How many of us are secretly terrified of having to strike up a conversation with a stranger? It’s a skill that some are seemingly just born with while the rest of us falter.
Try this the next time you’re in a situation where the choice is either to stand awkwardly in a corner or go up to someone and start chatting: Have an opener all set to go. Scripting your first sentence will take the pressure off. Here are some go-to first words; notice that many of the examples express curiosity, which people respond to more than talking about yourself.
- “How far did you have to come to get here today?”
- “So, what do you think about this food? What’s the prize winner so far?”
- “What would you normally be up to if you weren’t here today?”
- “Is this your kind of weather, or are you planning an escape from it?”
- “Feel like telling me the secret to having a good time at a function like this? I bet you have more experience with them than I do …”
- “This reminds me of my high school reunion—ever been to one?”