How to Get Past Small Talk (Video of Conversations Between Strangers)

Question:

How do you turn someone you have a chat with every now and then into an actual friend?

How do you go from just being acquaintances – to being able to hang out one on one?

We need to first get past the small talk and actually connect.

Today I’m gonna show you what I do to avoid running out of things to say and how to get an interesting conversation going. You know – a conversation that actually helps you bond.

This is like pressing fast forward on your interaction until you start connecting.

Some people have a hard time becoming close friends with people they like. In the video below, I show some of the principles that have helped my participants the most.


Often the hardest part isn’t meeting new people. It’s to create a connection and build a relation with them – without having to put on a mask.

Here’s how I do it:

 

Here’s what you will learn in the video:

00:22 – How a team of Canadian researchers turned total strangers into close friends in 45 minutes
01:33 – The factor that decides if we become closer or not
01:50 – How to get past the small talk by turning any conversation into PERSONAL MODE
02:34 – The questions I use to get past the small talk
03:58 – Why we rigged an apartment “Big Brother”- style
04:23 – Actual conversation between me and someone I’ve never met before to show how I get past the small talk

After you’ve started the conversation, you’ll have to open up a bit to make a deep connection with someone, but it can be hard to know to what degree you should do it. What if you get too personal and they back off? In the video, I show how to keep the right balance.

One of our readers, Lasse, after trying this method when he was visiting his dad.

 

Notice in the video that this is not about being a shallow person, faking it, or becoming like everyone else. (Quite the opposite, actually.)

Listen to the kind of questions I ask in the video and see how they transform the entire conversation. It becomes genuinely interesting.

“But David, I’m not interested in what others are doing”
-or-
“I’m not even that curious about people!”

You know what? I also don’t care about how Joe has an annoying work colleague and I don’t want to hear about how Joanne’s boyfriend never calls.

A lot of people I come across don’t interest me that much. It’s about asking the right questions, so you can figure out if you DO have something in common. You have to ask the right questions to find out.

You can see how we cut through the meaningless stuff in the video, getting into what’s actually personal and interesting. This is where the bonding happens and the conversation gets interesting.

“But David, it feels weird learning this stuff. It should come naturally.”

For years I thought, if I start practicing this, I will become just like one of those shallow partygoers and lose who I am.

Do you hear how irrational that sounds? Just because I become a better conversationalist, how would that make me shallow or fake?

This is a common mistake: Looking at people who are good at something and thinking we will automatically get their bad sides with the good.

Becoming a conversationalist won’t automatically turn you into someone else. It just means that you’ve improved.

Ironically, the side effect of improving socially is that I can be myself more than ever. I can be the nerd that I’ve always been and people still like me, because I’m socially skilled. I’m fun to talk to. I’m confident in who I am.

This is what I will talk more about the coming days. How to have fun and truly enjoy being around people – while still being yourself.

P.S What would you like to be better at when it comes to making conversation?

Let me know in the comments!

By writing down what you want to improve you drastically increase your chances of reaching your goals.

I’m excited to read about what you want to improve! I’ll make sure to read every comment.

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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  1. so im bad at reacting to peoples body language rather or not to approach him or her and start up a conversation i wanna improve on being able to approach a person and not come off as desperate

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  2. I really suck at making the conversation flow or even start a conversation with someone because my mind keeps shutting down and my social anxiety kicks in and I’m very very socially awkward person. I want to be fun to be with when someone’s talk to me and will never run out of things to say.

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  3. Maybe this is a self esteem thing but whenever I’m talking amongst a group of people, i feel boring or uninteresting compared to them which causes me to speak less because I always feel like “no one is listening” or “no one cares”

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  4. In big group settings my anxiety really kicks in and I get so nervous I just shut down. We have a big friend group and when we all get together it can be hard to feel seen and heard. I get sweaty, heart beats fast, and very nervous about what I should say and how they will think of me after saying it. I would like to be better at being myself and not feeling so held down from my anxiety and fear of being made fun of.

    Reply
  5. I am okay with a single person but sometimes I have to go to places where there are 5-6 people who are also close friends and I find it hard to bond with them.

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  6. I have a hard time making conversation with people. Sometimes I really want to talk to someone and be their friend, but I’m too much in my head and I can never figure out how to talk to them so I just keep quiet. Whenever I’m talking to someone I constantly rely on them to make the conversation because I never know what to say. When I do say something, I often stumble on my words because I’m so nervous about what the other person thinks about me.

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  7. I want to improve on the awkward, anxious feeling. Make conversations go further than hi, how are you? I want to be relaxed and feel comfortable when starting a conversation.

    Reply
  8. Hi David
    Well the thing is when I’m in a situation where i have to converse with someone, it gets really awkward. I’m constantly wondering if I’m not good enough to talk to or if i sound too boring. There are a lot of awkward silences and I mentally cringe everytime it happens. It feels like I’m coming off as very rude and I always depend on the other person to start talking again. It makes me feel stupid and hopeless.
    So I’d like to learn to keep a conversation going and not appear rude or boring, and I’d love to improve my social skills and appear more friendly and confident.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Hi David.

    Most of the times I don’t know how to start a conversation with other people even if I really want to talk to them. I don’t know how to do first moves and approach others but I’m trying. I sometimes think that I’m boring and that person will say something to me or laugh at me. But the good thing about me is that, when someone starts a conversation I know how to shift such topics. There are also times of an awkward silence. These are the things I want to improve.

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  10. Hi David.
    I think it’s awkward when people ask me about something “more deep” like what I think about something and I don’t have an answer. I get a question like “What do you think about this…” And I thinks for a second and then I just say “I don’t really know” And then its gets silent and awkward. It’s also very awkward when the person I talk to always have many thoughts about a subject and I don’t have any. The person open ups so much to me I just say “I don’t know”, and then they think that it’s unnecessary to open up to me because I don’t open up to them.

    Reply
  11. Hi David,
    Now of course im absolutely terrible when it comes to starting and hold a conversation so these are my things i want to improve myself

    Reply

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