How to Get Someone to Talk to You
Starting a conversation can be tricky, whether it's with a casual acquaintance or a complete stranger. While making small talk might not come naturally to you, there are plenty of ways you can prepare for these kinds of situations. Once you're in a social situation, follow a few simple steps and you will be an excellent conversationalist who everyone will want to talk to.
Getting the Conversation Started
Be approachable.The more approachable you look, the better your chances are that someone will strike up a conversation with you. Make sure your body language communicates that you are friendly and open to meeting new people.
- Make eye contact and acknowledge the other people in the room. Don't look at your phone or turn away from the crowd. Look for people who return your eye contact and smile at them.
- Avoid wearing headphones or staring down at your phone while you're trying to engage someone. These are generally indicators that you aren't open to a conversation.
- Keep your arms loose at your sides. Crossing them will make you seem closed-off and unapproachable, even ifyou'refeeling social deep down inside.
- Smiling, tilting your head, and raising your eyebrows slightly are all subtle cues that you are friendly and approachable.
Make the first move.If no one has approached you to make conversation, you might have to take the first step. Depending on where you are and who else is there, you might approach someone who you have met in the past or a complete stranger.
- If you have met the person before, even if it was brief, ask a follow-up question to show that you remember your last conversation.
- If you haven't met them before but have something in common, use this knowledge to break the ice. For example, you could say, "Hi, you're Tom, right? My name is Jill. I heard that you've known my friend Jane for a long time."
- You could also try commenting on something about the environment or space you share. For example, if you notice they have unique decor at their desk, you might say, "Hey, I really like that frame you have. Do you have any recommendations for where to get pieces like that?"
- If you are in a business situation, introduce yourself, then tell them what you do for work. They will likely respond in the same way. If you want to continue the conversation, you can talk about career similarities or ask for an opinion based on their professional expertise.
- Regardless of the situation, you can always talk about any kind of shared experience, whether it is the school you both go to, a person you both know, or even the event you are both attending.
Ask to be introduced.If there's someone specific that you want to talk to at a social event and you're too nervous to introduce yourself, try asking someone else to do it. Depending on the situation, you could ask the host of the event to introduce you, or maybe a mutual acquaintance.
Ditch your fears about talking to strangers in public.A lot of people are terrified of starting conversations with complete strangers. This is probably because people assume that other people don't want to be bothered. However, studies show that most people are in a better mood after having a conversation with a stranger, so there's really no reason to be scared at all!
Embrace small talk.Small talk may seem boring and uncomfortable, but it's a great way to learn some basic information about the people who you're talking to. Once you know a little bit more about the person, the conversation can begin to grow and develop.
Know your purpose.If you just want to be social and get to know people, you can let the conversation develop naturally. If, however, you want someone to talk to you about something specific, you will need to steer the conversation in the right direction.
- Don't skip introductions and small talk, even if you have a specific purpose. The person will be more willing to talk to you if you come across as friendly and polite. Show some interest in how he is doing before you get to the purpose of your conversation.
- Make sure the person you want to talk to has enough time to talk about the topic. If the topic you want to talk about is private in any way, be sure the setting is appropriate as well.
- If you're unable to have the entire conversation then and there, approach the person, make some small talk, then mention that you'd like to talk to them about something specific when they have a chance.
Being a Great Conversationalist
Maintain eye contact.Let the person you are talking to know that you are interested in the conversation by continuing to make eye contact. If you are constantly looking in other directions, he might think you don't want to talk to him.
Listen and ask questions.People will want to talk to you if you show interest in their lives and what they have to say. Show them you want to get to know them by taking the time to listen closely and asking them to tell you more.
- If you're just getting to know a person, ask lots of questions about her work, her family, and her interests.
- Ask open-ended questions and avoid ones with "yes" or "no" answers. For example, instead of asking if they like sushi, ask them what they think of the new sushi bar.
- Frame your responses in reference to the other person. For example, if they tell you about their busy schedule, say, "You must not have much time to relax," instead of "I know what it's like to not have any downtime."
- You can also show that you are attentive and interested by interjecting with affirmative phrases, like "Uh-huh" or "Wow" while the other person is telling a story.
