How to Start a Conversation: Tips for Your First Semester

Posted: October 24, 2022 | Author: Clare Perkins | Read Time: 4 minutes

Conversation Starters

Your first semester of college can be overwhelming. Having friends and people helps to mediate that stress. Even though sometimes it feels better to stay in your dorm or apartment, be sure to get out and meet those people.

Here are some conversation starters and tips to help you navigate and find your crowd. Focus on learning how to start a conversation, then keep practicing until it comes naturally.

When to Start a Conversation

Take any and every opportunity you have to chat with whoever is next to you. You never know whether or not that person or someone they know could be your best friend. Take advantage of those quiet moments before and after class to get to know your neighbor. Nobody likes that eerie silence (not even your professors). You will be doing everyone a favor by breaking the silence, encouraging others to also start talking. This will make the classroom more comfortable in general for both students and professors.

Remember to talk to people around you. This could be while waiting in a line or at an event. You already have something in common with them as you wait for something to happen. It feels much safer to look at your phone or have your headphones on, but a simple interaction with someone can change both of your days if you let one happen.

How to Start a Conversation

Learn their name! How many times have you had to make the awkward joke about how you forget to listen when you ask someone's name? Yes, we all know everybody does it, but really try to remember what they say when they answer that first question. This makes someone feel like you are truly interested in getting to know them. Here are some of the best tips for remembering people’s names:

  • Repeat it back to them after they say it to solidify it in your head and to make sure you pronounce it correctly. Sometimes saying it multiple times to yourself really helps cement it in your memory.
  • Compliment something about their name; this also solidifies it in your head by associating it with something. For example,"Oh, your name reminds me of (blank),” "That's a beautiful name, where is it from?" etc.
  • Be sure you don't have another conversation in your head. Don't be already thinking about what you are going to say next while they are telling you their name.

Remember that people generally like to talk about themselves. That being said, be sure to balance how much you are telling about yourself and how much you are learning about the other person. Asking lots of questions and remaining curious could make you more likable.

Please be authentic. Nobody is thinking about how you come across as much as you are, so you can relax. Faking something because you want the other person to think of you a certain way probably won't work and it will just make someone confused. Being genuine brings respect, high regard, and trust.
In order to avoid asking the same few boring questions, try following some of these:

  • Instead of: What classes are you taking?
    • Try: What is your favorite class?
  • Instead of: What's your major?
    • Try: What are you studying?
  • Instead of: Do you like your professors?
    • Try: Who is your favorite professor? Why?
  • Instead of: Where are you staying?
    • Try: Do you have any apartment drama?

Fun Conversation Starter Questions

Everyone knows the same few questions to ask each other and everyone knows how “where are you from, what's your major and why SUU,” can get old. So, instead of those or once those are used up, try something new.

Here are some fun conversation-starting questions to ask:

  • What is something about you that is true, but when you tell people, nobody believes you?
  • What old person tendencies do you have?
  • What's the weirdest thing you’re afraid of?
  • If animals could talk, which one would you talk to?
  • What was your childhood nickname? Why?
  • How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
  • What's the worst advice you’ve ever taken?
  • If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be and why?
  • What is weirder to marry? A potato or a cardboard cutout?

Knowing the right people can take college from good to great. And knowing how to start a conversation and meet new people is a big part of that. Take this opportunity to make connections that could last a lifetime. You don’t want to miss out on all the friends you could know, so be sure to get out of your shell. Remember that you only live this part of your life one time, so be sure to make it the best!

Tags: Student Life

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