Welcome to the strange world of living with a stranger: The first step in how to talk to strangers is knowing what your strangers look like. This might sound obvious, but sometimes we’re careless and fail to notice the people around us. Some strangers have strange quirks, and some of them simply look alike. This means it’s important to be conscious of your personal and stranger information at all times. Here are some tips that might help you make this realization.
Look Their Eyes: The first thing you should do when meeting strangers is look into their eyes. Do they stare straight at you? Do they squint? Look away from their eyes, and don’t lean in too close to them-a lot of shy people do this when they feel that someone is looking directly at them. Don’t let their eyes bug you, because this is a sure sign that they’re hiding something.
Ask Questions: The very first question you should ask them is who they are. Do they look familiar? Is there something you can connect with them because of your shared background? There is always a chance that these strangers have known someone you know, so it’s always a good idea to ask them about connections. Also, consider the relationship you have with the person. Knowing whether or not you have the same first name as your stranger can be helpful in determining this information.
Smile: While most people smile at random, you should smile at strangers when you have them in front of you for the first time. If it’s someone you already know well, a simple wave is more than enough to break the ice and create a conversation. However, if the stranger has come up to you out of the blue and you haven’t met before, a sincere, heartfelt smile can be quite helpful. Remember, though, never to overdo it. It might seem like a nice gesture, but too much of anything can cause you to look desperate and strange.
Talk to them: The next time you encounter a stranger, try asking them directly where they go to school or work. It can be quite surprising to know the person is part of a club or organization or what they’re working on. They may surprise you with their knowledge.
Talk to them about themselves: This is a tricky subject. Some strangers want to talk about themselves and others don’t. On the one hand, you don’t want the stranger to feel pressured into revealing personal information, while on the other hand, you don’t want to appear as a stalker either. So, balance is the key here.
Look them in the eye: Yes, you probably know it’s rude to stare. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it while talking to strangers. Their eyes are your best window to know whether they’re worth your time. Trust your instinct. If they look back at you with pity or anger, then walk on by.
Talk to strangers on neutral topics: Just like it sounds, avoid talking to strangers on subjects that may make them feel defensive such as religion, politics or race. Instead, talk about your own interest or occupation. You’d be surprised with what kinds of topics strangers would be willing to talk about. So, if you really want to make the most out of your first few conversations with strangers, stick to the topics that you’re comfortable with.
Listen carefully: Don’t just take someone’s word for anything. You wouldn’t put someone on the spot and ask them to prove their identity in public. So, listen to what the stranger has to say and give your own opinion. You don’t have to agree on everything; just ask questions that will lead you closer to understanding them.
Smile: The simplest gesture can be the most powerful one. Don’t hesitate to smile at a stranger even if they look puzzled or scared. This will make the person feel good and may open up a valuable conversation topic. Also, a mischievous smile can make the stranger laugh, which also makes them feel better.
Don’t be afraid to communicate: It’s important to touch base with strangers, but you should do so discreetly. Touching someone without their permission could make them uncomfortable. This is especially true when meeting strangers for the very first time. So, either call in advance to place your number or leave a card or note on their windshield. It’s also important to talk slowly and clearly, and to express yourself clearly when you speak with someone new.