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How to Break the Ice

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

You see a guy or a girl that you would like to meet and get to know but you are afraid to approach them. You just do not want to be rejected before you had a chance to let them see who you are. These feelings of fear you have when wanting to meet someone new are normal. Everyone gets them and too often they let those feelings of fear control them and they miss out on a great opportunity to meet someone new.

You want to break the ice but do not know where to start. First you have to understand what ‘the ice’ is. The ice refers to that cold feeling that exists between strangers. Two people do not know each other and there is no warmth of friendship binding them together. Breaking the ice removes that cold front and allows you to replace it with, hopefully, the warmth of good friendship.

You establish a contact point that maybe you can build on if given the green light and a little time. Second, you need tools to help you break that ice and what follows will give you those tools so you can be confident in knowing you can break the ice and turn cold strangers into warm friends.

Find something in common to talk about—

You and the potential new friend are sitting in the same environment thus there are many things you have in common that you can use to break the ice. Here are a few suggestions

At the bus, train stations or the airport—There are number of questions you can ask to get the ice broken and the other party into a friendly conversation.

Where are you going to?

Or isn’t traveling a lot of fun?

Aren’t these delays terrible?

I like your suitcases, where did you get them?

Where did you get that delicious looking food?

These are not the only ones you can ask, look around where you are and get a few ideas.

Outside at a park, zoo or famous building—Start with the weather, then go to other topics

Nice weather we are having?

Isn’t the weather terrible/good/ here in _______?

I love the zoo, don’t you?

I find the _____ interesting, what is your favorite animal?

Where did you get that ice cream cone?

Where did you get that blanket, sweater etc.?

What makes this building so special?

And on it goes. Use your surroundings to help you find that great conversation opener.

Talk about sports—

Even if they do not like sports, a good comment or question will clue you in on what they are thinking about the topic and you can adjust your thinking to make the next comment. If you love sports and they do not, don’t change your views but ask them why they don’t like sports.

People like to talk about themselves and this helps them do that by giving them an opportunity to voice their opinion about athletics and sports. Maybe you will fid out something personal, like they broke their ankle sliding into second and gave up sports after that. You can build on that or on whatever else they say.

Start with a compliment—

In this day and age this may not always be the most intelligent thing to do a so many people judge your comments and claim they are sexist, racist or even sexual harassment but try to find something neutral to compliment them on. Instead of saying ‘I like your sweater, where did you get it” Say “You have great fashion taste, I wish I had that sense of style. Where do you get such great clothes’ instead.

You might be able to give a compliment on their hat or shoes. A great looking at hat is always a good conversation starter

Use their pets—

If their pet is beside them, you can compliment them on their dog and how friendly, healthy or beautiful it is. Or ask them about the pet’s breed, its age, if it is male or female or where they purchased it at. You can also ask them where they get their pet food and pet products,

There are always long lines—

These are great conversation starting environments. You catch the eye of the person you want to meet and talk about the long wait, the popularity of the movie, how you hate lines, or the event you are about to see. There are scores of topic starts found in long lines which will aid you in meeting hat cute person nearby.

Universities help—

Here you can talk ask what are they studying?, what classes do they have?, what degree program they are on? Why they are studying/ and much more. You do not even have to be on the campus to ask these questions. If you see them carrying books or wearing some college named sweatshirt or T shirt you are good to go

Same with books—

Here if you see them with a book you can ask them what are they reading/ who is their favorite author? Or where is the nearest bookstore and so on. Of course you can say you like Hemingway or some other author then ask who they like. Even if you know where the book store is you can ask them for directions and help finding it. You do this just to keep the conversation going and give you more time to display your strengths.

Honesty is always the best policy—

When all else fails you can always try being honest. You can say something like, ‘I saw you standing (or sitting) here and I just wanted to meet you. Honesty will get you further most times than anything else. The other party will appreciate the fact that you were up front and honest about your intentions. They relax and you get a little trust plus you will get a little friendship.

A few words—

Meeting someone new is not difficult. We just make it harder because we have so many insecurities and anxieties which influence our thinking and impede our meeting someone new. The act of meeting someone is quite simple and great friendships have started off with these simple tips to help break the ice. Sometimes great romances have started from such innocent beginnings. You never know what will happen when you meet someone new.

All it takes is a little courage, a little know how and a little skill. All three elements are important if you want to break the ice with that cute stranger and get to know them. One final key, don’t go for the gold from the get go. In other words, don’t go for the ultimate in friendship- romance or marriage—just go for friendship at first and let nature take its course. Build upon that little innocent start and soon you may end up with a lifelong partner.

Along with courage a little patience will turn a simple thing into something good.

© 2019 David Thiessen


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