Some of us 90s kid have the same problem. We think we are introverts, or maybe, we think we are ‘not extroverts’ which is why we are left with the category of being an introvert. We cannot initiate a conversation easily, and even if we manage to do that, we cannot keep it going.
However, Carl Jung’s personality theory includes a third category – ambiverts (that majority of the population actually is) – people who choose to be outgoing only in circumstances involving people they are familiar and comfortable with.
Now the question that arises is how to be familiar with people in order to be comfortable around them? The answer, my friend – whether you like it or not – involves stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a step forward. And 20 seconds of courage is all it takes. Here are seven ideas that will help you in the process of unstrangering yourself.
Deviating from the casual “Hi, I’m XYZ”, you can initiate a conversation by loud thinking about something that is happening at that very moment. Say you are in a flight that just isn’t taking off, a loud thought like “I wonder what is taking so long” is a non-cliché first step. The worst that can happen is that the person will ignore you.
WHAT DOES YOUR NAME MEAN?
If you do decide to take the traditional route of ‘Hi, hello’, you can still add a twist to the conversation by either telling the meaning of your name while introducing yourself or you can ask the other person what their name means after they have introduced themselves.
This is an uncommon game where you ask the other person to guess your name. This game involves major levels of prejudices and stereotypes but it is fun when taken in a sporting way. You are supposed to ask the person to guess what your name could be based on your appearance. Eg. If you are someone who is wearing a kurti and jeans, the person could say Rani (Kangana Ranaut from Queen) whereas if you have a slight stubble and short hair maybe you could be called Kabir (Ranbir Kapoor from YJHD). Just examples though, the real ones are likely to be funnier!
A very simple yet effective ice breaker topic is ‘Movies’. Ask the person about the last movie they watched, be it in a mall or on their 6-inch phone screen. Ask them what they liked or did not like about the movie. This topic has a major scope for progress as you can then go on talking about ‘why Bollywood’ or ‘why Hollywood’, about your favourite genre or even about the portrayal of gender role in movies and whether or not you agree with them. Or may be ask them about the last read book? Or perhaps music?
HAVE A HOBBY?
Hobbies are also a great way to initiate conversations. What hobbies the person is pursuing, what did they pursue in the past, what they want to pursue in the future. That’s the thing about humans, we want someone to listen to whatever we are saying, so just be that listener, and you’ll be good.
OCEAN OR MOUNTAIN
You can also ask whether they are an ocean person or a mountain person. Do they like going for a swim on the beach or do they enjoy going for hikes. Or do they like both? Either way, whatever they answer, you will be left with ample scope to keep the conversation running
SUNRISE OR SUNSET
Somewhere along the lines of the previous point, this is another question you can ask people. ‘Why’ could easily be the question following this and later on maybe you could ask them if they photograph the horizon during either sunrise or the sunset.
You can use these tips when you are in various situations – long flight, concert, at a party or club while you are waiting for the rest of your gang or even in college (if you are still a student). Nothing comes easily, but to move ahead, you need to take that one step. So go on, Unstranger Yourself!