How To Break the Ice and Meet New People

Date

Summer 2024

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The pandemic increased loneliness on an unprecedented scale. It had lasting implications on people’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. As we emerge from the pandemic, now is the time to meet new people and make friends.

For almost two years, people around the globe were hampered by a virtual barrier. People only met on Zoom. Meeting colleagues and friends from work and other venues socially was out of the question.

Loneliness is an epidemic of its own. Mental health professionals define loneliness as a gap between the level of connectedness you want and what you have. Even though it is not the same as social isolation, people can still have many contacts and be lonely.

When experienced in small doses, loneliness is like hunger or thirst. It is a healthy signal that you are missing out on something. If prolonged, over time loneliness can be damaging not just to your mental health but also to your physical health.

To break the cycle of isolation, here are a few strategies you could use to break the ice and meet new friends.

Ask Questions

Many people tend to escape from loneliness by busying themselves with needless tasks or working extra hours. However, that’s not the right move to benefit you physically or mentally in the long run. Often, the best thing to do is to meet people socially to make friendships. 

When you are at social setting, you can start a conversation by asking a question. There are many things you could discuss without being too intrusive. You can use the weather, your situation, or a request. Questions are a great way to make a discussion more interesting. 

Make A Comment

Making a comment is a great conversation starter. It’s always wise to make a positive comment rather than a negative one. Staying positive puts others at ease and makes them more inclined to continue a conversation with you. 

This works well, especially if you are out with a group of people sharing a similar experience. It could be waiting in line for an event or at the doctor’s office. You can find different things to comment about. It could be your surroundings or something personal. Making positive comments or statements establishes a common bond that promotes dialogue.

Be Funny

Being funny and witty is another way to start a conversation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be a stand-up comedian. Sharing small funny anecdotes can surprisingly get people talking and get others to open up. Everyone likes to laugh. Laughing puts people at ease and makes them comfortable. It is also a nice way to lighten up tense people or situations.

State an Opinion

Opinions work better in social situations like parties and sporting events. You can share your opinion on current events, work, the weather, or a movie you recently watched. When sharing your opinion, it’s best to avoid talking about controversial topics like politics or religion. This can quickly and easily kill a good conversation before it starts.

Many people are sensitive to such topics and may have differing views. Staying away from controversial topics will prevent needless embarrassment. It is also advisable to avoid making needles comments on other people. Picking a neutral topic works in your best interest and is less likely to get you into trouble. 

Share a Fact

Facts are entertaining and interesting, to say the least. You don’t have to be a professor to use facts as a conversation starter anywhere and everywhere.

Little tidbits of information can be intriguing and are a great way to get the banter going. Knowing your facts well beforehand is always wise to avoid embarrassment. If you intend to start a conversation with a bit of controversy, you can always use that as an excuse. Fun facts are great conversation starters at networking events and happy hours.

Use a Cliché

A cliché is an overused expression; because they are used frequently, they are an effective conversation starter. They are also an easy way to connect with others because people immediately recognize what you are talking about.

For example, if you just met someone, you could say, “I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but do I know you from somewhere?” In all situations, try to be honest and sincere. After all, what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. 

Making social connections is important for both your physical and mental health. Interacting with others brightens your mood, makes you happier, and promotes a sense of safety and belonging. Using these conversation starters to break the ice will make you forge strong social connections that are critical for your overall health and wellbeing!

David Messiha | Staff Writer

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