1. I ask questions. If I want to talk to someone I can typically find something interesting to ask them about, then I just keep asking questions. One good strategy to pair with this is to make it personal. Ask how they reacted, how that situation made them feel, etc.
2. Look in the immediate area for something that looks mildly interesting and talk about it, or squint at it and chat it up as if it’s a WTF moment.
3. Ask more open ended questions.
About hobbies, interests (books, travel, childhood favorites, things they wanna start doing but haven’t).
Their opinions on topics (about a specific movie, concepts such as artificial intelligence and the future, etc).
What they would change about their life if they could at the snap of a finger.
4. A few things to keep a conversation moving that have worked for me:
Context around you. If you find yourself stumbling to find a topic, look around you, pull something out of the area you’re in.
Also don’t forget to use a bit more flavorful words. A wise man once said “So avoid using the word ‘very‘ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do”
5. Ask what shows/movies people have seen recently.
Ask what they’ve been doing at work/school.
Ask about a hobby.
Tell a short story about something funny or interesting that happened to you recently.
6. Don’t be searching for a topic to talk about that they may be interested in. Just talk about something. Everyone has something they wanna talk about. I usually mention something about whatever I’ve been reading or listening to or something dumb my friend said or make a joke or something. Whatever tangentially related thing the last part of the conversation made you think about, talk about it. Have fun in a conversation ya know, don’t be afraid to talk about yourself.
And obviously give the other person time to do the same thing.
7. I often read the news and am on track with everything, so I always have a backup topic.
8. My favorite is to ask about a vague detail from the last time you spoke, or asking about how their family is doing. Almost every time, it perks up the conversation because now they get to talk about something relevant/interesting to them!
9. Get them talking about something they’re interested in.
10. Each time the conversation hits a lull, tell a joke.
Probably works better if you don’t tell the same joke each time though.
11. Follow-up questions that ask how they feel about something.
What do you do for work? Do you like it? Oh really, why?
Just an example.
12. Listening is super important, and then ask follow up questions. Ask for more clarification, ask about certain details, ask how they came to that conclusion, ask if they ever ran into that situation before, ask what their motivation was.
Changing to a different topic each question isn’t a conversation, but continuing to ask follow up questions is.
13. Send memes.
14. I always try to respond to their previous point, usually with a “what about you/what do you think” or something. If the conversation dies though then oh well I guess it was meant to die.
15. Sometimes it’s okay to let a conversation die. Silence is okay.
If I’m on a first date, or in some situation where I want to avoid lulls in conversation, I’ll make lighthearted assumptions and give them an opening to ask me questions, or I’ll pose an anecdote as a conversation opener.