when you strike up conversations with strangers. Maybe it’s someone you meet waiting in line at the grocery store or someone sitting next to you on the bus.
Strangers Are Friends You Just Have Not Yet Met
Here are a few reasons why talking to strangers can be beneficial:
1. You Never Know Who You’ll Meet
The world is full of exciting people; you never know who you’ll meet when you start talking to strangers. You might strike up a conversation with someone who is from a different country or who has an interesting story to tell.
2. It Can Help You Make New Friends
If you’re new to a city or town, talking to strangers can help you make new friends. You can learn about new places and things to do by chatting with people on the streets you meet.
It’s no secret that making friends can be tricky, especially as you get older. But talking to strangers is a great place to start if you’re looking to expand your social circle.
After all, every friendship starts with a conversation. So if you’re feeling shy, remember that the person you’re talking to is likely in the same boat. They may be looking for someone to talk to, just like you.
A study published in 2020 in Self and Identity found that people enjoyed chatting with strangers more than they expected to.
People initially were pessimistic and feared that they or their conversation partner wouldn’t enjoy themselves, dislike their partner, or even lack the skills to start and maintain the dialogue in the first place. The findings prove that these concerns are overblown, says Gillian Sandstrom, one of the study’s authors.
“The study found that when people spoke to a new person every day for a week, they became less worried about rejection and more confident in their conversational abilities,” says Sandstrom.
Other researchers reached similar conclusions. The University of Chicago psychologist Nicholas Epley and his then-student Juliana Schroeder found that commuters who spoke to strangers on mass transit had a much more positive and enjoyable trip than those who didn’t.
Conversations averaged 14.2 minutes, and talkers loved strangers, being pretty sure that the strangers might also have felt the same.
3. It Can Help You Practice Your Social Skills
Talking to strangers can be a great way to practice your social skills. If you’re shy, it can help you become more comfortable talking to people. And being an extrovert can help you learn how to communicate better with others.
4. It Can Make Your Day More Enjoyable
Talking to a stranger can help you forget your troubles and make your day more interesting if you’re having a bad day. You never know; you might brighten someone else’s day as well.
Talking to a stranger can do the trick if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up. A new study from the University of Illinois found that people who had just interacted with a stranger reported feeling happier than those who hadn’t.
5. It Can Help You Learn More About Yourself
Talking to strangers can also help you learn more about yourself. Listening to someone else’s story might give you a new perspective on your life.
6. It Can Make You More Creative
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, talking to strangers can help jumpstart your creativity. A University of Pennsylvania research has found that people who interact with strangers are likelier to come up with creative ideas.
When you meet with people working in the same industry you are in, you will get more ideas to work with and creates a sense of community.
So if you’re feeling uninspired, consider chatting with someone you don’t know. You never know where the conversation might lead.
7. It Can Help You Reduce Stress
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Talking to a stranger can help you relax if you’re feeling stressed. A study from the University of California found that people interacting with strangers have lower stress levels.
So if you’re feeling frazzled, take a deep breath and start a conversation with someone new. It could be just what you need to calm your nerves.
How to Approach a Stranger (Without Being Awkward)?
It can be tough to approach a stranger, especially if feeling awkward. However, there are some things you can do to make the process a little easier.
For starters, make eye contact with the person you want to approach. This will show that you’re interested in talking to them. Then, smile at them. This doesn’t have to be a big, toothy grin; a small, friendly, warm smile will do.
If the other person smiles back, that’s a good sign that they’re open to talking to you. If they don’t, don’t take it personally – they might just be having a bad day.
When you’re ready to start talking to the person, keep your body language open. This means facing them, keeping your arms uncrossed, and making sure you’re not fidgeting. It might also help to keep your voice low and relaxed. It would help if you don’t make strange facial expressions :-).
Finally, start with an icebreaker. This could be as simple as asking for directions, commenting on the weather, or making jokes. Just keep it light and friendly – you don’t want to come across as creepy or weird.
17 Tips to Start & Hold a Conversation with a Stranger
1. Find Someone Who Looks Open to Conversation
Well, all like to feel connected to other people. If you’re looking to start a conversation with someone, it’s crucial to find someone who looks open and willing to talk.
Here are a few tips on how to find someone who looks open to the conversation:
- Look for people who are making eye contact and smiling. These are usually good indicators that someone is open and friendly.