- When it's your turn to speak, restate key points or summarize what the other person was saying. This shows them you were attentive and care about what they had to say.
Know what topics to avoid.In addition to avoiding any controversial topics, you should also steer clear of talking about anything that might be a sore subject for your conversation partner. It's not always possible to predict this, but if you listen carefully, you may be able to avoid some blunders.
- For example, if the person says he was recently divorced, avoid talking about relationships. Instead, steer the conversation in a more positive direction.
Be positive.If you want people to enjoy talking to you, you need to make sure you have the right energy. Even if you're not feeling very positive, remember that the people you have just met do not want to hear about your complaints.
- Remember to keep smiling throughout the conversation. Laugh when it's appropriate.
- If you can't think of anything positive to talk about, ask the other person an open-ended question like, "What are you planning to do this summer?"
- It's okay to talk about serious subjects in certain contexts. For example, if you both know someone who's in the hospital, it's fine to mention that you're sad for her and hope she recovers.
Talk about yourself briefly.Whether you're trying to make friends or business connections, it's important that the people you are talking to get some sense of who you are. If you make an impression on them, they will be much more likely to talk to you the next time you see each other. Be wary, however, of oversharing details about your personal life or going on and on about your opinions.
- If you start to feel like you're dominating the conversation, look for a way that you can redirect it towards the other person. Ask something like, "What's your opinion on this?"
- Be humble when talking about yourself. Even if you've done something amazing, no one wants to hear you brag about it.
Don't be offended.If someone isn't interested in talking to you, try not to take it personally. The person may be distracted or may have had a terrible day, so it might have nothing to do with you. If you walk away with a smile, you show class and confidence, but still leave the door open to talk to that person at another time or place if you need to.
Bow out gracefully.When you're ready to end a conversation, it is polite to thank the person for her time or express that you enjoyed talking with her. If you won't be leaving the event, give a reason for ending the conversation. Try to do so before the conversation starts dragging on and becomes unpleasant for either party. You can say something like:
- "I've really enjoyed meeting you, but I just saw someone I need to talk to. Maybe we can continue this conversation later?"
- "I'm going to go get some food. It was so nice meeting you."
Getting Comfortable Talking to People
Stay engaged.If striking up conversations with people you don't know tends to cause you a lot of anxiety, try to remember that you are not alone. A lot of people get nervous in social situations, but that doesn't mean that they avoid them altogether!
- The only way to get past your anxiety is to keep putting yourself in new situations that challenge you.
- Keep in mind that no one else knows that you're not confident. If you swallow your fears and pretend to be confident, no one will have any idea that you were anxious in the first place.
Do your research.If you will be attending an organized social gathering, try to find out who will be there ahead of time. The more you know about the other guests, the better prepared you will be to converse with them.
- If it seems appropriate, you could research the invitees to a corporate event online and read about their recent projects. If you're attending a dinner party at a friend's house, ask her about the other people who'll be there.
- If you can't find any specific information on the people you're likely to meet, think about what they are likely to be interested or involved in.Use this information to think about questions you might ask them to break the ice.
- For example, if you are attending a social event at you university, you could ask people to tell you about their most interesting class.
Stay current.If you're worried about not having anything to say to someone, one of the best things you can do is to read the news and be informed about current events. If you know what's going on in the world and in your local community, you'll always have something to talk about, even if it's something as mundane as the storm you're expecting next week.
- Avoid getting political with people you don't know. Some people don't want to talk about sensitive subjects, while others might be ready to get into a heated debate.
Be interesting.This may sound easier said than done, but you really just need to be passionate about something in order to have a great conversation about it. Whether you're an avid world traveler or a movie buff, chances are you can think of a few interesting things to talk about.
- Focus on things that other people would be able to relate to in some way. For example, you could ask, "I love trying new types of cuisine. Do you have any favorite restaurants around here?"
- Don't plan out exactly what you will say. This will probably come across as scripted and awkward. You may also get caught off-guard if the other person doesn't respond exactly the way you expected.
Learn to read body language.Body language is extremely important, and the better you understand it, the more confident you will feel in social situations. Paying attention to body language will help you determine when it is appropriate to approach someone and when it is time to end a conversation.
