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How to start and maintain a quality conversation with a stranger?

Image credit: https://www.verywellmind.com/thmb/Z5powBiCf38NkYEqJt5N7uebE-U=/768x0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/GettyImages-185744225-565bbfbe3df78c6ddf5ce370.jpg

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Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 23, 2020
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Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

From your experience, what works for engaging in real-life conversations with unfamiliar people? How would you minimize small-talk? Or is it a necessary component?

Developing this social skill is especially relevant in more northern countries, where social distancing is a norm not only during pandemics. This also might become more and more relevant as we descend down into the rabbit hole of virtual communication. But it was and will be relevant for everyone for simple expansion of your social bubble, refreshing the mind with new ideas/perspectives, developing tolerance and compassion, and numerous other benefits.
12
Creative contributions

Benevolence is key

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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic Oct 23, 2020
Considering you're a guy, somehow demonstrating benevolence will put you halfway past the person's "stranger shield". A non-threatning bodylanguage and comfortable physical distance will help.

Being accompanied by a pet or a child lowers the shield because you are seen as a caregiver - thus defacto benevolent. This could also be demonstrated with props - show up in a bird costume and nobody will fear you:)

Talking to people in safe environments with other people around will make it easier.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
I'll put on a bird costume next time I will want to chat with a stranger :D No, but really, this is a good idea, not only to imply benevolence as you point out but to make your own day more playful and joyful. This way you won't even need to start conversations yourself I suppose :D Although there are two sides to it because people might just think you are a nut if they won't find a rational reason why are you wearing it, so benevolence is a slippery thing in this contex :D Also including some charismatic/fun accent in your outfit might be useful and less dramatic.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
You could dress like a bird for science to test your hypothesis. Then approach a 100 people in the costume and another 100 without it:) This would work for you on several levels:

1. you would have a genuine reason to dress like that
2. rejections would hurt less because it's science and every result is ok

The title of the research paper could be "The big bird strikes (a conversation) again"🙂
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
Darko Savic😂
By the way I've done something similar ~10 years ago. I walked around asking people "Is this a dream?". The results were that around 30% said either "I don't know" or that it is:)
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Spontaneous acts of good

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J
Juran Oct 24, 2020
As a part of being benevolent, spontaneous acts of good can give you a shortcut to people's trust.

Somebody dropped something, you help them collect it. People forget their wallet on the counter, you give it back to them. Honest compliment, random good works (feeding a stray dog, helping an older woman crossing the street), it all helps people perceiving you as a good person and not a threat. If the right person sees it, you can then use it as your entry ticket to their world.

So, what you need is a routine of making small nice things to people, good timing, and/or a good fast and creative scenario planning ;)
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I speak if I have what to say

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Anja M
Anja M Oct 25, 2020
From my experience, I have never generally been a small-talk person and am still pretty awkward and annoyed if I have to do it, so I approach people when I have something meaningful to say, or they say something first and spur further inspiration for a talk. On the other hand, although this is generally a positive trait, there are still people who can misinterpret this "open" behaviour for "egoism" or "too much extroversion", for example, so I guess the tone and word selection on your end can help diminish the chances of such a misunderstanding. However, this is killed in written, online communication, so people usually resort to emoticons, asking many sub-questions to assure they understood each other, and so on.

On the other hand, if I consider the opposite end, the end of the "approacher", there is always that slight fear that you would maybe look stupid or be rejected, (or just "seen" if it's a written communication), etc. Especially if the topic considers something requiring certain knowledge.

But I guess it is still better to try, even if the first couple of opening sentences are from the small-talk area, if you are really interested enough to talk to a certain person, than "forever hold your peace". :)
And that's how we may come to the full circle that small talk can actually be quite useful for filling the voids of social awkwardness. If people have what to say and want to talk, they will quickly surpass the small talk time and proceed building up something more substantial from it. If not, they are either boring or disinterested to talk to each other, or both. :)
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Confidence, feelings, and card games

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Oct 26, 2020
I believe that in most cases small talks can be reduced to the minimum or even skipped.
Given that you are confident enough and up for it, the result is mainly dependent on the other person. Confident enough is a very important step: if you are not, you'll be categorized as a creep in less then a minute

Talking about feelings or feelings-tackling topics always works for me. Some examples: "When is the last time you cried?", "Why do you think your last relationship ended? Have you learned anything from it?", "Which of the dreams you had as a kid you managed to realized and which not?". Also, literally any sex-related question. I also think is good to introduce these kinds of questions with something like "I have a personal/weird/unusual question for you". It lowers your chances of being seen as a creep. If people shy your question out, you can try to very sincerely answer it first. The most vulnerable the better, they'll probably meltdown their small talks wall.

