How To Start A Conversation With A Stranger When You're Shy

You'll be making new friends before you know it.
Chris Cheadle via Getty Images

Whether you’ve moved somewhere new or simply want to expand your friendship circle, often the only way to make a new connection is to talk to a stranger.

Of course, knowing how to kick off the conversation can be difficult, especially if you’re shy.

To help, people on Reddit have been sharing their top tips for taking the plunge.

1. Find A Mutual Interest

“I fly a lot and I’ve found that picking up a newspaper and doing the crossword with whoever is next to you works wonders. Does not work well if you’re sitting next to infants.”

2. Use Your Surroundings

“Start with something happening or visible around you. It feels natural to the situation and seems like two strangers talking about something around them. Going with a generic conversation starter [about] nothing makes you seem kinda weird, pointing to something and making a comment about it might draw them in a little more.”

3. Stick To A Tried And Tested Method

“In the UK, just say anything about the weather.”

4. Have A Moan

“Nothing brings people together quicker than mutual hatred of something.”

5. Ask Questions

“At a bar? Person with a fancy drink? ‘Ooh, what’s that?!’ At a bar? Person with a cigar? ‘Ooh, what’s that?!’ At a bar? Person with some food? ‘Ooh, what’s that?!’”

6. Say Something Random

“I like starting off with a random shower-thought. It often makes people laugh! Just yesterday I told a co-worker: ‘Would a surprise party be the ultimate offense to my detective cousin?’”

7. Pay Others Compliments

“I live abroad and talking to strangers is literally the only way to meet people here, so I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I usually compliment someone... and am genuine about it.

“It has worked for me 9/10 times because most people can recognise if you are being genuine or not.

“For example, if a girl has killer shoes, I’d say something like ‘those are killer shoes!’ then a 5W question (who, what, where, when, why).”

J. K. Rowling

Famous Introverts