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100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

There are tons of ways to introduce yourself to somebody, some more creative than others. I am a bit terrible when it comes to putting myself out there, though I’ve gotten a lot better in recent years. I am, however, great at observing people who are experts at breaking the proverbial ice, so I know what it takes to be good at it! Below you’ll find an eclectic range of conversation starters to break the ice, from the standard to the insane, and everywhere in between!

1. Hi, my name is [x], and I am not a bad person!

    2. Wouldn’t it be crazy if some random dude just came up to you and started talking? Hi, my name’s [x] by the way!

    3. Did you see that Game of Thrones episode last night?

    4. What do you think of our professor?

    5. Our teaching assistant is a real jerk, isn’t he/she?

      6. Nice necklace you got there, where did you get it?

      7. Those shoes are unique…why did you pick them?

        8. Whoa, I know I’ve never talked to you before, but your new haircut is sweet!

        9. What kind of accent is that, British?

        10. Are you taking this for a GE too?

          11. What’s your plan after college?

          12. Hey, I think I heard you talking about [insert TV show here]. What do you think of the current season?

          13. Do you know the readings that were assigned for this week?

          14. I ordered a textbook in the mail and it still hasn’t been delivered…would you mind if I used yours for a day?

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            15. You look mildly interesting; what’s your story?

            16. Cool shirt, what’s it referencing?

            17. Do you have any pets at home?

            18. What’s your favorite TV show?

              19. Cool laptop; is it easier to take notes on that than in a regular notebook?

              20. I couldn’t help but notice that you’re holding a 3DS…what’s your favorite game?

              21. This class is terrible, wouldn’t you agree?

                22. Didn’t I see you at that party last night?

                23. Hey, I think we’re both friends with [x]; what’s up?

                24. Based on your attire it looks like you workout a lot. What gym do you go to?

                25. Well, looks like we’re both stuck in this [insert miserable situation here], what’s your name?

                  26. I noticed you’re reading a book by [x], he/she is my favorite author! What do you think of it so far?

                  27. Woo, you look miserable. Need somebody to talk to?

                  28. So I saw you sitting alone at the bus stop and figured I’d introduce myself since I’m trying to be spontaneous. What’s up?

                    29. I see you at the dining hall/café all of the time; is it weird if I’m forward and introduce myself?

                    30. Cool phone you got there; is that the new model?

                    31. What are you planning to write about for this essay?

                    32. Aren’t we in the same [x] together?

                      33. Freshmen are so annoying, aren’t they?

                      34. So I was messing around in the mirror today; what do you think of my new hairstyle?

                      35. Do you like running? You look like a runner.

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                        36. Wow, you’re tall; you must be like 6’4” right?

                        37. Wow, you’re tiny; you must be like five feet tall right?

                        38. Do you play basketball? With that wingspan, you should.

                          39. Do you play football? You’ve got muscles on your muscles!

                          40. Did you hate your English teachers? Yeah, me too.

                          41. What’s your favorite historical era?

                          42. What do you think of [insert recent news scandal here]?

                            43. Are you a liberal or conservative?

                            44. What’s your favorite sports team?

                            45. Are you a fan of The Daily Show?

                            46. Do you think Obama is a good President?

                              47. What are some of the things you’re obsessed about?

                              48. Don’t we live in the same apartment complex?

                              49. Wait; didn’t we live across from each other freshmen year?

                                50. Hey, you’re that one guy that my other friends all know but I don’t! How’s it going?

                                51. You really are as funny as they say, you know that?

                                52. What are your work plans this summer?

                                53. Do you like the weather where we live? Because in my opinion, it’s way too hot/cold.

                                  54. I’m loving this rain! Are you?

                                  55. Hey, I see you just bought a book *points at your bag*. You know there’s another awesome book store located down that way a couple blocks right?

                                  56. Do you prefer lattes or cappuccinos?

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                                    57. Are you a tea person or a coffee fanatic?

