How to Start a Conversation

Claire Ritter

By Claire Ritter

Est. Reading Time: 14 Mins

How to Start a Conversation

Starting a conversation can be challenging. You might find the idea of talking to someone intimidating, perhaps you are shy, or you simply just don’t know how to go about initiating the conversation, but that’s about to change.

Why It’s Important to Know How to Start a Conversation

It is crucial to know how to start a conversation in several settings, make new friends, or make a deeper connection with someone, such as a romantic interest. The following are reasons why it’s important to know how to start a conversation:

  • You can’t participate in something that doesn’t exist. Jumping into it and starting a conversation is the first step in having a conversation.
  • The beginning of the conversation will likely determine how the rest of the conversation will go. Sure, you might be able to fix a bad start to something, but it’s so much better to start on the right side of a conversation.
  • The type of conversation determines the type of relationship you have with the other person. If you are strictly professional, the relationship will likely remain professional. However, if you are friendly, this can invite the relationship to be less serious, and leave the possibility for more, be it in a friendly way or romantically. This is why the way in which you start a conversation is essential.

How to Prepare for the First Conversation

Key points to prepare for the first conversation.
Key points to prepare for the first conversation.

You should never go into anything unprepared. Even a simple task, such as starting a conversation, deserves some preparation, so you perform well while speaking. By being prepared, you are more likely to approach the situation calmly and collected, and you will avoid seeming anxious or worried.

Go Into It With the Right Headspace.

Preparing mentally for a conversation is the first and most important step. You should go into any conversation with an open mind because you never know what kind of person you will be speaking to. Also, make sure you are in a good mood because you wouldn’t want the person you are talking with to perceive negative energy.

Figure Out What You Are Going to Say.

Think about what you will say before you call or approach the person you want to have a conversation with. If you know what the first thing you say will be, you’ll appear confident, and it is less likely for you to stumble on your words. This will ensure a smooth conversation.

Make a Good First Impression.

A first impression can often make or break a conversation. Making a good first impression is a key part of preparing for a conversation. If the first conversation is in person, try to look your best. If it is online or texting and the other person won’t see you, perhaps you could make sure your profile looks clean and speaks well about who you are.

Basic Ideas for Starting a Conversation

Key points to prepare for the first conversation.
Basic ideas to start a conversation.

Now that you know how to prepare for the conversation, you need to think about what you will say.

Introduce Yourself.

Introducing yourself is a great first step in any conversation. Someone is more likely to talk to you if they know a little bit about you. Greeting the other person, telling them your name, and maybe something relevant to the situation, will not only give them an idea of who you are, but it will also allow the other person to respond similarly, and hopefully, a good conversation flourishes.

Ask a question.

Asking questions is a great way to get a conversation going. It will make the other person feel like you’re genuinely interested in speaking with them because you are showing interest in knowing something about them. Asking an open-ended question is ideal because it allows a flowing conversation to take place.

Open-ended questions such as ‘How do you feel about this [current event]?’ or ‘What is your opinion on [specific topic]?’ will receive more in-depth answers and will also allow you to elaborate or share your opinion. Avoid questions that could be answered with a short, blunt response or a simple yes or no.

Find a Common Denominator.

You should never judge a book by its cover, but be observant and see if at first glance you see something obvious that they might have in common with you. If you’ll be chatting with this person online, perhaps browse their profile, and find something you have in common. Meeting someone online might have the upper hand in this situation because you are likely to access more information about this person.

These are the building blocks for any conversation, the most basic and important things to keep in mind when talking to someone for the first time. However, you might find yourself wondering how to start a conversation specifically with a guy or girl or perhaps how to start a conversation online. Keeping in mind what you have learned so far, throw the following suggestions into the mix for the ideal conversation.

How to Start a Conversation With a Guy

Tell a Joke.

Telling a joke is a great way to start talking and will lead to laughter and a good time.

Talk About Pop Culture.

Find out what movie he likes, or maybe he prefers tv shows, ask about his favorite bands, or maybe if he has a favorite book. This is a great way to find out what you have in common and keep the conversation going based on that.

Ask Them for a Recommendation.

Ask for a good restaurant recommendation, and take the opportunity to suggest going there together, or ask him to show you where it’s located.

How to Start a Conversation With a Girl

Tips to start a conversation with women.
Tips to start a conversation with women.


Everyone loves receiving compliments, so tell her how nice she looks, or acknowledge anything you may like about her upon the first impression. Continue giving compliments as your time together progresses, and she will likely compliment you back. This is a great way to continue talking.

Share a Personal Memory.

Sharing anything more on the personal side can really bring you and the other person closer together. It will allow the other person to open up more, paving the way to more meaningful conversations.

Pick-up Line.

The reliable pick-up line, use it. If all else fails, this is a good option to put into practice. Be clever and creative, and try to make her laugh with the pickup line you choose.

How to Start a Conversation Online

Getting to know someone online can be tough. That’s why it’s especially important to have a good messaging conversation. You should remember that whoever you are chatting with can’t hear or see how you are speaking, and a lot of times, your tone of voice and body language is a large part of what you interpret about a person. So be sure to find a way to express yourself. Try writing how you speak or using emojis if that fits your personality.

Have a Great First Message.

Don’t just say “Hi” in your first message, and this doesn’t give the other person much to work with. Instead, say hello, ask how they are doing, and perhaps ask another ice breaker question to invite a conversation.

Don’t Let the Conversation Come to a Standstill.

Try to keep the conversation going as much as you can by truly immersing yourself in what the other person is sharing. Truly take an interest in what they have to say, and keep asking well-thought open-ended questions throughout the conversation.

Reference Content You May See on Their Profile.

Is there a photo on their profile you really like? Do you think they look amazing in their profile pic, or that they have a very well-written bio? Take that as an opportunity to compliment them. Take a minute to observe what they allow you to see on social media, and try talking to them about it. Perhaps they have shared recent travels or an accomplishment, have them elaborate on the topic.

To summarize it:

Starting a conversation is more than just about the first words you exchange. Starting a conversation is about previously preparing for the conversation by making sure you are in the right headspace, figuring out what you might say, and doing your best to make a good impression. Remember, the next step is getting started in the conversation.

Accomplish this by introducing yourself, asking a question, or finding things you might have in common with them. Those are indispensable in any conversation, be it with a guy or girl, in person, or online. Practice all of the above, and you are sure to start any conversation with ease and confidence.

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