Social situations can be tough for anyone.
Some are born naturally gifted at connecting and communicating with others. But for some people, social interactions can be incredibly awkward.
Not everyone has that innate ability to engage in titillating conversations.
Unless you’re a social butterfly, starting up a great conversation with someone can be quite challenging. And if you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for some guidance.
Are you preparing for a big date? Or an important social function? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Read ahead for your cheat sheet to excellent conversations. Here are the 10 topics to talk about that will surely spark great talks with just about anyone.
Before Getting Started
This list can get you a long way into having amazing conversations with anyone. However, communication is a two-way street. The way you talk and carry yourself affects your conversations significantly.
But most importantly, it’s the way you listen that can really make a difference. Instead of trying to find ways to make your conversations interesting, try to listen to the other person and find something that connects both of you on a deeper level.
The key is to be open and interested in what they have to say.
The truth is, great connections happen when you truly listen. It’s not about what you want out of the conversation or the clever topics you come up with. It’s about taking cues from the other person and letting the conversation flow naturally.
And no matter what you do…
DO NOT talk about politics or religion. There’s a reason why you hear this a lot. These topics are so deeply-rooted and unique to each person that it becomes a very touchy subject to tackle. Unless you know the other person well (and even that is not a guarantee), talking about religion and politics can result in conflict.
Now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s get started.
10 Things To Talk About For A Great Conversation
Every person is unique. We all have our own set of interests, passions, and history. The beautiful thing about talking to another person is discovering these things. But despite all of our differences, there are a couple of things that we all can relate to. Here are some of the most common-ground topics you can cover.
1. Ask them about themselves.
You can never go wrong with this.
Nothing kicks out a conversation than letting the other person talk about themselves.
It’s a great way to start your conversation and to find things you can both relate to. It also shows that you’re interested in what they have to say.
And really, whoever gets bored talking about themselves?
2. Talk about your current situation.
This is another great topic to avoid awkwardness in any conversation.
What more can be so relatable than talking about the current situation you’re in? If you’re at a party together, you can ask how they like it so far. Or if you’re in a show or a concert, you can ask them how much they like the performer.
There are so many interesting things you can cover just by taking stock of what’s happening around both of you at the moment.
3. Comment on something positive or interesting about them.
By now, you probably know enough about this person to come up with some things you like about them. If they’ve put effort into their appearance, tell them they look nice. And if they shared about anything interesting about them lately, ask them more about it.
Or if they’ve told you about a recent book they loved, ask them – “What is it about?”
This is a perfect time to showcase that you are being observant. It also doesn’t hurt to put a little bit of flattery into the conversation.
4. Bring up some current news or event.
Assuming it’s not about politics or religion, it’s always safe to discuss any new event happening around you.
It will be especially useful if it’s related to the other person’s interests.
If they’re into sports or music, talk about any news relating to that lately. Do you know any good concerts around? If they’re into art, perhaps you know about any upcoming artists or showcases. Knowing about current events can give you some “cool” points.
5. Talk about what they do.
People like to talk about their job or what occupies them. Unless they hate their job, this is another good topic. If you’re lucky, they might even be passionate about what they do, and it could lead to a great conversation.
However, if you notice that they’re not too enthusiastic about it, quickly change the topic. Some people might feel like you’re invading their privacy. So be careful
6. Ask them about their life experiences.
Pleasantries are great when the conversation is just starting. But if you genuinely want to get to know them on a deeper level, ask them about their life experiences.
Not everyone is willing to share their life story. But chances are, there are one or two experiences they’re willing to open up about.
This could be a fun and meaningful way to find common ground. You can also navigate your conversation towards a more serious or funny tone, depending on the life experiences you share.
7. Talk about your hobbies.
Hobbies reflect who a person is outside of their work or background. It’s an excellent way to get to know them a little bit more.
Hobbies are what people do without getting paid simply because it is what they enjoy doing. It’s also very fun to talk about.
Ask them why they love their hobbies and how they’ve come to love them. Share the activities you also enjoy to do.
Travel is also another safe topic to talk about in any situation.
Even if the other person hasn’t traveled before, they are likely to have places they dream of going to.
If they could visit any country, where would they go? Which childhood vacation spots meant most to them?
And if they’ve already traveled, the memories surrounding their travels are probably some of their most exciting.
9. Talk about food.
Surely you can’t go wrong with this one.
Everybody eats, right? It’s a light and fun topic to discuss. What’s their favorite dish? And do they prefer any particular cuisine?
Food is also rooted in how they grew up and where they come from. Do they enjoy cooking? Are there any family recipes they love making?
You might even find out that you both like the same things!
10. Future plans.
Talking about future plans can be another excellent conversation starter.
Even just asking the other person what their plans are for the weekend can spring up some interesting topics.
You can ask them about any plans in the near future, such as a concert or a place they’re planning to go. Or you can also ask them what their goals and dreams are for the long-term.
Again, this is a topic that can help you manipulate the tone of your conversation.
Some last minute tips.
Simply knowing what topics to discuss won’t guarantee a smooth-sailing conversation. But if you pull off these simple and easy steps, you can start your conversation with ease.
- Maintain eye contact. As much as possible, look the other person in the eye. It puts them at ease and makes them relax.
- Smile. Have fun! You’re not going to a job interview. Smile at the other person and try not to be too tense.
- Choose a safe environment. If you have control over the location of your date or social appointment, try to choose an environment you feel relaxed in. This will help you feel calm.
We’ve told you all you need to create great conversations. But perhaps the most valuable thing to remember is to keep a balance.
Listen to what they have to say, but don’t forget to share a few things about you, too. Don’t be too scared to make comments or to talk about your own opinions. But never try to convince them to think the way you do.
Be open, listen, and stay true to who you are.
A quick message from Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit
In 2018, the third year of Hack Spirit, I poured thousands of hours and considerable resources into creating these articles. It's a labor of love and remains free thanks to your patronage. If you found any value in these articles, please consider supporting what I do with a donation. Your support is what helps me to continue creating more Hack Spirits articles. To make a donation, click the "donate" button below and choose between a single donation or monthly.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook: How to be Your Own Life Coach: 10 Essential Steps to Creating a Life You Love. Perfect for setting new year goals and actually achieving them!
- Learn the 10 crucial steps to creating a life you love
- Practical techniques and exercises throughout to work out who you are, where you are and what you want to achieve in life
- Affirmations, quotes and motivational techniques to keep you going...even through tough times
- Practical case studies showing what works and what doesn’t