“I don’t know how to make small talk with strangers. I never know what to say and end up awkwardly staying quiet.”
My coworker was referring to his ability on how to make small talk with friends, strangers, or women he wanted to date.
For him, solving this problem was like trying to figure out how to escape from the Velociraptors in Jurassic World.
And after he failed, guess what he did next?
ASSUMED THE WORST.
He began a deep argument with himself, “People will think I’m unfriendly and don’t like being approached. I don’t hate parties, I just don’t love them.”
Of course that wasn’t the case, he’s shy and slightly introverted. And like many shy guys (like you maybe?), he despised small talk, especially the social anxiety that came with it.
Look, I get it. Faking “small talk” doesn’t feel organic. It doesn’t feel like you are being YOU.
You love to be social with others, but don’t like to fake enthusiasm when talking to other people.
That makes sense and I’m not suggesting your fake anything. Being yourself is actually one of my cardinal rules here at DTFSG (Dating Tips for Shy Guys).
As you get more comfortable and practice, learning how to make small talk only accelerates your dating life. You become more comfortable and confident in your abilities to excel in any social situation, anytime.
My coworker’s problem is simple. He cared too much about the perception people have of him.
Tip 1: Realize that people won’t remember your mistakes
Aside from your family and close friends, no one cares. No one cares about your failures, your rejections, or your inconveniences.
The people you think are watching you are too worried worrying about their own problems and what other people think about them.
Here’s a simple exercise to prove it.
This past week were you in public at all? A coffee shop? The library maybe?
Alright, now wherever you were, how many of those people do you actually remember that sat near you or walked by you? Do you recall their hair color? Skin tone?
See, most people don’t remember because it’s not important. We constantly filter out information we don’t need.
It’s how we stay sharp and focus on the macro things that do matter in life: relationships, family, friends, fun, career, etc.
When you are improving your dating & social skills, remember that if you make a mistake, most people, if not all, will forget about it soon after.
The people you think are watching and paying attention to you have their own issues. No one is focused on you as much as you may believe and that, my friends, is the dirty little secret.
And even IF someone you know gave two shits (which is double the interest level), why would it bother you?
What does it tell you about them that they have nothing else going on in their life, but to constantly think about your awkwardness at double the shit-rate?
Do you really care about the opinion of someone that has nothing going on in their life?
I mean, seriously.
Taking more risks is inversely related to how much you care about the opinions of others. The less you care, the better you get.
Let’s take a time machine for a moment…
Do you remember when you were a kid you would just… do stuff?
You wouldn’t think and outweigh the pros & cons of every little action. You weren’t born with the fear you have now or a sense of rejection.
The good news? You are in full control of this thinking. Wherever you are in your skill set, you can start today and improve.
And you learn best by actually living your life… the more you live, the easier small talk becomes.
Ok, step 1 is done. Did you fake anything? Nope, you just acknowledged that people don’t remember much and even if they do, their opinion of you doesn’t matter.
Tip 2: Find common denominators with people and and take an interest
People love to talk about themselves. THEY LOVE IT.
Imagine if you are in a conversation with someone about extra virgin olive oil (boring as fuck, but let’s roll with it).
You don’t give a balls about this subject, but you do like to eat.
Eating is your common denominator.
Let’s go over a small talk conversation script using the above example:
THEM: Do you like extra virgin olive oil?
THEM: Do you like extra virgin olive oil?
YOU: Not really, but I do love to eat! I’m more of an avocado oil kinda dude, not big on the extra virgin stuff.
THEM: Oh I never tried avocado oil! How is it?
YOU: It’s awesome! I throw it on my salads, sandwiches, and even use it on my frying pan to sizzle organic scrambled eggs in the morning. Then I’ll top it off with some aged cheddar cheese from Costco.
THEM: OMG! I love cheese!
(I just used a technique here called Branching. Read more about it by download my free ebook (here’s the link)
See what I mean?
