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How to talk to strangers?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been trying to meet new people online but it feels like trying to get a blind person to notice you waving at them from the other side of the room so i want to try a different tactic and talk to people in real life.

I think im confident enough to talk to anyone but i have trouble just talking to a stranger for the first time. By that i mean that first line. Lets use an example as im bad at explaining stuff.

Lets say theres a cute girl working on the till at the shop. How would you initiate contact beyond hi? Im not looking for some cheesy chat up line but this person is a total stranger, i know nothing about them and they know nothing about me. Whats a way to break the ice?

If im introduced to them or put in a situation with them im fine, theres that something to start things off but without that i wouldn't know how to start a conversation with a total stranger. As i said, not looking for chat up lines, but whats some way to start?

I see people do it all the time, just chatting to totally random strangers in the oddest of places but i don't know what they say or how they do it. Once im over this initial hump i think i'd be fine chatting but i don't know how to introduce myself in a non weird way and get a conversation going.


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    Danny!Danny! Deactivated Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    Hi NeoNero.

    I think you're right about cheesy chat up lines - they only tend to work in certain situations!

    A lot of people struggle to talk strangers, and a lot just don't try. Which is fine if that suits you. But it's nice to be able to do if you want.

    So, going with your example of the cute girl at the till:
    • A surprising amount of people mention the weather. This demonstrates that you're friendly, and is an easy thing to say. The risk is that it doesn't necessarily lead to anything very open (i.e. person A: "sunny day today today isn't it?". Person B: "Yes, it is"!).
    • A more open simple question is just to ask them "how are you today?", or "how's your day?". This can be enough to start a conversation.
    • Or you could comment on something about the shop, or the customers, or something that you've bought .
    • You could also mention something that just happened to you, or that you heard on the news etc.

    Each of those, and other simple conversation openers, basically function as a way to show that you're interested in talking to someone. Of course sometimes someone is just at work and doesn't want to engage at all. But those kind of questions can give you just enough to go off. Following on with more questions is a good idea - show them that you're interested in them and want to find out more. They all have the advantage of being straightforward and friendly. Making eye contact and a smile will help.

    If you want to go towards the chatting up level without getting cheesy, then maybe go for compliments? Something quite specific to her is good. And genuine. Maybe you like her laugh, or accent, or the way she answered a question, or her hair, or some jewellery she's wearing.

    This might well be one of those things you have to try out and get used to. Maybe don't try and chat to the cutest girl on the till yet (which might make you more nervous). But just start by having some brief, random interchanges with people you come across and see that goes.

    Hope some of that's helpful :)
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