- If a person is running errands or has his hands full, it's probably best not to approach him—unless of course, you're offering to give him a hand.
- If someone is disengaging from the group by reading, listening to music, or staying away from everyone else, there's a good chance that they don't want to be bothered.
- If the person you're talking to is fidgeting, turning away from you, or not responding to you, it may be a sign that you should end the conversation or change the topic.
- If someone is not returning your eye contact, it may indicate that he does not want to talk.
Try the slow talk technique.Slow talking helps you stay calm when you're nervous about speaking. It's a simple technique where you simply speak at about 1/3 of the speed you normally would. This helps nervous speakers sound more confident and keeps a conversation engaging.
- Practice slow talk at home by reading a book or text out loud. The more you get used to the pace, the more natural it will become.
QuestionMy friend is crying about something and I can not get her to talk. What should I do?Top AnswererJust be there for her as a friend. It's okay if she doesn't want to talk about it right now, or ever. If she's crying, hug her, hold her, and tell her it will be alright, even if you don't know what's wrong. What's important is that she feels your trust and comfort.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I become friends with a girl that never talks to me? I never talk to her and we both know each other but I have this slight feeling she doesn't want to talk to me. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry talking to her about something she can talk about too. If you know what she's interested in, or her hobbies, then ask about them. Hopefully you'll get her talking. If you don't know these things, then try to find out. Also, the ideal time to talk to her would be just after a conversation has finished, when she's by herself.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get someone to start talking to me again when he has stopped because of his girlfriend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust be nice and make it obvious you only want to be friends.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I make my best friend talk to me after a huge fight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can't force your friend to talk to you, but you can encourage her by saying you are sorry about the fight and want to talk. Have patience; it may take time for your friend to be ready to talk.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I become friends with a girl who has the same interests as me, but has only talked to me twice? I'm really scared she will be mean, even though we had one conversation about the thing.Top AnswererYou have the right to demand respect from everyone you interact with. If she's mean, just tell her you don't appreciate that. Beyond that, just have a few more conversations with her on this or any other topic. Plan to have at least three conversations, that will give you some time and reduce the pressure on the first one.Thanks!
QuestionI text the person I have a crush on every day with pages worth of writing and he only responds with "yes" or "okay." How do I get him to say more to me in response?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't text him everyday unless you and he are pretty close. He might think you are trying to throw yourself at him, he might feel pressured, or he might be a super busy person. If you know his interests, try and talk about his interests.Thanks!
QuestionI want to know a guy in my friend group better since I don't know him. How do I get to know him without making it wierd?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best way to get to know someone personally when you are always in a group setting is simply to text them. This is a great way to break the ice and learn about your common opinions and feelings, which can lead to becoming closer and much more casual and non-awkward conversations in the future.Thanks!
QuestionI've been close with my former camp counselor for ages. We have a natural bond, but I can no longer be a sweet little kid. How can I keep our 6 year friendship going?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell them how you feel. You can still be friends while being yourself. Everyone grows up and everyone changes as they get older. You could start the conversation by saying something like, "I'm kind of worried you'll always see me as a little kid," and then go from there.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I talk to my best friend when I broke his trust twice?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSay sorry. If he really is your best friend, he will forgive your mistakes. The least you can do is try!Thanks!
QuestionWe both like each other, but we want to know each other more. How do I form questions to build up the conversation?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake a game out of it. Let the other person ask you a question, and answer it. Then you ask one. This way you get to know the things you want to know, but also see what the other person is interested in.Thanks!
- Practice your conversation skills as often as you can. Before you know it, you will be such a great conversationalist that everyone will want to talk to you.
- Offering a compliment is also a great way to start a conversation, as long as it is genuine.
- Ask a friend for honest advice on your conversation skills. Don't take offense if she gives you some critiques; instead, try to learn from them.
- Never talk bad about a third party in order to build rapport, even if you're just joking. It comes off as mean and rude, and you never know if the person with the ridiculous socks is your conversation partner's brother. Jokes about the person you're currently talking to are also inappropriate.
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