How to Strike Up a Conversation with Anyone

In the need of some conversation starters? We'll help you strike up a conversation with anyone.
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In the need of some conversation starters? We'll help you strike up a conversation with anyone.
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Image Credit: Erika Raxworthy

We've said this before, but it bears repeating: we are so connected to technology these days. Don't get us wrong, we're the first to note our love for fun new apps and cheer on our favorite people over social media, but it's nice to tuck the phones away and simply be present.

One of our favorite ways to accomplish that is to chat up those around us—especially if we're on a solo errand run or adventure. Though it can be intimidating to strike up a conversation with a total stranger, we've found it to be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. Here are a few tips to get the words flowing:

Say hello. Apologies for stating the obvious, but we often have our heads down or are so engrossed in our to-do list that we forget to look up, smile and say a proper hello to those around us. By starting the conversation, you encourage whatever interesting or informative interactions might follow.

Ask a sincere question. So often, we end up having a one-sided conversation with some of our favorite shop clerks, baristas and receptionists. They say something along the lines of, "Hi, how are you doing today?" and we reply, "Great, thanks." Then: crickets. We're completely guilty of this when we're in a hurry or our minds are elsewhere. However, for the sake of being present and slowing down our busy lives, we're all trying to respond with "Great, thanks. How are you?" instead. Who knows, you might just make someone's day!

Make a nice gesture. Something as simple as opening a door, offering your place in line or buying someone a drink can make a world of difference—to both you and the other party. We've had delightful conversations while waiting in line at our favorite midtown deli, the corner coffee shop and the neighborhood grocery store—all because of a simple act of kindness.

Lead with a compliment. This is a perfect way to genuinely appreciate someone's great style, nice watch (you know... as research for Father's Day) or handy day planner. Whether you're at the coffee shop, beauty salon or on the subway, telling someone you like what they've got going on not only leads to great tips on where to find something similar, but it is also a wonderful conversation starter for what might potentially become a more meaningful discussion.

So tell us, Clementines: what is your favorite way to strike up a conversation? Come chat with us over on Twitter!

p.s. On the receiving end of that last tip? How to take a compliment.