Small talk isn’t for everyone. Especially introverts, who find the practice tedious, wanting to get straight to the deep stuff without the empty conversations that typically start with enquiries about your weekend. So get over the idea that introverts just despise other people, and instead make yourself a better raconteur and conversationalist! Here are some conversation starters for introverts, and other people.
Okay, yes, it’s odd to suggest when meeting a person for the first time we should wail and weep about all our problems to them; that’s not what we mean at all! Instead, think of a practical problem that you can solve together, for instance the best route back to the metro station, recommendations for a nearby restaurant, or even a subject that your conversation partner might already be knowledgeable in. People generally love to help, and what better way to open up to someone than by getting them to share their knowledge?
We can hear you groaning through the screen, you know. But like it or not, hobbies are a great conversation starter to think about. Perhaps you have a shared interest in archery that you didn’t know about, or are planning your cosplay for a larping event at the weekend. It’s so much easier to speak about the things you love when nervous, than focusing on polite, surface stuff like the weather. Give it a try!
Food tends to be an easy go-to subject for most of us, and what better way to make a new friend of acquaintance than to do so by getting a recommendation for lunch! From favourite cuisines to disastrous cooking experiences, food is generally a safe place to venture if you’re not sure where the conversation might otherwise go.
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Music, books, and media
Everyone has a favourite something in one of these areas, and this can be a great neutral subject to start with that opens up the possibility for meeting like-minded people! Whether there is a podcast series you can’t hear enough of, or a new book that you truly can’t put down, these are all great subjects to get most conversations going.
Cat videos and memes
Okay, maybe this isn’t for everyone, after all there are people out in the world that do not like cats! Or memes… But there tends to be a video or meme that’s gone viral approximately every three seconds. Pick your favourite, gauge your audience, and share! Perhaps the conversation will spiral into why Youtube is a drain on creative people or why memes are becoming tedious and annoying, but hey, you got them talking, which was sort of the point!
Everyone has a location they would either love to visit or already have been to, and what better way to start a conversation than by trading travel adventures? If you’re a solo traveller or backpacker, you have an entirely different outlook to those who go only for luxury and prefer to travel in the company of friends. This is a great way to broaden your horizons, which is why we travel in the first place, right?
Depending on how deep you want to get, whether you’re clasping at straws, or are really invested in the subject, talking about the bigger things in life can be a great way to get a conversation started. This could be everything from the origins of life to anything extraterrestrial, and pretty much all similar things in between. It doesn’t have to be personal, but these are subjects that most of us have wondered about at some time. We all have theories and ideas; why not share them with someone new?
Life lessons and learning curves
Okay, so we don’t want to start a conversation as though we’re sprawled out on a chaise longue somewhere talking about things from our past. But, say for example you spot another not-too-eager to speak person waiting for the same meeting you are attending. Could you share a funny story about the last time you were in this building, or something from the last meeting, perhaps? A carefully-worded warning to sit down-draught of the air conditioning unit, for example, if you know the room, might earn you at the very least a grateful smile.
So these are just a few examples of things you can talk about that don’t involve the same old staleness of weather, politics, or religion. Which ones work for you?