Have you ever been in that uncomfortable situation at a party or other social event when you have no idea what to say to the person standing in front of you?
You want to engage in conversation if only to be polite, but you feel too shy, tongue-tied, or just at a complete loss for something intelligent to say.
Or you simply can’t muster up any conversation topics to talk about.
So you stand there shuffling your feet, looking anywhere but at the other person (or people), praying you’ll be magically teleported out of the room.
Most of us have felt this discomfort in social situations on occasion, but there are those with more naturally reserved personalities who struggle socially more often than not.
Mastering the skill of good conversation provides immediate positive results and gives you a sense of self-assurance.
And it pays off in your career or in any social situation when making a first impression.
For anyone who is reserved, shy, or feels uncomfortable in social situations, starting a conversation can be overwhelming.
You feel self-conscious and awkward, and often the fear and anxiety is triggered just anticipating the situation.
59 Interesting Things To Talk About With Anyone
One of the biggest concerns about meeting new people or participating in group conversation is not knowing what to say and fearing you’ll embarrass yourself.
But if you learn the four simple skills I taught my son, and you practice them in manageable and small situations, you’ll eventually be able to start a conversation with ease.
Remember these conversation tips:
Choose a few of these topics that resonate with you, write them down, and keep them in your wallet or purse for those times when you are in new social situations.
Random Things to Talk About
Here are some basic, positive things to talk about when you meet a new person or someone you don’t know that well.
1. Comment on something attractive.
This could be about the person’s attire or appearance which shows you are noticing them in a positive light. We all love a bit of sincere flattery.
“”What a beautiful dress. Where did you get it?” “Those glasses are cool. I’ve been looking for frames like that.”
2. Remark on the event or the surroundings.
This is a great fallback discussion topic when you feel flummoxed. “I’ve been looking forward to this party all week. How do you know (the host or hostess)?” “Do you know the band who’s playing tonight?” “I’ve never been to Sharon’s home before. It’s incredible don’t you think?”
3. Bring up something positive or interesting about the person you are talking to.
Show genuine interest and curiosity in this person. “Jack told me you recently moved here. How do you like the area so far?” “I’ve heard you’re an amazing tennis player. Do you play for a league?”
4. Bring up a current event.
Just be sure it isn’t a controversial topic like politics or religion. Sports, a music event, or a positive news story are usually safe ground. “Did you happen to see the hockey finals in the Olympics? What an incredible game.”
5. Ask about the person’s career or profession.
Have some follow-up questions in mind as you learn more about this person. “So tell me what you do?” “You have an interesting job. How did you get into that?”
6. Remark about something funny or interesting that happened to you recently.
People love stories and hearing useful information. “I have to share what happened on the way over here today. It was crazy.” “Did you notice the new restaurant on the corner? I tried it the other day, and it was fantastic.”
7. Bring up something you’ve recently read or a movie you’ve seen recently.
Talk about why you liked it or how it was meaningful to you. “Have you read The Goldfinch? I haven’t read such a great novel in a long time.” “I just saw the most amazing movie, and I can’t stop thinking about it.”
8. Ask about the person’s family.
This is an easy topic for people to discuss, as we all like to share the positive things happening with our kids and family members. “Tell me what your children are up to these days.” “Do you have family in town?”
9. Remark on the person’s name if it’s interesting or unusual.
“Barrie is such a different name for a woman. How did you get it?”
10. Say something about the weather.
This is boring but effective as the weather makes a difference in our day-to-day lives. “Can you believe how much snow we’ve been getting? I’ve been trapped in my house for days. I’m so glad to get out!”
11. If you notice someone standing alone, approach them and introduce yourself.
“Hi, I’m Susan. I wanted to introduce myself. What brought you here today?” “Hi, I’m John. Are you as clueless as I am about the agenda for this event?”
12. Approach a new group and introduce yourself.
If you want to join a group of people already talking together, approach them and wait for a break in the conversation and introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Carter Smith. Do you mind if I join the conversation — you look like you are having so much fun.”
13. Say something humorous or self-deprecating.
Humor is a great way to break that awkward tension. “If I’d known there would be so many glamorous people here, I’d have worn my tiara.” “I’m sure glad I’m not cooking for this hungry crowd.”
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Interesting Things to Talk About
Keep the conversation moving along by discussing things that might hold more interest for both of you. If you’re running out of things to talk about, here are some interesting go-to subjects to cover.
14. Bring up one of your own hobbies or interests.
“I recently got a new bike, and I’m so glad it’s finally stopped raining so I can test it out. Do you ride?” “I love these hors d’oeuvres. I need to ask Susan for the recipe to share with my cooking class friends.”
