To borrow the lyrics of the 80s music group, the Smiths, shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you like to. In fact, shyness affects nearly 40 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. Shyness or social anxiety can manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes shyness gives the sufferer a nervous stomach, shortened breath, or sweaty palms. In other, less severe cases, the sufferer may simply be tongue tied. If not treated, shyness and social anxiety disorders can be very limiting. Luckily, they are very treatable, and often cognitive behavior therapy in combination with tools and strategies can be used in lieu of medicine. Let us look at one such tool and strategy that helps many afflicted with shyness: great conversation starters.
Striking up a conversation via a great conversation starter with a stranger or simply keeping the conversation engaging during a dinner party can be done with some great topics for conversation. First and foremost, we all know the two things you never discuss with friends, acquaintances, or strangers: politics and religion. Those two emotionally charged topics aside, what is a great conversation starter or some fun conversation topics for when you are socializing at a get together or trying to chat up the attractive barista at your local coffee shop? To begin with the best conversation starter, remember this golden rule: people love to talk about themselves. You can comment (and compliment them) on something they are wearing, ask them about any upcoming vacations, or simply ask their advice on something benign (e.g., should I order the muffin or a scone?) If you are at the dinner party of a friend or acquaintance, a good dinner conversation topic or great conversation starter can always center around the simple question, how do you know the host?
Alright, so we have covered a few basic great conversation starter, but for those ready to master the art of small talk, here several more great conversation starter pointers: if you are the host, a good rule of thumb is to go around the table and have every party member introduce themselves. Some party hosts resort to contrived measures such as using table conversation cards; this method is unnatural and forced, however, and we would not recommend that route. In addition to having guests introduce themselves, it never hurts to get a little personal and flat out ask someone, how do you spend your day? This great conversation starter can lead the answerer to talk about their job, their family, their hobbies, etc. The point is, it is an open ended question that can lead to an organic flow of conversation.