In order to maximise the number of new friends in London you make; youre going to need to know how to start a conversation with stranger. Good communication skills show others you are a confident person and have a well rounded personality. The ability to make conversation is very important; yes its daunting but doesnt need to be, follow my essential tips and youll soon be starting conversation with confidence.
1) Have interesting stories on standby for new friends in London
Think about what sorts of things youd like to talk about; your favourite films, music, books youve read, sports you play, places youve been etc. Try to keep abreast with current affairs, watch TV, read newspapers and books, take note of anything you find interesting or funny, doing this will give you more to talk about. Essentially, you want to build a bank of interesting topics that will help you start or keep a conversation going.
2) Body language
You can tell a lot about a person from their body language. Its important to be aware of the image you portray as it often speaks louder than words. Keep your body language open and relaxed; dont fold your arms or clench your fists, keep them loose and by your side. Remember to maintain eye contact – looking away or down can send negative signals to the person you are speaking to. And remember to smile, it doesnt need to be a huge cheesy grin but a laidback, casual smile says you are a friendly person before you speak a single word.
3) Ask a leading question
Start the conversation with something interesting, think back to point one. Always ask questions that cannot be answered with “Yes” or “No”. Try to find common ground with the person youre talking to and dont be afraid to ask questions any question, “How is your evening going so far?” Try to think about where the questions will lead to; what you are doing is cleverly steering the conversation to where you want it to go, so you can jump in at a point when you feel comfortable, “Oh so youre from east London – I live in east London too. Do you know this bar called…?”
In general people love talking about themselves, if you cant think of anything to say just ask more questions until you are ready to talk about yourself. After you have got the conversation moving make sure you ask for the new friends name. Do this as early on as possible so you can talk to them later. People appreciate being called by their own name and it proves you are interested in them.
4) Keep the conversation flowing
Talk about current affairs, though it is best to steer clear of religious and political issues until you know the person a bit better. You dont want to get involved in a debate when you first meet someone – if you want to do that its much better to do it in more private surrounding with people you are familiar with. Talk about books youve read, films, talk about the football results and so on. You will need to gauge what person you are conversing with is interested in. Remember to be listen closely to what the other person is saying, dont interrupt them.
5) Use humour
You dont necessary have to be funny a funny person to be funny; all you have to do is remember jokes, funny stories and amusing things youve found, think back to your bank in point one. Using humour as an ice breaker is an effective way to break down the social barriers some people put up. And think about, the most popular people are funny – people love to laugh and be happy.
Top 5 ice breakers when meeting new friends
1) How is your evening going?
This is a great question in my experience. One of the best ice breakers. Its important not to get too personal too soon. With this question you are testing the water with a potential new friend in London. If they say “Im really bored – Im going to leave soon” –then you know you could be wasting your time or equally you have a chance to keep them entertained enough to want to stay. If they say “Im having a great time” – then you know you have found someone happy who will be fun to hang around with for the evening.
2) What do you do?
This question is a cliche. But knowing what someone does for work can tell you more about them than any other question. We spend more time working than do anything else, so work dominates our lives. Its also a good way to find out what someone is passionate about – this is key to maintaining a conversation long enough to make newfriends in London.
3) Where are you from?
London is a cosmopolitan city. There are over 250 nationalities living in London. The chances are a new person in London may not originally be from the capital or even the UK. Even though someone has left their place of birth they are likely to still love their country of origin. From here you can ask further questions such as: How does London compare to your home city? How long have you been in London? What are your favourite places?
4) Where do you live in London?
Who lives somewhere they hate? Not many of us! Here you are trying to gain common ground with someone and at the same time trying to engage the person in a subject they are passionate about discussing.
There are only four main areas to any city – north, east, south and west. So you have a 1 in 4 chance of living in the same area as your new friend. This is also a great branching question. From here you can discuss the persons favourite places to visit in the area.
5) What music do you like?
Music is a passion of most people. Ive never met someone who doesnt like music. It helps if you know venues in London well when asking this question as you can then suggest a place to visit to experience music of the genre your new friend likes. You could even ask the person if they would like to join you in a night out. From here you can also see what other hobbies the person has by asking – What other things are you into?