If you don’t have any common denominators, then it’s time to get out there and START LIVING.
When you live life slightly out of your comfort zone, you meet new people, have new experiences, visit new places, and learn new perspectives.
This makes finding common denominators much easier.
Here’s are two ways to jumpstart the living process:
- Meetup. It’s the best resource that’s free and let’s you search for things you enjoy doing while meeting other people. Not only does this help and is fun, but it gives you more things to talk about.
- Ask co-workers out. Yes, the people you work with. Ask them what they do on the weekend, for fun, etc. It will open your eyes and expand your social network.
Ok step 2 is done. Did you fake anything? Fuck no. You learned that in order for people to show an interest in you, you must show an interest in them.
Tip 3: Use their name to create depth
Don’t underestimate the power of using someone’s name. Especially that of someone you just met.
Let’s pretend you just met someone and don’t know their name. A simple small talk conversation starter could go like this:
Them: Yea, I love Italian food.
You: Tell me about that. Pizza is my favorite. By the way, what was your name again?
Them: It’s James.
You: What’s up, I’m [INSERT YOUR NAME]. So, James, when you say you love Italian food, do you know a good spot in the city?
At this point, you have won their attention. Why? Because you said the sweetest sound to them.
If you are wondering how to make small talk with a girl, this is a great way for you to connect with someone. In my opinion, using their name is just as powerful sometimes as giving a compliment.
Now you and the other person are connecting. Training yourself to use the other person’s name will help you excel in business & dating life.
That’s step 3. Did you fake anything? Nah. All you did was use their name because you understand now how powerful it is in your relationships with people.
Tip 4: How to make small talk with strangers when there’s nothing to talk about
“How’s the weather?”
Memorize this line. It’s fucking gold. Anytime I feel an awkward pause, need something to talk about, etc. I use variations of this question.
- Are you liking the weather today?
- How’s the weather where you live?
- How does it make you feel, NAME? 😉
- What’s your ideal weather?
- Is it supposed to be warm or cold today?
The reality is, sometimes you can do everything correct, but the person you are talking to is just a robot schmuck. This is when you use this line.
Keep it in your back pocket as a fail-safe if nothing is going as planned. You will be happy you did.
That was the final step. Of course you didn’t fake anything, you just asked about the weather. Now how do you take these 4 steps and do it in real life?
Simple action step to do this in the real world
If this is an area in your life you thoroughly want to improve, then you must take action. There’s no way around it, but through it.
Eventually the anxiety will start to reduce, the opinions of others will start to dwindle, and the feeling of discomfort will become normal.
Where do you start? You just start. You intentionally start having micro conversations with people wherever you are.
Normally this is the section where I would add a list of to-do items, but the catch-22 of having a listicle is that you will wait until the scenario is PERFECT. The problem with that?
Waiting for perfection is the enemy of execution. CLICK TO TWEET!
Take a moment to consider…
…That instead of binge watching Game of Thrones, you could go to the grocery store and say hello to someone working there.
…That instead of playing Candy Crush on your phone on the subway, you could ask someone how their day went.
If you want to improve your small talk you have to be self-aware and consistently take action. If you are reading this, then clearly you are self-aware and know this is a specific are in life you want to improve. BRAVO.
Let me show you a practical example from my own life how living out there, helps you live better in here.
Case study from my life
This past weekend I decided to hang out with a guy I didn’t really know. I could have hung out with my usual entourage, but I already know what to expect and frankly, I dig variety.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to do either, but when you want to become more well-rounded, your actions have to come before your words.
In other words, you have to change your scenery before you develop an arsenal of social topics.
The fact that I’m hanging out with someone new, means I’m bound to have new conversations. See his way of thinking. Maybe he knows a great dinner place nearby.
The reality is I want you to read my content because it can help you, but you get better at small talk, by living your life, not reading a blog. CLICK TO TWEET!
Start today and remember that comfort is the enemy of change.
Have you ever tried something similar to this strategy? Let me know in the comments!