- Avoid people who look busy or preoccupied. They might not be in the mood for small talk.
- If unsure, ask if the person is open to chatting. Most people will appreciate your directness and will likely say yes.
2. Make Eye Contact and Smile
When you meet someone for the first time, what is the first thing you do?
You make eye contact with people and smile. It’s natural to start a conversation and put the other person at ease.
But there’s more to it than just making a good first impression. Making eye contact and smiling is also a great way to show interest in what the other person is saying. It shows that you’re engaged in the conversation and care about what they say.
It cannot be easy to make eye contact and smile all the time, but it’s worth it. It makes people feel valued and appreciated and helps build strong relationships. So next time you talk to someone, remember to make eye contact and smile.
If you want to meet someone, you should remove any eye coverings, such as sunglasses or a hat with a brim that covers your eyes.
3. Use Open and Engaging Body Language
When it comes to making a great first impression, body language is key. Open and engaging body language can make you appear more approachable and likable. In contrast, closed-off body language can make you seem uninterested and unfriendly.
To strike the right balance, aim to keep your body language open. This means keeping your arms uncrossed, maintaining eye contact, and facing the person you’re talking to. And don’t forget to smile! A genuine smile will go a long way in making you seem warm and welcoming.
Of course, it’s essential to be aware of the context and not overdo it – you don’t want to come across as too aggressive or overly friendly. But in general, open body language is a great way to make a good impression.
4. Show Your Hands
If you’re unsure what to do with your hands during a conversation, the “show your hands” method is always a good fallback. This involves simply holding your hands out in front of you, palms up, at about waist level.
It looks open and inviting and gives you something to do with your hands so that you don’t fidget or gesture nervously.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using this method. First, don’t clasp your hands together – this can come across as tense or unapproachable.
Second, ensure your arms are relaxed at your sides – if they’re stiff or held too close to your body, it will look like you’re trying to hide something.
And finally, don’t let your hands wander – if they start to stray, bring them back to the starting position. Beware to not keep your arms crossed.
5. Respect Their Personal Space
When you are talking to strangers, it is essential to respect their personal space. This means maintaining a comfortable distance between you and the other person and being conscious of their body language. If someone appears uncomfortable or is trying to move away from you, take the hint and back off.
Personal space is essential to everyone, but it can be crucial for people with anxiety or introverts.
Remember that everyone is different, and what makes one person feel comfortable may not work for another. Just be respectful and understanding, and you’ll make a good impression.
6. Say Hello
When talking to strangers, always say hello. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way in making someone feel comfortable and welcomed.
Saying hello is also a great way to start a conversation. You never know what you might have in common with a stranger, and a friendly greeting can be the perfect icebreaker.
So next time you’re out and about, try to say hello to everyone you meet.
7. Introduce Yourself
When you meet someone new, it’s always polite to introduce yourself. But what if you want to make a good impression and stand out from the rest?
Here are some tips on introducing yourself so that you seem confident, friendly, and like someone worth getting to know:
First, always smile when you meet someone new. It makes you seem open and friendly, and people are more likely to be drawn to you.
Second, make eye contact and try to keep the conversation light-hearted. Nobody wants to talk to someone who seems uptight or like they’re not enjoying themselves.
Finally, remember the person’s name after you’ve been introduced – it shows that you’re interested in getting to know them better.
8. Learn and Use Their Name
When talking to strangers, it is always polite to use their names. Not only will this make the conversation more personal, but using someone’s name shows that you are interested in getting to know them better.
Here are a few tips on how to use names when talking to strangers:
- When you meet someone new, say their name out loud. This will help you remember it better.
- If you forget someone’s name, don’t hesitate to ask them again. They will understand and likely appreciate that you care enough to want to get their name right.
- When introducing yourself, include your name so that the other person knows what to call you.
By following these simple tips, you can make sure that you are always using people’s names correctly when talking to them.
9. Mention Something in Your Surroundings
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with news of crime and violence, it’s easy to be wary of strangers. However, there are simple steps we can take to make sure we stay safe when talking to people we don’t know. One of the best ways to do this is to mention something in your surroundings.
This could be anything from the weather to a landmark you can see. By doing this, you’re letting the person know that you are aware of your surroundings and are not an easy target.
