When it comes to having a conversation with strangers, many people feel pressured, either because they don’t know how to approach or because they don’t have the right things to say.
But, fear not! We have put up a list of tips that can help you if you’re an introvert, because extroverts don’t need to worry about talking. That’s what those outspoken folks do all the time!
But no shame though!
Introverts find it hard to speak up with their peers, let alone strangers. However, you can’t always depend on others to make the first move. Eventually, you must hone your social skills and approach people yourself.
You have to learn small talk!
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Small talk sets the groundwork for deeper conversations; this can help you with your personal life and career! Who knows? It may even score you a boo or a new friend.
How to approach a stranger
First off, you need to calm down. Calm your nerves! Remember positivity! Don’t go there and start fighting. Project your positivity through relaxed body language, smiling, and eye contact!
Start with a compliment
Who doesn’t love compliments? Even on your darkest day, that smile or “you look good” or “I’m proud of you” can go a long way.
Now we are not saying that you approach the person and start showering them with uncomfortable compliments. They may think you’re weird. Instead, say one nice thing about them. Do you like their crocs? Let them know that you love it!
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What better way to start small talk with a stranger than to introduce yourself?
However, please bear in mind that when you try to do so, don’t rush over to them and just say the words.
Start with “excuse me?”, and when the person turns, give a smile and then introduce yourself. “Hi there, my name is Toyin and I study mass communication”
This should also prompt them to share their name and a bit of information about themselves. Voila! You’ve said something! It should be easier from there!
This could be very useful especially if you’re in an environment where you can relate with such a stranger.
For example, if you’re attending a conference, ask the person next to you what they think about the event. This would also help to keep the conversation going.
Ask for advice
Let me tell you something – people love when others ask for their point of view. They are thrilled that you want to know what they think.
Asking for someone’s input is a great way to show humility and respect. In doing so, you trust their expertise.
Ask open-ended questions
Another excellent approach to starting a conversation with strangers is to ask open-ended questions. This strategy works best when you’re doing something similar and can ask about the other person’s experience.
Example: “Reviewing this script was particularly hard. How was it for you?”
In most cases, the other party should respond with their feelings or stories and there may be additional conversational topics for you.
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Offer to help
If you see a stranger struggling with a task, offering to help them is a great way to start a conversation.
You could say to the person “Are you going that way? Let me help you with that package”
But be careful, because some of them may be out to get you! Not everyone is looking for a conversation, they may just be looking for the next kidney or heart. If you know, you know.
This approach is best used when you’re in a location or situation to which your interesting fact directly relates. Don’t be in Access Bank and be telling facts about tomatoes.
When used appropriately, this technique can be highly effective for engaging someone new in conversation.
Viral videos are a very effective conversational tool, especially in Nigeria. If you use this strategy, ensure the video you mention is appropriate. Don’t make the person uncomfortable.
Hopefully, this will lead to a conversation about other interesting videos or pop culture topics.
Another opportunity to talk to a stranger is to comment on a shared activity or interest if it’s obvious. If you see a stranger wearing a T-shirt from your church, you can immediately strike up a conversation about it.
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Tell a joke
Another strategy you might use is telling a joke. Relax! Make sure the joke is relevant to the situation and something that would not put you in trouble!
How to start a conversation with strangers: Conclusion
You can either choose any of these tactics or just be straightforward with the person. Sometimes the best way to begin a conversation is to be direct about what you want or need.
Don’t be afraid. Take the bull by the horns!