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Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate

Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate
Start a Conversation
    Start a Conversation

    You are at the bookstore, and you suddenly glimpse an attractive person near you in the same aisle. You would love to initiate conversation but you don’t want to come off as cheesy, pushy, or desperate. You are not alone. Luckily, there are three very natural tactics to break the ice without sounding cheesy, pushy, or desperate.

    Ask a Help Question

    Try playing dumb. For example, next time you’re at a coffee shop with your laptop, you can ask anyone near you the innocent question, “Is your internet working? Mine seems really slow…” You may have the fastest internet connection in the world, but that doesn’t matter. Your sole mission is to start the conversation. If you successfully ignite a conversation, in the end, no one will care or remember how it started.

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    These help questions work well because they are safe and give you permission to pop the bubble that exists between strangers. The other person won’t feel awkward responding to something so innocent (and you won’t feel awkward asking!). Additionally, these questions are easy to answer. The last thing you want to do is force the other person to answer a challenging question.

    If they are interested in talking with you, you’ll know. If they respond with a terse, “Mine is fine” and look back down at their laptop, then you can take that as a closed door to conversation. If you receive a warm reception – even if they cannot help you – you have officially popped the bubble and are free to ask follow up questions. You could then follow up with, “Yours is? You’re lucky…maybe it’s just my computer… I really need to buy a new one…do you like your Toshiba?”
    You get the idea.

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    Let’s look at a few more examples. Remember, you may know the answer, but that’s not the point!

    At a convention or event: “This food looks good…do you think we can start eating yet?”
    Near a festival: “I wonder what’s going on down there?”
    Concert or convention: “Do you know when ____ is supposed to start?”
    In the city: “Do you know where I can find a Verizon store around here? Mine is giving me issues…”

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    What are You Thinking?

    If you prefer the more subtle route, you can try simple spoken out-loud comments. Next time you sit down in a public environment, trying saying something like, “Wow it’s cold in here…” or “I’m so glad this place has outlets…” Like the help question, these comments will never be remembered; they simply let others know that you are open to conversation. If someone else feels like talking as well, they will respond to your comment with their own comment (e.g. “Yeah, I was thinking that too.” or “Yeah I wonder if they are going to turn up the a/c anytime soon.”).

    Find an Accomplice

    What if you are not ready to fly solo? Sometimes it helps to find an accomplice for your ice breaking mission.

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    Go out with your friend, and start an interesting conversation near the stranger. Maybe you’re shopping for a shirt at your favorite retail outlet, and an attractive stranger is nearby. If you have an accomplice with you, then it’s natural to start a conversation about the shirt; talk about how you feel about it, how it looks, how much it costs, etc. It’s far easier to invite someone to join an existing conversation than to start from scratch. If you and your friend are debating whether to buy the tight red shirt versus the tight blue shirt, it’s a fairly easy segue to asking the stranger for their opinion.

    Talking to strangers doesn’t have to cause a panic attack if you keep the approach low-key and low risk.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

    Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

    So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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    1. Listen

    Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

    2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

    “Why do you want to do that?”

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    “What makes you so excited about it?”

    “How long has that been your dream?”

    You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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    3. Encourage

    This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

    4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

    After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

    5. Dream

    This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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    6. Ask How You Can Help

    Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

    7. Follow Up

    Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

    Final Thoughts

    By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

    Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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    Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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