It also allows you to gauge their reaction; if they seem friendly and interested in what you’re saying, they’re probably harmless. However, it might be best to move on if you get a cue that they seem agitated or uninterested and don’t want to talk.
Only approach a stranger if you feel safe. If you feel uncomfortable or you’re in danger, go with your gut and walk away.
10. Bring Up General Topics
When talking to strangers, it can be helpful to bring up general topics. This can help create a more comfortable conversation and give you something to talk about if the conversation lulls.
General topics to discuss could include discussing the weather, current events, or popular culture.
If you’re unsure what to say, asking the other person about their day can be a great icebreaker. Remember to be respectful and mindful of personal boundaries when talking to strangers.
11. Avoid Negative Topics
When talking to strangers, it is essential to avoid negative topics. This includes topics such as politics, religion, and current events. These topics can often lead to arguments and hurt feelings, so it is best to don’t talk about them altogether.
Instead, try to find common ground with the person you are talking to. This can be anything from discussing your favorite TV show to discussing the weather. Find something that you both enjoy talking about and stick to that.
12. Give Them a Compliment
When you’re out and about, meeting new people, and striking up conversations, it’s always nice to compliment someone. It makes them feel good and puts you both at ease. But what do you say?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
When talking to strangers, please compliment them about their outfits or jewelry. It’s a great way to break the ice, and they’ll appreciate your eye for detail.
If you’re talking to someone who seems shy or down, tell them something positive about themselves. A kind word can turn their day around.
And finally, if you want to make a good impression, focus on giving compliments that are genuine and specific. “You have a great smile” is always lovely to hear.
13. Ask Them Open-ended Questions
When you’re talking to strangers, asking open-ended questions is one of the best ways to get to know them. These questions can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, they require the person to share more about themselves.
Asking open-ended questions is a great way to get to know someone new. It shows you’re interested in learning more about them and their shared experiences. And it allows you to learn more about their views and opinions on various topics.
As a mother I’ve learned, people love to talk about their children, so it a great topic to talk.
14. Share Things About Yourself
When you don’t know what to talk to a stranger, try sharing exciting but not too personal things about yourself. For example, you could talk about your hobbies, favorite foods, or where you grew up.
Avoid sharing things like your address or phone number. If the conversation is going well, exchange names so that you remember each other the next time you see each other.
Everyone goes through life with a unique set of experiences and views the world through their own lens.
The manner in which people react to various situations has little to do with us. It relates to past experiences and how people feel about things other than ourselves.
15. Discuss Common Interests
When talking to strangers, discussing common interests is always a good idea. This is a great way to find common ground and connect with someone new.
Observe your surroundings for instant commonality. You’re both there.
When you’re talking to someone new, please take a moment to ask about their interests. What do they like to do in their free time? What kind of music do they listen to? What are their favorite books or movies?
Finding things you have in common with someone new can be a great way to start a conversation and get to know them better.
So next time you feel awkward or shy around someone new, try asking about their interests – you might be surprised at how much you have in common!
16. Listen Actively
When talking to strangers, it’s important to listen actively. This means making eye contact, not interrupting, and paying attention to what the other person is saying.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in our thoughts and miss what’s being said, but by genuinely listening, we can connect with others on a deeper level. We might learn something new or gain a different perspective.
Make sure to focus by avoiding distractions like your phone. You can also show that you’re following the conversation by making short affirmations like “mmhmm” or “yeah.”
So the next time you talk to a stranger, take a moment to listen. It could make all the difference in the world.
17. End the Conversation After 5–10 Minutes
When talking to strangers, it’s best to end the conversation after 5-10 minutes. Here’s why:
Keeping a conversation going with someone you don’t know very well can be challenging. After a few minutes, you may feel awkward, or like you’re running out of things to say. Any first time casual talk with strangers generally lasts only a few minutes before someone wants to to move on.
Ending the conversation after 5-10 minutes is a polite way to let the other person know that you’re not interested in continuing the chat. It’s also an excellent way to avoid any uncomfortable silences.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you’re enjoying your conversation with the stranger and they seem interested and would want to keep the conversation going on, then, by all means, continue chatting!
But if you’re ready to move on, don’t be afraid to end the conversation after a few minutes.
How to End the Conversation Politely?
