Top ten tips on how to talk to strangers
1. Comment on something – an item of jewellery or something they’re reading/browsing, introduce yourself by name or better still open with a joke to break the ice like the intrepid social skydiver you are.
2. Don’t focus on the outcome.
Have a go and see where initiating contact takes you. Remember rejection is inevitable but the plus is you’ll never have to see them again (unless youre reading from the Isle of Wight in which case they could well be a cousin).
Whether your stranger is willing to talk to you or not is not always in your control. They might not be confident themselves or are having a bad time. You just don’t know. Console yourself with the knowledge they can only be flattered you tried.
3. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Avoid making snap judgements and seek out people you wouldn’t normally talk to, you might surprise yourself.
4. Use open questions.
Avoid clichés such as “do you come here often” but instead ask what drink they’d recommend or how they come to be here too.
5. Couch surf
Pick a city you’ve always wanted to visit and try couch surfing. Stay on the sofa of a host, connect with someone new and gain invaluable knowledge of your host’s local area.
6. Use a sea shell to bring people out of their shells
Leave a sea shell on the table next to you in a pub/coffee shop/restaurant, a universal sign that you are open to strangers joining you for conversation. Just remember to make some mates with your mollusk not anemones.
Check out meetup.com to find an event with likeminded folk in your local area – curry clubs, walks and book clubs. There’s something on there for everyone.
Make eye contact with everyone you pass in the street and around the office, don’t just walk with your head down and eyes averted.
If you’re feeling brave then try a wink. (Note: do not do this to a couple or small child as this is generally considered inappropriate)
For the more virtuous among you, Contact the Elderly and Age UK both run befriending services for the elderly and are actively seeking volunteers to assist with coffee mornings and home visits.
10. Practice, practice, practice
The more you do the more confident you’ll become and the more people will be comfortable around you!
Remember you’re NOYO (not on your own) and the more strangers you talk to the less there are, let’s aim to exterminate them all with the might of our persistent chitchat!!
Peace out for now.