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Tips for Talking When You Haven't Socialized for a While

After spending long periods of time at home, it’s understandable to feel a bit nervous about socializing in person.

You may feel as if you’ve forgotten how to interact with others in public or find the mental effort of having a conversation a bit exhausting.

Finding some common ground for a discussion can help you plant the seeds of connection.

Here, we cover how to start or continue a conversation with some simple icebreaker questions. Plus, we include some tips for what to say to someone who has different views from yours.

Connect With Common Ground Questions

Getting into the swing of socializing is easier when you have a few icebreakers in your back pocket. After you’ve introduced yourself, ask a question that helps you find a subject to talk about.

active listening

Simple icebreakers to try:

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  • When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
  • What is your favorite item you’ve bought this year?
  • What is your absolute dream job?
  • Have you ever been told you look like someone famous — who was it?
  • You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?
  • Who was your childhood actor/actress crush?

Worried you’ll freeze up? Listening to someone’s response with empathy and an open mind will help keep your conversation flowing. Practicing mindfulness can also help you focus on what the other person is saying and understand where that person is coming from.

What to Say If Tensions Flare

Tricky topics may come up. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid a conversation that may touch on potentially sensitive issues that reveal you have different political views.

If a discussion gets heated — someone has strong feelings against gun control measures — you can lessen the emotional charge by validating how they are feeling, rather than how they are behaving.

Say “I know what you mean — these times are scary.”

It may also help to clarify what the person means by reflecting back to them what they’ve said.

“It sounds like you’re needing some ways to protect yourself and feel more in control. Is that right?”

Finally, you can always change the subject by asking a question on another topic. A good question to always have in your back pocket: “Tell me, what do you like to do in your spare time? I’m always interested in learning more about people’s hobbies.”

Icebreakers for Group Gatherings

Sharpen your social skills for after-hours work functions, neighborhood potlucks, and other social events with these fun questions and games.


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