If you don't feel confident, or you have reasons to believe the other person will struggle very much with the upper approach, you can try by explicitly introducing your sincere desire of skipping small talks and propone one of these activities:
  • answering the 36 questions to fall in love, which I'd say are good even if you are not looking for something romantic
  • so cards, a card game built to skip the small talks
  • we are not really strangers, same as above
Also going to Skip the small talks events work most of the time pretty well.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
I found the approach with direct personal questions a bit hard to imagine to work in a real-life situation. There should be some kind of building up to it at least. You can't just approach a person and ask: "What was the last time you cried?". If there's no natural building up to that, then you would have to introduce yourself as doing some sort of social experiment or something. A much more natural way is to start a simple improvised conversation and if you see that a person is not into talking, there's no need to continue, but usually, you can guess this in advance from their sight, body language, etc.

You can simply say a compliment that you really mean, maybe you like their style, element in their outfit, etc., and this could be a good starting point. So no need for small talk, but also going straight into those types of very personal questions isn't a good strategy either in my opinion. It might be a good strategy with someone unfamiliar in a familiar setting, like a person you like and think they might like you too in a common party, but even in that case there should be some introduction into that, like a get-to-know-each-other game or an honesty challenge, etc., just it might go much more smoothly. But definitely not directly with a completely unfamiliar person on a street or in a coffee shop.

Also about confidence, I don't think you need that much confidence. You need guts to try and start the conversation, that's for sure, but if you need to pull it all the way through with your own effort then maybe it's not worth it. People will see that you want to talk, you are brave enough to make the first move, that you are afraid but still doing it and that's maybe even better than being very confident because they'll see you're honest and vulnerable human just like them.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
The 36 questions to fall in love is a pretty cool collection👍
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
Martina Pesce I like the suggestion of "showing vulnerability". It is true and works most of the time. It is significant on its own and I suggest converting it into a separate suggestion.
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Practice on people in the service industry who are not really interested in you

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 12, 2021
People in the service industry ask you the "hi how are you?" type of questions on autopilot. They are not actually interested in you. This is a good opportunity for you to practice and see if you can jolt them out of autopilot mode. Can you spark their interest in what you have to say?

Come up with a way to accomplish all of these simultaneously:
  • think you are interesting (what is something they never hear?)
  • make them feel at ease with you (upbeat attitude, smiling, etc)
  • make them want to ask a follow-up question (there's your mini conversation)

Just like standup comedians write and practice the delivery of their jokes, you can design a short conversation starter that gets someone who is not interested in you to actually want to talk to you.

  1. Imagine the words/attitude
  2. Test them out on a few service people
  3. Take what worked, change what didn't
  4. Test again
  5. repeat as many times as you need to get better at it
By playing this "game" with yourself you get to build your conversaton skills and insight.

Next, create and perfect a few good routines that often work.

Next, wing it. You can't use any routine but have to apply your skills on the spot.
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Povilas S
Povilas S6 months ago
I remember this "Hihowareyou" was a pain when living in the UK. They use it pretty much instead of good afternoon or good evening, etc. And especially various service people do that almost always there. It's a nice thing on one hand, but coming from a different cultural background you get pretty confused and often annoyed about it because they obviously don't mean the question in any real sense and you don't want to play the game just by answering "good", cause it doesn't feel right. And even if they do mean it, and you would be willing to start discussing your sensitive life topics with them, there's a row of people waiting behind you just to finally get their groceries :D So it's a bit tragicomic when you think about it.

