How To Overcome Problems Starting Conversations
Have you ever not introduced yourself to someone, because you had no idea what to say to them?
This is a problem which closes off a lot of opportunities for men, whether it’s flirting with the girl of their dreams, meeting a new business connection or simply having more fun at social occasions.
If you’re tired of being the shy guy who doesn’t go for what he wants, this is the guide for you.
First, we’ll go deep on the main reason you can’t open conversations and how to fix this. Then, we’ll provide five types of conversation-opener that work in almost any situation, as well some tips for never running out of things to say.
That’s all you’ll need to transform to the biggest extrovert at the next event you attend.
Here’s the problem: you’re focusing too much on what’s ‘good enough’ to say.
You never struggle to start conversations with your closest friends, because you don’t care how highly they rate your conversation opener. Yet, when meeting strangers, it’s common to want to impress them, especially when it’s someone you deem important. As a result, we judge the quality of our opening lines, and nothing ever seems ‘good enough’.
Here’s the magical fact that’ll change your life: nobody cares how good your opening line is.
It’s more important what mood you’re in. If you’re feeling confident and fun, this’ll show in your body language and people will want to listen. If you feel like you deserve to be in a conversation, others will usually feel the same and welcome you. This is called the law of state transference.
In any social scenario you can open a conversation saying that you hate pineapples or how Aladdin is your favourite Disney movie. You can also open with “Hello, my name is…” If you’re fun and confident enough, others will fall into your frame of thinking that’s an awesome thing to talk about.
There are two popular definitions of confidence:
The only way to gain either is to practice the activity.
Next time you’re at a social occasion, try opening conversations by saying something you find funny or interesting. Once you’ve started, stick in there as long as possible.
Sometimes it’ll feel super-awkward. The more this happens, the more you’ll gain the second type of confidence, because you’ll survive without anything awful happening.
Other times it’ll go really well. The more this happens, the more you’ll gain that first type of confidence, because you’ll see proof you can start a conversation with anything.
With enough experience of doing this, you’ll stroll into conversations without fear, knowing it’s mostly your attitude that’ll dictate how well it goes.
It really doesn’t matter what you say in the first instance. I’ve started enough conversations with ‘green dress’ or ‘I like grime music’ to know this for a fact.
Nevertheless, if you’re still in search of examples, here are five types of conversation-starter that work in almost any situation.
1. Direct opener
Explain why you wanted to start a conversation with them.
If it’s a pretty girl, compliment her appearance. If it’s a potential business connection you want help from, ask the question that’ll help you. If it’s a random stranger at a party you want to socialise with, introduce yourself.
2. Observational opener
Say something you noticed about the person or your immediate surroundings.
Offer an opinion or ask a question about it. Girls love when people notice something about their fashion or jewelery.
3. Functional opener
Gather information about your surroundings, perhaps by asking for directions or what the time is.
It doesn’t even need to make sense. I’ll always remember sneaking into a high-end fashion party and meeting people by asking: ‘do you know Felix?’. I didn’t know Felix. There was no Felix.
4. Opinion opener
These work best when crossed with observational openers.
“What do you think of this party?”
“Do you hate this song too?”
“Do you like my awesome T-shirt?”
5. Familiarity opener
Question whether you’ve seen the person previously.
“Have we met before?”
“Were you here last weekend?”
“You look like you’re from London.”
With each of these examples, you can transition into ‘By the way, my name is…’ and barely anyone will care what you initially said.
Even with all this advice, some guys might still be scared to open conversations because they fear running out of things to say. Here are four tips to prevent that from happening:
Jump to a new topic
Whenever a topic dies, just start a new one. People don’t care about the logical flow of a conversation, as long as they’re having fun. This is especially the case with women, who typically jump from topic to topic faster than a Family Guy episode. (If you’ve ever eavesdropped on two girls gossiping, you’ll know this is true).
Use word association
Take the major nouns from the last sentence you heard and talk about that topic.
If a woman says ‘I’m going on holiday to Italy next weekend’, you can say anything you like about holidays, Italy or next weekend, and it’ll keep the conversation flowing smoothly.
Use time travel
Conversations stuck in the present moment will quickly grind to a halt. Move them to the past or the future to keep them going.
With the woman travelling to Italy, you can mention about how there were riots there recently, or how there’s meant to be rain/sun/a volcano eruption in the near future.
Assumptions, not questions
The easiest way to keep a conversation going is by asking questions about the statement just made. But, if you want to spice this up a bit, turn them into assumptions.
For example, you could tell this woman you bet she’s going to Venice, or that you reckon she’s travelling solo.
Don’t be frustrated if you’re the type of person who struggles to open conversations. It’s a skill that becomes less nerve-racking with practice, just like anything else.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be an expert conversationalist in no time.
About Joe Elvin Joe Elvin is a lifestyle writer and confidence coach currently living as a digital nomad across Europe and Asia. You can download his FREE e-book 'The How To Be Fearless Masterclass' at www.joeelvin.com/masterclass