Cocktail parties are supposed to be fun and friendly, but sometimes it’s hard to start a conversation with someone new. If you often find yourself trying to think of the smallest nugget of conversation, here are some perfectly lukewarm conversation starters that will keep things going until things peter out again in a minute or two.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
This classic icebreaker is usually the first thing anyone asks, so your acquaintance will have a brief answer at the ready and will also be bored enough by this question to leave it at that. The best follow-up you can try before this conversation is totally doomed is, “So… that must be a lot of work, huh?” Which is a thing you can say before they let an exasperated sigh and say, “Yeah, it is.” And you’ll be like, “Hmmm, interesting.” You’ll be lucky if you can choke out the word “bathroom” before trailing off and walking away like nothing ever happened.
“Got any fun vacations coming up?”
This question is a perfect segue to task the other person with describing their “fun vacation” in joyless clinical detail. Once they bring up that they’re headed to Waikiki beach this fall and are thinking of renting a jet ski, you can jump right in with, “Oh yeah! I went there a few years ago and it was great. I mean, it has kind of a cheesy vibe and the beach is super crowded, but they have this Jimmy Buffet bar that’s really fun to go to ironically.” At this point you’ve taken all the fun out of what should be a lighthearted topic, so now’s the time to squeak out an excuse about needing another drink and making a quick exit.
“That’s a beautiful ring! When are you getting married?”
If you’re really stuck finding people to talk to and you’re starting to sweat from your upper lip, find a girl wearing an engagement ring and zero in on her. Brides-to-be love talking about their wedding plans! Until, of course, they get asked about them all the fucking time by people like you. Once she sees your eyes glazing over as she tells you about how she’s walking down the aisle to a string quartet, she’ll deflate a bit and abbreviate the details, then she’ll catch the eye of someone else across the room that will act more enthusiastic about the giant mason-jar venue they were able to secure.
So next time you’re caught at a party without something to say, say one of these before these so-so conversations with people you feel meh about will just peter out and end without anybody really remembering what happened. Happy chatting!