It's best to do such a practice in a situation when there are few customers in a shop or just you and the vendor, before closing time, etc.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic6 months ago
Povilas S I had the exact same thoughts in Australia🙂
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Start by writing (texts, chat) to the person

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 26, 2020
While texting, you need to worry about only one aspect of communication - your words. As opposed to that, when you meet someone in person, you need to worry about your appearance, the environment, the expression on the stranger's face, and the dynamics of all of that constantly changing with your conversation. Together, these things might be too much to handle. Talking via texts is easier, you have time to think before you reply, which allows you to choose better words. And you don't have to worry about the other things mentioned above. This works even better with strangers. They don't know you. They have only your words to judge/ misjudge your intentions - fewer things to go wrong. You may encounter more people online than in person these days. You cannot directly ask someone to meet you. It is better to get acquainted online first.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
I agree with what you say and even more so because I'm the type of person who prefers texting over speaking, exactly because of what you said - you have more time to think about what to write, but that's one of the reasons I created this session - I would like to advance in the opposite direction and even more so with strangers, cause that's interesting and challenging:) So by a conversation I meant real-life conversations, I indicated that in the description of the session, but of course this might be a broader topic and for some people, advice on any kind of quality communication might be useful:) The interesting thing here is that some people really prefer speaking over texting. They even say they dislike texting, you can even make that into a bit humoristic sorting of people into two categories like with "cat person", "dog person", - "texting person", speaking person". Put some more categories and it's a start of a new personality assessment test:D
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Body language and some patience

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Antonio Carusillo
Antonio Carusillo Oct 26, 2020
Speaking from my experience, body language may help a lot when talking to people.
Most of what I will tell you, I have read it (and practiced it) in diverse books and a recommended one would be “ What Everybody is Saying “ by Joe Navarro.

Most of my experience is rather related to talks with strangers in libraries or at conferences
(at coffee breaks).
Personally, I am a very shy person but on such occasions, I try to hide it by assuming a very “open” posture. Usually, a shy (reserved person) would try to minimize their stance by keeping their hands in the pockets and curl the shoulders in a shell-like posture. This is clearly a sign of a person who wants to keep a low profile and does not want to be engaged with anybody else. An open stance, on the other hand, shows confidence (and in some instances, a sense of authority). So, upon addressing a stranger I always keep my hands out of the pocket and clearly visible (which as you know back in the Medieval age was also a sign that a person was holding no weapons and so was not a threat).

At this point, the first thing I do is usually make eye contact.

Now, this point is also important.

There are some signs that are also indicative of the other person's reactions:

- Eye movement: you can see if the person likes you (or appreciate you coming closer) by the way the eyes move. Eyes, well open and eyebrows lifting up indicate a “pleasant” surprise, interest. While eyes getting narrow or even “blinking” is more a sign of discomfort (“who the hell is this person?”). This helped me in some instances to decide whether or not to pursue my “approach”.
- Posture: this is easy. If the person notices you and turns in another direction there is a clear sign they don't want anything to do with you.

If I can pass this first filter then my next move is to introduce myself.
I do not see the point to start a conversation with a stranger. So, I would at least tell my name to start making it personal. Also, a name tells already something regarding your country of origin (or at least the influences).

As already said by others, I won’t ever approach somebody without nothing to say.

No awkward silence.

So, introduction and then get right on the point. The person has to know that there is a reason why you approached him/ her: are you working on the same topic? Are you reading a similar book? Did you notice her/ him having trouble with something?

Once that the conversation starts, look for signs that tell you when the conversation should be over:
- Is the person checking their watch?
- Is the person looking around (maybe for someone he/ she is waiting for)?
- Is the person pointing with part of the body (usually the feet) somewhere else?

If I notice such behavior, I would usually ask if the person has time constraints and whether it would be possible to continue the conversation via email or telephone.

Forcing a conversation is never an option. Better to say a few lines and then have the chance to continue later than start talking random topics (the weather, your CD collection, the awful flight you had on your way to the conference… ) in order to get the conversation going. Live to fight another day.
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salemandreus
salemandreus4 months ago
I have found this importance of clarifying to be important in many instances. Social media often impresses upon us the fear-based need to avoid or engage in conflict head-on to a very polarising degree in what is basically a fight-or-flight response, where we forget that clarification and nuance are a thing even in our in-person interactions (likely now more than ever due to so many of us being forced to keep our engagements to online forms for over a year due to the need for social distancing).

