“Where are you from?” “What do you do for a living?” “How many siblings do you have?” “Which countries have you already visited?” We’ve all been there before. You’re stuck in a conversation with someone you don’t know well, and it quickly turns into a game of 20 Questions.
While there’s nothing wrong with getting to know someone by asking about their background, small talk can sometimes be boring and tedious.
If you’re looking for ways to avoid boring small talk while traveling, here are my top tips:
1. Talk about your favorite travel experiences
When talking to someone new, it’s easy to default to talking about where you’re from and what you do for a living. But instead of rehashing the same old information, try talking about your favorite travel experiences. By doing this, you’ll not only avoid small talk, but you’ll also get to know the other person better.
2. Ask open-ended questions
When you’re stuck in a conversation, asking yes or no questions can be tempting. But instead of shutting down the conversation, try asking open-ended questions. This will encourage the other person to talk more and give you a chance to learn more about them.
3. Find common ground
Try finding common ground if you’re struggling to find things to talk about. This can be anything from shared interests to mutual friends. Once you’ve found something you have in common, you’ll have an easier time keeping the conversation going.
One way to find common ground is to talk about things you like. For example, maybe you both love hiking in the mountains or exploring new cities. Or perhaps you have both had some unique experiences while traveling. Sharing stories about the places that matter to you can help you connect with someone deeper.
Another way to find common ground is to talk about what makes you happy. Maybe you both enjoy spending time with your families, cooking, or listening to music. These are just a few examples, but the bottom line is that everyone has something that makes them happy. When you take the time to find out what those things are, finding common ground with a stranger can be much easier.
4. Be a good listener
To be a good listener means paying attention to what the other person is saying and responding in a way that shows you’re interested.
It can be helpful to ask follow-up questions and to offer your insights and experiences. But resist the urge to turn the conversation into a one-sided monologue. The key is to strike a balance between talking and listening.
In the famous book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, he says: “be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.”
Dale is right. People love to talk about themselves, and if you can be the one who gives them that opportunity, they will likely enjoy talking to you.
Link for the book: How to Win Friends & Influence People.
If you’re a digital nomad and enjoy reading more self-development books, check out the list I made here.
Topics to talk about while traveling
Now that we know how to avoid boring small talk, I want to bring up some interesting topics of conversation that can make your following conversation a lot more profound and meaningful.
So whether you are a couple on your honeymoon, your best friends traveling together, or just having coffee with someone in the kitchen of the co-work, here are some great questions to ask to avoid those dreaded silences, learn something new, and make a connection with someone.
1. What is your best way to spend a day off?
This question can be a great way to get to know someone’s hobbies and interests. It also tells you about their work-life balance and how they like to spend their free time.
2. Best TV Series?
We all have that one show that we can’t get enough of. And what better way to bond with someone than over a shared love of Game of Thrones, Dahmer, or breaking bad?
3. Who is your favorite musical artist right now?
This question is a great way to get to know someone’s taste in music. It can also lead to fun conversations about live concerts, festivals, and favorite albums.
4. What are your thoughts on current events?
Staying up-to-date with current events is a great way to keep the conversation flowing. You can talk about the latest news, politics, or pop culture. Just be sure to avoid controversial topics that might offend someone.
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
This question can lead to some great insight into someone’s life. It’s also a great way to get to know someone’s values and what is important to them.
These are just a few examples, but there are endless possibilities regarding topics of conversation. Remember to be genuine, be a good listener, and find something you both have in common. With these tips, you’ll be sure to avoid those dreaded silences, make a connection with someone new, and spread good vibes.
Not only for travel but also for life
I also want to point out that these tips can serve you in dates, job interviews, and networking events. So, whether you’re looking for love, a new job, or want to make new friends, these tips will surely help you.
I still have boring conversations, and even though I follow the tips above, I still have my share of awkward silences and topics that fall flat.
And that’s OK. Not every conversation is going to be a home run. Remember to keep your expectations in check and focus on the process, not the outcome.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at small talk, and the more likely you will have a great conversation.
Give it time
Don’t expect to be a master of conversations overnight. It takes time and practice to become a great conversationalist. So be patient, keep practicing, and soon you’ll have deep, meaningful conversations with everyone you meet.
I hope this article will end your search on “how to avoid boring small talk.” or at least help you in your next conversation.
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