Super Contributor
Posts: 430
Registered: ‎12-11-2014

I am terrible at small talk. I used to be super shy and Im not now but still not good with small talk in a group or even with someone I hardly know.


With Easter coming I will be in a group of people I dont know very well at all. I feel self concious in a group and never know what to talk about or ask.


When I am asked what have you been up to or is there anything new going on I cringe.  I dont get out alot right now and dont have anything interesting to talk about.

What is someone like me to do?!  I cant fake being outgoing and cant make things up lol.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 31,460
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Not good at small talk

[ Edited ]

@OhioAngel  YES YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN FAKE OUTGOING!  I've done it a million times!  Sit down and think some good safe topics to talk about with those people.  Usually people LOVE to talk about themselves, so make up some questions that willfeature THEM!  Then sit back, smile and nod!


1.  Have you been to the new (restaurant, grocery store, reopened bridge, etc.)


2.  Do you eat a lot of (chocolate Easter eggs, Peeps when you were growing up).


3.  Aren't you glad it's (stopped raining, rained, stopped snowing)?


4.  Do you have pets?


5.  How long have you known (the host, someone you were just talking to, etc.)


6.  Wow this is a big (piece of pie, drink, bowl of dip, etc).


Anything like these questions you can turn around and say "Oh at this time of the year I always look for those Cadbury eggs" or "This food looks wonderful doesn't it?"  "I had to find my unbrella today to get here."


"I work with (someone at the party).  Do you know them?"  "This is a nice party isn't it?"  "Do you know (someone)?"  "Did you grow up in (city)?"


Just don't talk politics, money or religion!  You'll be fine!  Go, relax and have a good time.  Just show some interest in people, look them in the eye, smile and know that many feel the same way you do! 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,667
Registered: ‎05-23-2015

Take it from a fellow shy person, most people love to talk about themselves. If you can comment on their outfit , how they know the host, just general questions usually the conversation will take off. I have always been shy, but for some reason strangers talk to me, so rather than seem rude I've developed strategies. If they have children or grand children you are golden. Try to relax and have fun.🌻

" You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts."
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,200
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

I used to feel uncomfortable in social settings too but I have finally figured out that people generally LOVE to talk about themselves and the questions Sooner listed are perfect topics to start with.  Relax and have fun!

Super Contributor
Posts: 284
Registered: ‎03-29-2011

Socializing really is like muscle, so you are just out of shape.  I have two suggestions and am really interested to hear what other people suggest:


1) Ask questions and show interest in the people you are with.  Ask them how things are with them, have they taken any interesting trips, seen any good movies, tv shows, plans for spring/summer etc.  If you have a genuine compliment to offer, then do so - about the food, someone's outfit etc. Ask them how they know the host.


2) Read up on what's in the news, but stay away from politics.  Keep it very light - and even if you don't say anything - at least you will have some idea about what people are talking about if they are discussing something in the news.


I feel your pain.  I like to "volley" the conversational ball right back if I am not feeling very talkative or don't have anything interesting to say or am caught off guard.  For example, "No, I don't have any vacation plans - how about you?"


Another strategy is to help in the kitchen, if that is an option.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 67,348
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@Sooner. has some great ideas.  The more you you practice, the easier it becomes.  Try to make questions "open ended", that is not answered by a "yes" or "no".  I always wonder what the British Royals and heads of state, first ladies, etc. find to talk about with other VIPs as well as ordinary folks.  Duchess Kate always seems engaged in animated conversation.  What do you suppose she talks about?

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,415
Registered: ‎03-12-2010


I need to take your class!  Well done!

[was Homegirl] Love to be home . . . thus the screen name. Joined 2003.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,665
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@OhioAngel  You've received lots of great advice already.  The main thing is to show interest in the other person.  Sometimes the best way to break the ice with someone you don't know is to find something about them or something they're wearing that you like, and give them a sincere compliment on it.  I've made so many friends starting out that way.  You'd be surprised to find that many people who appear stand offish are just shy, or they may be thinking that YOU are speak up!

Laura loves cats!
Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,620
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

I think if you are shy, it is sometimes hard to ask a question esp. of a stranger. 

And if they are shy back, that can be uncomfortable too or I might feel like I wanted them to share something about themselves, not just ask me lots of questions.

A question or 2 is fine, but I think there should be a mutual sharing or it just sounds like prying.

This is just my own experience with someone who tells people to ask questions of people to try to make friends.

I like to listen to people talk about themselves too so listening and sharing is good. 

I usually start off with a comment, like someone else mentioned-

it could be about the weather-'Wow-I"m so glad it stopped raining!"

And they might say "me too"!

And you could say, did you have to come far to get here or is this the first time you've been here?

Or something about the room, or food, or host, or how you're glad you got to take a nap before coming because it would be a long meeting.

I've found comments that are just general are often an opening to similar things shared and easy to talk about. Then if you start to talk back and forth, you may find you've both made a new friend-2 shy but likeable kindred spirits!Smiley Happy

"If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew. Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
Honored Contributor
Posts: 30,230
Registered: ‎05-10-2010

I can relate to that, I'm not good in groups or with people I don't know either.  Just be yourself and don't feel that you have to entertain someone or compete with others.  If someone says "what's new?"; be honest.  "Nothing exciting, I'm still a homebody but I like to cook and I made a wonderful meatloaf last week, it was new recipe....yada yada yada".  Or something like "I'm getting caught up on tv programs, I live XYZ.  Do you watch much tv?"   People love taking about themselves so if you ask a question, they'll take over the conversation.   "I love that ring you are wearing, is it a family heirloom?"   I used that at a Christmas gathering where of my husband's co-workers, I didn't know a soul there.  The woman told me about her ring ( and we ended up bonding over jewelry.