15. Comment on the food or wine.
“Have you tried the pasta dish? It is delicious.” “What do you think of the wine? I haven’t tried it yet.”
16. Ask about the person’s youth or past.
Everyone has a story to tell and interesting things to share about themselves. “Where did you grow up?” “What did you do before you got into sales?” “I also lived in Cincinnati growing up. What part of town did you live in?”
17. Ask about alma maters.
“Where did you go to college?” “Did you go to school here in the Atlanta area?” You might find people in common or discover you have the same academic backgrounds.
18. Remark on something you’ve noticed the person doing.
“I saw you talking to David. Did you know he recently bought a new house?” “I noticed you drawing in your journal. Are you an artist?”
19. Ask a question about travel.
“So if you could visit any country in the world, what would it be?” “What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?” “I hear you are visiting from London. How has your trip here in Chicago been so far?”
20. Ask about the person’s day or week.
“Did anything interesting or exciting happen in your life today?” “So what has your week been like? Has the rain kept you as shut-in as it has me?”
21. Comment on what you have planned for the week.
This will open the door for questions or comments from the other person.
“I have to be in New York this week for a meeting, and I’m looking for a new restaurant to try. Do you know anything good?” “My kids are visiting from San Francisco this week, and I’m thinking about taking them to the new art exhibit.”
22. Remark on a possession the other person has.
“I love your car. What made you decide on a convertible?” “I hear you just bought a new house. Are you all settled in?” “How do you like that iPhone 8? I’ve been thinking about upgrading.”
23. Ask a slightly disconcerting or funny question.
“So tell me, what is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?” “So if you had to have dinner with one person from history, who would it be?”
24. Mention something you’re working on, and ask for an opinion.
“I’m working on an essay about climate change. What are your thoughts about it?” “I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes, but they aren’t taking off. Have you had any success growing them?”
25. Comment on the music playing.
“I really love this music. I don’t think I’ve heard this band before. Do you know them?”
26. Follow up on a comment you heard the person make.
“So I heard you say you were recently in Paris. Was that for business or pleasure?” “I couldn’t help but overhear you say you work in IT. I do as well and wondered who you work for.”
27. Tell a story or make a joke.
But be careful not to do so at someone’s expense or to share something inappropriate (unless you know the group well). “A few years back, I was at an event just like this, and something really funny happened.” “You won’t believe what just happened in the other room.” “I have to tell you a story about something similar that happened to me last week.”
28. Ask for help with a problem or question.
“I’m trying to decide between a Mac and a PC. What do you think is the best option?” “Do you know what the schedule is for the evening?”
29. Invite someone to open up and be vulnerable by doing it yourself.
“You know I was really nervous about coming here tonight, but everyone here is so friendly.” “I really wondered if Amy was going to invite me, but I’m so glad she did.”
30. Talk about recent TV shows you’ve been watching.
“I finally finished watching all of the seasons of Breaking Bad, and I’m so sad it’s over. Have you watched it?” “So what are you binge-watching on Netflix these days?”
31. Take a risk to get to know the person better or have a second meeting.
“I really enjoyed talking to you. Would you like to grab coffee sometime soon?”
Things to Talk About With a Woman
If you have met a woman at a party or social event, and you want to talk to her and sound funny and intelligent, we have you covered.
(Sidebar: Check out this list of topics to talk about with a girl)
31. Tell me more about yourself.
This gives the girl the opportunity to choose what she wants to share with you and shows that you’re interested in getting to know her. You’ll think of plenty of follow-up questions once she talks more about herself.
32. What are you really passionate about?
Rather than just asking, “What do you do?” this question her passions digs below the surface and reveals more about her inner world. What she feels passionate about also shows what she really values in life.
33. Find out if she likes sports.
If you’re a sports fanatic, this may be an important question. You may be looking for someone who shares your enthusiasm and love of whatever game is your preference.
34. Ask if she’s an introvert or extravert.
This conversation topic reveals whether the girl enjoys spending a lot of time around others and is energized by people — or whether she prefers small groups and time alone.
35. Ask her which one of her parents she’s most like.
This is a self-reflective conversation starter that gives you more insight into her personality and family background. If she describes her dad as warm and generous, and says she is more like her dad, that’s good information for you.
36. Talk about what you are both reading.
Whether it’s books, magazines, the news, or blogs, we all read something on a daily basis. Strike up an interesting discussion about what you are both reading and how it is impacting you.
37. Ask about her relationship pet peeves.
What’s really bugged her in past relationships that she found offensive or a turn-off. Share your pet peeve experiences as well. You’ll both learn more about whether you’re on the same relationship page.
38. Talk about your best friends and why you like them.
Our friends are often a reflection of us. We choose them because they have qualities we value or find interesting or entertaining. Talking about your best friends gives you insight into this new person and what they are like.
