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.

7. Meetup

Check out to find an event with likeminded folk in your local area – curry clubs, walks and book clubs. There’s something on there for everyone.

8. Smile

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)



9. Volunteer

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.


1 Comments on “Top ten tips on how to talk to strangers”

  1. I have never heard about the seashell! I moved to Germany from Australia and I’ve found that by and large, people definitely don’t do chit chat here. (For me there is obviously the language barrier as my german isn’t brilliant, but female deutsch friends talk about how hard it is to meet guys for example, as a guy would never approach a woman in a bar or cafe).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: