38 Conversation Starters for the Socially Stymied

I meet at least 10 new people a week, between my job and a large social group that I assist with planning events.  The one thing I hear most often from new people joining the group is that they never know what to talk about with others.  I think a lot of times people will think being social is easier than it is.  I have seen far too many folks freeze up an get that deer in the headlights look whe put into a social situation.  I put a list together of suggestions, feel free to make it a cheat sheet for your next social event. 

Some conversations resemble children talking with each other, like this one: 
Kate: "Do you like cookies?"
Erica: "Yes."
Kate: "Do you love them?"
Erica: "Yes."
End of conversation, but a life-long friendship was forged for the kids when they discovered they had the love of cookies in common.
Here's more, ranging from the easy to the sublime:
1. Ask the other person about themselves. I always notice in meeting new people how many people tend to talk only about themselves and have no interest in me. [As in the old Hollywood cliche, "That's enough about me. What do you think of my latest movie?]
2. Look around: what's in your environment that you can talk about: the landscaping, art, presentation of food in a restaurant?
3. Check out social bookmarking sites to find out what people are talking about [as long as it's not gossip!]
4. If you're going to talk about someone else, talk about their virtues and good qualities. Didn't Mary look great in that dress today? That's a great color on her. Wasn't that a great meal she cooked?
5. Do you have any interesting trips planned for this year?
6. Where did you grow up?
7. Do you have any brothers or sisters? Where do they live? What do they do?
8. Do you have any children? [or pets] Tell me about them.
9. What are your hobbies? [If you have hobbies in common, that will lead to plenty of conversations.]
10. Do you play any musical instruments?
11. Where did you go to school?
12. Where did you grew up?
13. What's your favorite sport?
14. ... TV show
15. ... Music
16. ... Performers
17. ... Movies
18. ... Sports team
19. ... Place
20. ... Clothing trend
21. ... Holiday tradition
22. What would you do if you won the lottery?
23. What's the best thing you learned in the past month?
24. Who are your role models?
25. If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
26. What's the best book you've read recently?
27. What's the best advice you ever received?
28. What would you like to be doing in five years?
29. What would you do if you knew you could change the world?
30. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
31. What are you most grateful for?
32. What was a time in your life when you felt everything flowed easily and you couldn't fail?
33. If you could awaken one aspect of your personality that you had as a child and feel you have lost touch with as an adult, what would it be?
34. When you really want to manifest something positive in your life, what is the process you use to bring it into being?
35. How do you make decisions? What's your process? Does it work well? What would you change?
36. What's a time you made a significant decision and how did it work out?
37. If money were no object, and you could have any experience in your life, do anything you wanted, what would you do?
38. What do you believe in? What do you stand for?
And Listen!
Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going.
Never, ever allow the conversation to go negative. It serves no good purpose.
Make sure you find a topic you are both interested in, otherwise one person will be very bored.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Source unknown

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