39. Ask about her short and long-term goals.
Find out what her plans and dreams are for the future. Maybe these goals align with yours, but even if they don’t, they may inspire you to develop similar goals.
40. Talk about something you’ve noticed by observing her.
You can let a woman know you’re interested in her by revealing that you’re paying attention. Talk about something you’ve noticed during the conversation, like, “You are a deep thinker,” or “I really like how much you care about your friends.”
41. Discuss your pets.
Are you both animal lovers? Talk about your pets and how they came into your lives. Share funny or touching stories about the animals you love.
Things to Talk about with a Guy
Ok ladies, it’s always good to be armed with some things to talk about with a guy you like — or one you’ve just met. Having a few ideas in your back pocket will ensure you don’t encounter those awkward silences.
42. Ask about cool things he knows how to do.
Most guys like to feel competent and accomplished, so give him the chance to discuss what he’s good at. He may surprise you with something unexpected.
43. Talk about what makes him feel respected.
Ask about respect and what makes him feel respected — or disrespected. Learn about a situation in his life in which respect was important to him.
44. Discuss what he likes most and least about his job.
Of course, the conversation will inevitably lead to discussing your jobs. Find out what he loves about his work and what he hates about it. This will give you a glimpse into his values and character.
45. Find out if he’s a risk-taker.
Is this a guy who loves skydiving or going to Vegas to gamble? Does he take calculated risks or leap in without thought? Ask about any risks he’s taken and how they turned out.
46. Ask about a dating disaster.
We’ve all had them, and they can make for interesting and humorous conversation. You’ll also learn what he does and doesn’t like in a dating partner.
47. Ask about the movie that impacted him the most.
Some guys seem to have movies that have changed their lives — or at least made such an impact that they’ve watch them numerous times. Find out what his favorite movies are and why they spoke to him so much.
48. Find out what he’s most proud of.
Discover some of the accomplishments he’s accrued over the years and what he is most proud of. You’ll learn a lot about his character and values from the achievements that mean the most to him.
49. Talk about how he spends his free time.
Does he play video games all day or spend the weekend hiking and camping? Is he out every night drinking beer with his buddies or is he taking an online course?
50. Ask him about some of his happiest memories.
This is a great discussion topic to learn more about his past and his family. Many of our happy memories relate to childhood or youthful experiences.
51. Talk about how to make the world a better place.
Go a little deeper by finding out what he believes should be done to change the world for the better. You’ll learn what his social, political, and cultural values are and how they might align with yours.
Things to Talk about with Your Crush
You can talk about almost any of the subjects above to your crush. But if you are crushing on someone, you may not want to waste time with the basic topics you likely already know about him or her. Give these a try.
52. Discuss what an ideal day would be.
If you have feelings for someone, it’s good to know how he or she prefers to spend the day — even if it isn’t attainable every day. At some point, you might share in a perfect day with this person.
53. Ask him or her what a good first date would look like.
Sure, this is a leading question, but why not? No reason to keep your feelings completely to yourself. Your crush may be thrilled to share the answer with you.
54. Share your top five interests.
Sharing these will reveal common ground and maybe the perfect backdrop for that first date. Or you might discover a new interest you want to pursue because you-know-who is into it.
55. Talk about where you want to live in the future.
Your hometown may not be your perfect town of residence. Maybe he’s dreamed of living on the west coast. Or she’s always wanted to live in another country.
56. Discuss your religious backgrounds.
This doesn’t have to turn into an awkward discussion. But it’s beneficial and interesting to know if you share the same beliefs as your crush.
57. Ask about siblings and extended family.
You may have already learned about mom and dad, but what about those brothers and sisters, crazy aunts and uncles, and fun cousins? Learn who’s who and how important a role they play in your crush’s life.
58. Find out how your crush likes to spend the holidays.
Which holidays do you celebrate, and what traditions to you both enjoy during the holidays? Do you like to travel or stay close to home?
59. Discover if he or she likes the beach or mountains better.
It seems like people either adore the mountains and feel meh about the beach or the other way around. Of course you can like both, but find out if you are both more mountains or beach people.
Now you’re prepared with plenty of good things to talk about.
Engaging with new people or those you don’t know well can be intimidating. But you can’t allow fear and anxiety to prevent you from the joys of conversation and developing new friendships and relationships.
It all begins with that first smile and introduction. Challenge yourself to initiate a conversation by preparing with some of the things to talk about I outlined, or come up with your own conversation topics to get the conversation started.
The more you practice talking with others about interesting and engaging topics, the easier it becomes — and the more approachable and enjoyable you become as a conversation partner.