1.Ask for a helping hand
“Helping questions are great conversation starters because when a person helps you it forms natural bonds. When you help another person to figure what an item is on the buffet or locate the restroom, it lowers your defenses. For example, if you’re at the grocery store, ask ‘Do you know how to tell if this fruit is ripe?’ It makes you look open to learning more and will help the conversation flow naturally.” —Dawn Maslar, MS, author of Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love. These magic phrases can save any awkward conversation.
2. Compliment something other than someone’s looks
“Instead of complimenting something generic like their eyes, highlight something that shows their personality, like their purse or a book. This is simple, elegant, and great if you are interested in someone or anytime you want to boost their likability toward you for business or social reasons.” —Paul DePompo, PsyD, ABPP, psychologist.
3.Go simple… yet bold
“Give a genuine smile and say, ‘Hi.’ It sounds too simple but people are so used to other people staring at their phones that a simple smile and hello can be a very bold move. It shows the other person that you’ve noticed them and you’re interested in getting to know them better. And you’ll almost always get a hello back. (If you don’t, let it go. You don’t want to date a rude person anyway.)” —Suzanne Casamento, dating expert and the creator of Fantasy Dating
4. Ask for their honest opinion
“Asking ‘I’ve been really thinking deeply about something and wondering if I can share it, and get your feedback?’ shows your interest in the other person and solicits new and interesting information that is fun to discuss. Pretty much anyone will want to share their opinions with an interested party and they will think you are nice and fun to be with, as well.” —Melissa Orlov, therapist and author of The Couples Guide to Thriving With ADHD.
5. Tell a bonding joke
“Jokes work well because they are disarming and work on a biological level. If a woman laughs at a man’s joke, he feels assured that she has a level of comfort with him. For her, laughing releases oxytocin, the ‘bonding hormone.’ These two things together create an opening for more conversation.” —Dawn Maslar
6. Offer to help them
“Being helpful is always a great way to get a person’s attention, especially when they are struggling to do something or seem overwhelmed. The one thing people always enjoy is relief but you don’t want to add to their stress or come across as creepy. So try something simple like offering to hold something for them.” —Alexis Nicole White, author and relationship expert
7. ‘Cheers’ them
“If you are in a bar and looking for an excuse to talk to someone, just go up and raise your glass and say ‘cheers!’ This is effective because it’s non-threatening, polite and will most likely be reciprocated.” —Laura Bilotta, matchmaker and founder of Single In the City
8. Repeat what they said
“If you are shy and don’t know what to say try being an empathetic listener. Reflect back what you hear the other person saying and offer compassion. This allows the other person to feel heard, validated, and accepted—and they’ll want to spend more time talking with you.” —Fran Walfish, PhD, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent
9. Ask about a mutual friend
“Mutual friends are good conversation starters when you are at a family gathering, party or any event where you were invited by the same person. Asking ‘So how do you know Mike?’ helps them share old stories and allows the two of you to jump right in and get to know each other. This one is especially effective if you let the mutual friend know you’re interested in talking to the person who’s caught your attention, so that they can slip in the conversation later on.” —Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse.com
10. Say it with a smile
“It is viscerally impossible not to like someone who genuinely smiles at you. This means smiling with your entire face, including your eyes. Try this as you greet friends and colleagues and observe their reaction. A smile will disarm defenses, boost your likeability, and increase the chances of a positive conversation before you say a word.” —Wendy Patrick, JD, PhD, behavioral expert and attorney.
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