Personal Development, Student Life

Conversation Starters

Sadly, not everyone is born with the ability to approach new people and start a conversation right off the bat. This can be especially daunting in class, when you need to ask for help or just want to make friends. With so much of our time spent on social media, we sometimes forget the fundamentals of a sweet and so necessary part of life: a human conversation. We have gotten programmed to ‘LOL’ instead of actually laughing out loud and staring at screens instead of making eye-contact. So here are some basics for back to school, when we are to come out of the bedroom with curtains down into the downtown core with our shades up:

Step 1: Select your prey potential friend

This can be someone sitting next to you in class, on your commute or in a study space. Maybe even that special someone ;).

Step 2: Prepare a strategy before the attack

Ask yourself three questions before starting the conversation:

  1. Is it a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question? Or as I like to call it, asking for stories not answers. Keep them open ended. Example: Instead of ‘is the library in this building?’ try ‘how do I get to the library?’
  2. Is the question too personal? Will it make the person uncomfortable? Try to form it in the nicest way you can.
  3. Would I answer this question myself? If you initiate a conversation you couldn’t keep up with, you cannot expect anyone else to either. Keep it casual.

Step 3: Possible topics to go for the kill:

1 Common Experiences:

If there’s a class you have together, ask them what they think of it or if they’re interested in whatever you’re studying/reading. Even better, if you’re completely stuck, make fun of the slide or of the class keener together. As much as you might not like to admit it, having the same dislikes brings people together faster than having the same likes.

2. Tell a funny story:

Think about any encounters you’ve had in the past and try to draw on them. Inside jokes go a long way too. Bring up something hilarious that the crazy prof you had together last year said.

friends

3. Break the ice:

Play it straight. Give them a compliment or ask them how their day was or if this is their first/last class of the day. With a little bit of prompting they’ll give you details with which you can comment on or sympathize with.

4. Bring up any old subject:

Worst case scenario, bring up the weather. We are so blessed to be living in the bipolar Canadian seasons so why not take advantage of the extremely sunny/windy/rainy/snowy/all-of-the-above day? Continue asking whether the weather was a commute issue for them. If you’re lucky, the discourse will turn into a slightly more engaging dialogue. Maybe (likely) they aren’t originally from Toronto, imagine the expanding of your worlds together!

And if all else fails, at least you can count on the one that never will:

5. Ask for help:

… Even if you don’t need it, LIE. Your mama will forgive you… eventually. And when you do, ask them to explain a theory (not just ask for a page number), this way the conversation will last longer and you can build on with another question.

mean girls

Step 4: Take it home:

Often times people will keep their phone in the meter radius of them. Who am I kidding, its probably in your hands. Now if you see a twitter/instagram/tinder notification, ask them if they have it too. If its a mutual follow then you’re pretty much friends. The key here is to not fidget with your own phone and to LISTEN!

 

Feel free to use any of the above for finding bae.

 

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Zahra Khozema
A 3rd year RTA student and a life loving Torontonian who loves to globe-hop from time to time. Writer of fun and useful articles, maker of cool things, terrible singer of lovely songs. A must have galpal.