Don’t talk to strangers. It’s the piece of advice adults instilled in us as a safety precaution, but the more we’re told not to do something, the more we’re inclined to do it. It’s a fact.
To meet new people in school, you have to inevitably talk to strangers, so here are some creep-free ways to strike up a conversation with someone you just met:
- The Questions
I’m talking about: “How are you?”, “How are you doing?”, “What’s up?”, “When’s the bus getting here?”, “How long’s the line?”, “What time is it?” and even, “How’s the weather?”
One question leads to an answer and you can continue the conversation from there.
If you have something in common with a person – maybe a similar taste in music, TV or books– talk to them about it. Casually ask them a question or compliment them. See what they have to say about the finale of Breaking Bad, the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars, or the new Coldplay album.
- The Compliment
Who doesn’t love being told how great they are? Remember, flattery will get you everywhere and starting out with something positive will show someone how sweet you can be, and who doesn’t want to be around someone sweet and lovely?
Yes, I’m talking about you.
- The Act of Kindness
Other than a compliment, a small act of kindness goes a long way. Do something nice, like brightening a person’s day. Hold the door open; give someone change; help them carry something; remind people about homework or tests. Be the Ned Flanders of the world.
- The Lost Traveler (Asking for Directions)
People will always ask for directions. Not everyone is a walking GPS. When someone asks for directions, take the opportunity to engage in a conversation with them. It can be as easy as pointing out the right building on campus, or the right teacher; you could even share stories about your own experiences with getting lost.
Another option is to simply say hi and introduce yourself. It’s a great way to strike up a conversation. Besides, if you know their name, they’re not a stranger. Just aim to make a good impression and start the conversation from there.
Remember not to overthink or expect anything. People are unpredictable; you never know how they’ll react to what you have to say. Just make sure they don’t walk away, slam the door in your face or give you the hand (do people still do this?).
Now to you readers: have you talked to any strangers recently? What techniques did you use to approach them?