Talking to strangers is a great way to expand your horizons, learn something new, and make new friends. If you're not a social butterfly, though, the process can be intimidating. Here are some tips to get you started.
In this video from The Atlantic's YouTube channel, senior editor James Hamblin, MD, speaks with Kio Stark, the author of When Strangers Meet, to get some tips for talking to strangers. Here's what Stark recommends:
- Just say "hi" to everyone you pass by: Walk around the block and try to say "hi" to everyone you see. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. A simple nod and "hello" will do.
- Use "triangulation": Triangulation is the process of talking about something in the environment that both you and the other person can see. The book they're reading, a street performer playing a song, or even a beautiful sunset can be a great opener. [Er, maybe don't pester someone reading a book. — Ed.]
- Make yourself available: Take out your headphones, put your phone away, and use some body language to signal that you're open to talking with others.
You don't have to do everything at once, so go at your own pace. Start by going on mini-expeditions to say "hi" to people a few times per week. Then, once you're comfortable saying "hello," try starting actual conversations with triangulation. You might be surprised at how many people will be interested in chatting with you too.
Techniques for Talking to Strangers [YouTube]