There are a few ways to end the conversation politely. One way is to say that you have to go. You can say that you need to use the restroom or that you need to get back to your friends. Another way is to say it was nice meeting them and then walking away.
You can always fake a phone call if the conversation gets awkward. Just pretend you got a call from a friend or family member and then excuse yourself.
Talking to strangers can have many benefits. It can help you meet new friends, learn about new cultures, and practice social interaction and skills. It can also be a fun and exciting way to spend your time.
I’m hoping this article will serve as a gentle reminder of our common humanity and inspire people to appreciate that human contact, no matter its with people that they don’t know or don’t know that well.
So next time you see a stranger, don’t be afraid to say hello.
FAQs | How to Become an Expert at Talking to Strangers?
What to talk with stranger girl?
There are a few things you can talk about with a stranger girl:
-What she’s doing
-How is her day going
-Her hobbies and interests
-Where she’s from
Is talk with strangers safe?
It depends on several variables. Speaking with strangers is generally safe, but there are always hazards involved. It is crucial to be aware of your surroundings and the people you speak with and to rely on your intuition if anything feels strange.
Can you talk with strangers?
Yes, I can talk with strangers. I’m a very outgoing person and love meeting new people. I think it’s essential to be able to talk to anyone, no matter if you know them or not.
But how long do you hold eye contact?
It can vary depending on the situation. In general, you should keep eye contact for a few seconds longer than feels natural to show that you are interested and paying attention to the conversation.
Do you have a fear of talking to strangers?
I used to fear talking to strangers but overcame it by practicing small talk. Now, I enjoy talking to new people and hearing their stories.
How do we best talk to strangers?
It depends on the situation and the people involved. But in general, it’s essential to be polite and respectful when talking to people you don’t know. Try to avoid talking about things that might be controversial, and be aware of personal space and body language. If you don’t know what to say, ask the other person questions about themselves or talk about the weather or current events.
How do you approach someone and start a conversation without feeling like the most awkward person in the world?
It depends on the people and the situation. But in general, it’s essential to be polite and respectful when talking to people you don’t know. Try to avoid talking about things that might be controversial, and be aware of personal space and body language. If you don’t know what to say, ask the other person questions about themselves or talk about the weather or current events.
If talking with strangers is so pleasant and so good for us, why don’t people do it more often?
People might not talk to strangers as much as they could for several reasons. Talking to someone they don’t know can be awkward or even scary for some people. Some people might be shy and prefer to be on their own. Also, some cultures are more hesitant to talk to people they don’t know, while others are more open and friendly.
What makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?
A few things can make us feel nervous or worried about talking to people we don’t know. We might be afraid to say the wrong thing or not know what to say. We might be afraid of being judged or turned down. Or maybe we don’t like to feel bad. No matter why it’s normal to feel a little nervous around other people. Just remember that everyone feels this way sometimes, and try to chill out and go with the flow.
Why can’t we tell when the stranger in front of us is lying to our face?
It’s hard to tell someone who is lying to your face for several reasons. First, people tend to be usually good at hiding their feelings, so they might not show it even if they feel guilty or nervous. Second, we tend to trust people like us, and liars often take advantage of this by acting friendly and trustworthy.
Why do I feel a sense of relief after a pleasant exchange with a stranger?
There are a few reasons why you might feel relieved after having a friendly conversation with a stranger. One reason might be that talking to someone new can be a nice break from your routine. Another possibility is that being friendly and making someone else’s day can make you feel good, especially if you’re having a hard day. No matter what the reason, it’s a great feeling!
You know that feeling when you finally get the courage to talk to someone but freeze because you don’t know what to say?
You know that feeling when you finally get the courage to talk to someone but freeze because you don’t know what to say?
- The Atlantic: Why We Should Talk to Strangers More
- APA: Speaking of Psychology: Why you should talk to strangers
- NY Post: Talking to strangers as well as friends makes you happier: Study
- Business Wisc: Talking to Strangers May Make You Smarter Than You Realize
- Standord Magazine: How to Talk to Strangers
- Lifehack: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward
- Science of People: How to Talk to Strangers Like a Pro (& Avoid Awkwardness)
- Science Direct: Talking to strangers: A week-long intervention reduces psychological barriers to social connection
Featured photo by Canva