Whether you’re at a dinner or cocktail party, starting a conversation with people you’ve never met before is always tricky. What’s your first sentence going to be? What first impression will you give? Suddenly, when meeting new people for the first time, all our self-consciousness and anxiety rises to the surface, and we have no faith in actually being able to make conversation without making a fool of ourselves.Obviously, this is totally inaccurate, and we spend most of our existence not continuously embarrassing ourselves, but for some reason, making small talk brings out all our insecurities. We promise you will be totally fine, and the evening will go swimmingly, as long as you avoid breaking the ice in any of these four ways.
Beginning a conversation with a complaint about the party, whether it’s the drinks, the food, the decorations, or the company, is never a good idea. Not only does it make you look spoiled, unappreciative, and rude, but you can never be sure that the person you’re talking to hasn’t made a big contribution to organizing, preparing, or hosting the party.
You may think that telling a joke is a fantastic ice-breaker, but in fact, it’s just really, really awkward. Even if your joke is hilarious, and it does make the person you’re talking to laugh, it’s a bizarre way to start a conversation with someone, and doesn’t lead to any natural conversation flow, apart from challenging the person you’re talking at to respond with a funnier joke, which is everybody’s worst nightmare.
You may think that in the setting of a party, voicing your political opinions is a safe, sure-fire way to get the conversation started, as surely everyone at this event will have the same thoughts and views as you, right? Wrong! You can never be sure of anybody’s political views, so don’t risk upsetting them, or starting an argument, by introducing yourself with a statement on the upcoming election.
No one was ever impressed by anyone who started a conversation with a pick-up line —especially an overused, cheesy, clichéd one. While a simple, honest compliment is fine, be sure to keep the pick-up lines for Tinder, not a dinner or cocktail party.