It was mindblowing to me to learn that my old habit of walking on eggshells around people when they displayed what I perceived to be a strong emotional outburst in order to not cause them distress was not the only way or even necessarily the most effective way of dealing with triggering conversations. My friend had a way of remaining calm and instead of avoiding a triggering topic, would simply pause what she was saying and check in calmly and respectfully if the person was feeling ok or wanted to stop the conversation. Having someone be this mindful and conscious about conversation made me realise that there were some conversations which I subconsciously found distressing which prompted automatic negative emotions and shut-down responses in me, but when explicitly asked I became aware that I actually DID want to engage with this subject, sometimes in a slightly different way or sometimes in exactly the same way, I simply had not realised or properly acknowledged I was responding or feeling that negative response. So it is possible that people’s body language may reflect a subconscious inclination or processing but when asked they may actually not really want to end the conversation, or might need a moment to think about it and potentially add some boundaries or a slight change of course to the conversation without shutting it down. Alternatively, they may seem to be just fine if they do not show their emotions outwardly, or may be articulating a message you interpret as having different connotations, which are more of the underpinning reasons for that need to clarify.

So far, in being a support and counsellor to someone who has been through similar situations to mine and learned similar avoidance responses I'm finding that it has been helpful to explicitly centre the person's comfort if they seem agitated, and ask them directly if they are uncomfortable or would like the conversation to change, instead of me avoiding the topic out of assumption that that is what they want. This is contextual and assumes the conversation was consensual and appropriate, to begin with (in this case the nature of the conversation is by prior request from someone who is already my friend and is not unsolicited), as people can also indicate that they are not interested in a conversation or it might be situationally inappropriate - I am talking more about maintaining conversations here, not the initialisation of a conversation where one has not established that the person even wants to talk ).

So all of these are factors to reemphasise why this explicit clarification you mentioned is so crucial and that the body language analysis itself should not be entirely relied on but is simply an initial alert - just like our own emotions, how we interpret other people's responses indicate something is up, not generally a surface-level interpretation.

In regular conversations, clarification is vital, even though unlearning fear-based fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses to avoid confrontation (especially during the ongoing anxiety of a pandemic!) can be difficult for most of us, as that instinct has kept us alive through most of our evolutionary history!
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salemandreus
salemandreus4 months ago
Related to this phenomenon of body language analysis failing: the other day I had an amusing interaction with my flatmate (a psychologist) who asked me to list a few things but was actually trying to analyse my body language responses to it. He then explained that given my eyes did not move in any direction and I did not make any illustrative hand gestures but simply answered his question directly and he had to ask more specific questions as he did not get the answers he was looking for, hence our interaction had failed because I did not know he was looking to analyse my body language for additional context. Hence I ask him to be specific and direct in his questions.

There seems to be a part of us as humans which is often tempted to mistrust people's actual words and think there is some way to find "the truth" about what they are "really" thinking - it's that same part of us which expects bad news to be the truest (negativity bias) but also is drawn to unsolved mysteries and which makes conspiracy theories and scepticism more attractive than widely undisputed news even if the news is dramatic and the facts hard to deny. Possibly this is a fear instinct in humans which tries to plan for the worst interpretation and ends up assuming it to be true.

Hence the need to explicitly confirm with the person whether we interpreted the signs correctly - (although anyone who watches Hollywood movies/series will be aware they tend to discourage the double-checking aspect of communication. ;) )

Despite the sometimes amusing situations though, like the situation with my flatmate, I've found that being honest about what I don't understand from the question helps a lot - it's illustrated to me that communication really is a two-way street, and likewise I have learned to more explicitly check-in whether people understand me too and also double-check our non-standard terminology if something seems off - that we share the same definition or contextual information about a topic before I assume anything about their understanding and learned means of expression, let alone their intent! Many people have unlearned the instinct they had as children to ask clarifying questions due to it being discouraged, but if we could get that back, I reckon that would help solve a lot of societal miscommunications!

If you think about it there can be a lot of “broken telephone” to this process if we rely on it entirely: we try to glean information through our own interpretations of the other person’s responses - this is already a subjective deduction based on subjective understanding of what is important information and what is not, while also making the assumption that what we perceive is actually what they are communicating - this is already 2-3 layers of translation and abstraction of information where information can be lost.
But even further than that our implications are made with the assumption that they have understood our underlying question (not even the explicit question we asked!) and interpreted it correctly from sharing the same contexts to interpret from (which is several more layers of translation and abstraction!)! (I think my nerdy linguistics obsession is showing at this point 😂).
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salemandreus
salemandreus4 months ago
My comment may have implied differences in body language were more specific to neuroatypical people, but they certainly are not universal even among neurotypical people, the eye contact example was just something with which I have a lot of experience.