                                    58. You should be a politician. Ever thought about it?

                                    59. Yo, you look just like this guy/girl I saw on TV! Know who I’m talking about?

                                    60. I’ve noticed you wear blue and shout “allons-y” a lot…are you a Doctor Who fan?

                                      61. Hey! I recognize you from High School! Except back then you didn’t know who I was. Well I’ll introduce myself, I’m [x].

                                      62. Those are cool aviators; you planning to become a cop?

                                      63. I can’t help but notice you’re still using Internet Explorer. WHY?!?!

                                        64. Do you like your iPhone?

                                        65. Oh hey! You have eyebrows, I have eyebrows; let’s talk!

                                        66. Watching Netflix in the library? I can relate.

                                        67. You look stressed; how can I help?

                                          68. Want to know something funny? Between you and me, my glasses are for show.

                                          69. What classes did you sign up for?

                                          70. Did you check out the ratemyprofesssor.com score for this guy? We’re in for a long quarter…

                                            71. Hey, we both worked at the same place for a couple months and never said a word to each other. What’s up with that?

                                            72. You look pretty unique; what’s your nationality?

                                            73. Is it just me, or does it seem like the rest of the people in our class/office are in a dreamlike stupor?

                                            74. Why doesn’t this room have air-conditioning? This is miserable!

                                            75. Nice hairstyle; what products do you use to keep it that way?

                                              76. Important question: is Folgers really the best part of waking up?

                                              77. *Tilts coffee in stranger’s relative direction* I see you need to caffeinate too. On a scale of one to 10, how desperately do you need coffee to survive in the morning?

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                                                78. Did anybody else here finish Mass Effect 3? Wasn’t that ending terrible?!

                                                79. You look like you know what’s up. Have any tips for me?

                                                80. Ooh, that’s a nice hoodie! What store did you find it in?

                                                81. You’re wearing converse too? Converse buddies!

                                                  82. Whoa, how’d you manage to break your arm?

                                                  83. Did you get taller since the last time I saw you?

                                                  84. Wow, did you start a workout regimen or something? I mean, I know I don’t really know you, but good job!

                                                    85. Just one question…do you happen to know how to work this thing?!

                                                    86. So…the Star Wars prequels. Like or dislike?

                                                    87. What’s your opinion of Mark Zuckerberg?

                                                      88. Even though I don’t really know you, your face is reasonably more familiar to me than the others in this room. What’s good?!

                                                      89. Can you finish this phrase? “I want to be the very best…”

                                                      90. So, about this California drought. Do you think they should still be planting lawns when it never rains?

                                                      91. What apps do you use most on your smartphone?

                                                      92. Would you agree with me that bow ties are cool?

                                                        93. How’s life?

                                                        94. Do you like being left handed?

                                                        95. Do you use Twitter or Facebook more?

                                                        96. Do you know [x]? Aren’t they incredibly annoying?

                                                          97. Want to hear my impersonation of our professor/boss/other authority figure?

                                                          98. That’s a nice car; what year is it?

                                                          99. Wow you type super fast. How many words per minute can you do?

                                                            100. Frankly, I’m tired of waiting. I’m [x], nice to meet you. Would you like to run away from me now? If so, be my guest. If not, how’s it going?

                                                            Featured photo credit: Agreement.jpg/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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                                                            Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                                                            What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                                                            What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                                                            When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

                                                            Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

                                                            It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

                                                            While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

                                                            Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

                                                            What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

                                                            How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

                                                            It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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                                                            People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

                                                            “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

                                                            In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

                                                            Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

                                                            As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

                                                            When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

                                                            It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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                                                            What are Interpersonal Skills?

                                                            Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

                                                            In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

                                                            From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

                                                            For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

                                                            Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

                                                            How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

                                                            There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

                                                            There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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                                                            Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

                                                            I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

                                                            Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

                                                            “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

                                                            Don’t overlook introspection.

                                                            While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

                                                            Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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                                                            When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

                                                            Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

                                                            “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

                                                            The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

                                                            The Bottom Line

                                                            You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

                                                            Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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