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Handy conversation starters – the art of a good conversation

Two people have a conversation in a beer garden

By Jenny Williams, Digital and Content Marketing Specialist

We’ve all been there – you go to chat to someone new or get half-way through a nerve-wracking first date and your mind goes blank. Cue awkward silence and a possible confidence knock.

But, help is at hand! Memorise a few of these conversation starters or take them as inspiration to make up your own. Then, you can use them when talk dries up to revitalise a conversation.

Open-ended questions

The trick is to use open-ended questions. These are questions that can’t be answered with just “yes” or “no”. They tend to use words such as who, what, where, when, why and how.

  • What’s your favourite hobby/past time?
  • What’s your favourite food/drink?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What’s your favourite song/artist/band of all time?
  • What would be your dream job?
  • If money was no object, where would you go and what would you do?
  • If you could get behind the wheel of any car, which would you choose?
  • What was the last film you watched? How was it?
  • What’s your favourite memory from when you were a kid?
  • What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
  • Who is the person you most admire?
  • If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

Follow up

The aim of a conversation starter is to create a whole new branch of a conversation. So, once you have an answer, build on it.

For example, if you choose to ask someone about the last film they saw, you can then ask who was in it. Or, if you’ve seen it too, you can chat about your favourite scenes, character or actor.

Think up your own answers

It’s important to talk about yourself too or you’ll struggle to form a connection. When picking out a question from the list above, have a think about your own answer to each one. This will give you something to add to the conversation.

Be careful not to dominate the conversation and only talk about yourself. If you find yourself rambling, you can turn the conversation back to the other person by saying something such as “have you ever done something like that?”

More advice

You can find out more about tips for connecting with people – including body language – on our improving your social health post. We also have advice on boosting your confidence and beating loneliness.

We have lots of tips and advice on improving and maintaining social health on our support pages.

We’re here

If you’re feeling lonely, then Ben is here to help. You can ring our free and confidential helpline on 08081 311 333 or use our online chat.

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