Many people in general have different interpretations of body language or tone or do not express themselves according to a universal pattern. Our own interpretations can be fairly subjective to our own personalities and preferred communication styles.

For example, I might have a particular negative experience of people who use wide gestures in their body language due to that reminding me of some dislikable individual I know, and then make the personal judgement that they are less considerate of the space of people around them and perceive all of their gestures as more arrogant and less receptive, viewing the “open” body language as displays of entitlement and disregard for the space of others, rather than approachability and humility. Some people find themselves more comfortable if someone is particularly aware of their personal space, others might find it cold and distancing.

Which leads onto also cultures we've been raised around - I have found that some cultures are a lot more comfortable with physical touch as part of everyday communications and interactions, such as putting one’s hand on someone’s shoulder while squeezing past them in a food market, whereas for others touch of any form is a shocking taboo.

There are also the norms expected of different races, genders, etc based on societal perceptions. For example a woman raising her voice in conversation is more often perceived by society as less threatening than a man raising his voice in conversation due to our expectations of people based on how we perceive their gender (and again, these are also culture-specific).

Just more general reasons why it is so essential to do those follow-up clarifications when we do observe people's body language. 👍
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to start: breaking in someone else conversation

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Nov 03, 2020
Often happens to overhear a very interesting conversation between a few strangers. Exactly because you find it interesting, is gonna be very easy for your enthusiasm to come through while asking if you can join the talk. I believe that in this situation it's very important to apologize for both interrupting and having heard without permission what these people were talking about. With the apologies, you partially take apart the creep factor and with your sincere enthusiasm, you create the connection. Also, the non-verbal communication of the group will very easily make you understand if you are welcome or no. If people are happy to have you in the chat they'll tell you to join with a smile, overwise an embarrassed silence along with a not very convincing invitation to join will make you understand they are just been very polite.
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Povilas S
Povilas S7 months ago
It's true that you can hear interesting conversations of strangers in public. I was once collecting interesting/funny phrases, bits of conversations I happen to hear in public places. It would make a pretty good book I think, could be titled "street quotes" or something like that. But it would take a long time to collect enough of them. The good ones don't happen when you intentionally look for them:)
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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce7 months ago
Povilas S I think you should turn this comment into an idea and make it a collaborative book ;)
You will see all the brainstormers going around with a notebook!
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to start: preventing the threatening instinct

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce Nov 03, 2020
The small talks at the beginning of interaction are there because we have an instinct of being scared. That is so true that when we walk to the street every time we cross a person we instinctively drop our look to them, to show that they should not fear us.

So, to skip the small talk we could use something else which reassures the need for safety.
Let's try to think of some examples.

As I suggested also in another contribution, starting by saying "I have a weird question for you" could work well, and is probably sufficient in a not completely unknown setting, where the level of feeling threatened is surely low.

If the context and people are completely unknown, then the fear level would be higher and may need stronger reinsurance, like "hey, I'm sorry I was staring at you a bit ago, I know I must sound creep but I really just liked [whatever] and it made me feel like I want to know you better. I really hope I'm not disturbing you and that this doesn't make you feel uncomfortable.



Thanks to @Povila, he stimulated me to think more on this point with a comment

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Povilas S
Povilas S7 months ago
"...when we walk to the street every time we cross a person we instinctively drop our look to them, to show that they should not fear us." Haha this probably depends on the culture. In Lithuania, it's more usual to avoid such looks:D Sadly.

What you say about somehow imposing safety closely relates to Dragan Otasevic's contribution about benevolence. This really seems to be one of the most if not the most important aspects in this context. So it's useful to come up with many different ways to do it. Another session could be built around this - creative ways to show benevolence.

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Martina Pesce
Martina Pesce7 months ago
Povilas S the draft it's already taking shape!
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Be the distraction :)

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 03, 2021
When people fall (literally), they gain quick attention. If you are really desperate to start a conversation, be the distraction. There are infinite ways to do that like sleeping and then pretending to fall while traveling (in a bus or a train). Nearby people always come to help and they start the conversation by asking are if you okay and so on.

I think this is the oldest trick but still works if you do it right.

This is just to initiate a conversation. Maintaining it will require a different skill set.
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Povilas S
Povilas S6 months ago
Yes, this is a pretty good suggestion, it fits with what Dragan Otasevic have suggested about putting on an excentric outfit - it attracts attention, just that your recommendation involves a bit of white lying - pretending, but this fits into the comedy perspective I was talking about:)
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Simple honesty might be enough

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Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 29, 2020
Even though honesty is essentially the simplest way of talking, but it's often also the scariest, therefore the one that is the most challenging to proceed with. We wouldn't need to think about what to say if we were courageous enough to say what we think. Of course, there should be integrity in operation, because we happen to think all kinds of things, not necessarily nice ones. But honesty for me is exactly that - openness + integrity. However, when it comes to unfamiliar people we are often afraid of speaking nice or neutral things that are true too. We fear rejection, awkwardness, shame, etc. Nevertheless, it's a very beneficial thing to practice.

Speaking about practical examples, you might simply say to a person why did you decide to speak with them. You might say that they caught your attention and why, you might say that you like them and wanted to talk to them or that you simply want to improve your social skills and are practicing talking with strangers, which you find to be a useful and challenging activity. Whatever is the case. My friend told me how in one seminar for improving social skills the lecturers emphasized that two main things people want to know when a stranger approaches them is who you are and what you want from them, therefore it's the best to start directly from that, you might want to first introduce yourself and say what your true intension is. That is honesty.

PS: Just a very nice social experiment that fits the session.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia year ago
That is a good idea! I like it when people take me on face value - understand what I say the way I say it. But not everyone thinks that way. Some people enjoy the subtlety with which you can come to the point. Some people like to know more about the person than what they have to offer. Some people just want to be impressed. We then need to come up with all sorts of beating around the bush without sounding stupid.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni "need to come up with all sorts of beating around the bush without sounding stupid" 😂 That is the definition of human communication:D
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Watching comedy to loosen up

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 01, 2021
I've noticed that when I watch really good comic content (be it a movie, a tv series, animation, or anything of that sort) that comic mood tend to persist in me afterwards for a while and it's easy (and fun) to project it on the outside world and in social situations. This means simply taking a perspective as if people and circumstances you encounter on a daily basis (including yourself) were part of a funny act. This is not far from the truth anyway, when you think about it, we just (pre)tend to be serious and project that perspective onto others. Apparent seriousness is one of the basic elements in comedy used to make things more funny, e.g. telling a joke with a straight face.

This is very helpful for all sorts of social interactions, including and perhaps especially for communication with unfamiliar people. The major obstacle for initiating conversations with strangers is fear of rejection, sounding stupid, intruding, etc. But when you already are in a comic mood you are not afraid to make a fool out of yourself, it becomes part of an act and only makes things more joyful, therefore you can speak not from fear, but from a happy, confident state and this makes other people loosen up much more quickly as well, or if they take you as a weirdo anyway then you can laugh about it:)
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni6 months ago
Even alcohol or other things that loosen you up may help. The right amount of alcohol decreases your inhibitions and thereby, increases your confidence. This is to make you ready for the conversation. The right amount of alcohol will not mess up with the quality of your content while talking.
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Povilas S
Povilas S6 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Yes, alcohol and other psychoactive substances may produce a similar effect, but this is a drug-free alternative:) And it may even last longer. I've noticed on myself that a really good comedy can leave a lingering fun perspective for a few days
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni6 months ago
I get it. I am usually on the other side of it. If any stranger sitting beside me in a bus or a physician's waiting room cracks up reading a text/ meme on their phone, sometimes they share it with me. That helps start a conversation with a laugh. Memes involve content from famous or recent movies and series and it is usually known to a lot of people of your age. Reading out a joke or a meme can be a good conversation starter. This is not exactly what you Povilas S mean by your suggestion but it is similar to it.

You are right about people taking you as a weirdo and that can be a conversation barrier. If the person is not in the mood, they might not acquire your contagious laughter and may give you a "mind your business" or "so what" look. That ends the conversation there. It then becomes very hard to revive it. They may feel hatred or worse, disgust. Sometimes people just want to be alone with their music or any other stuff. No kind of effort can help you win them over. The unfortunate thing is you cannot identify such people every single time. You need to fall on your face :)
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