Many people who travel do so to meet new people while visiting new corners of the Earth. However, even the best of us get tongue-tied in our native language, let alone a foreign language.
Fear of embarrassing ourselves or looking stupid keeps people mum. Lack of confidence often prevents us from attempting to make a human connection with another person through conversation.
If you’re tired of traveling hours on a flight just to chicken out when it comes to striking up conversations while abroad, this article is for you.
Actually, it’s for everyone because almost every person is nervous about breaking the ice with strangers. The difference is some people fake it until they make it while others avoid the situation entirely.
Tips for Striking up Conversations with Anyone On Your Travels
Most people travel with a significant other or friend from their home country. Having a constant companion who speaks your native language can be comforting. However, it can also be a crutch that prevents you from taking the opportunity to chat with strangers.
Before you book your next vacation, peruse travel blogs, such as SaneTraveller, to learn the benefits of traveling solo, using smart hotels and other travel-related content.
Traveling is about broadening your horizons and experiencing new things. Talking about the same thing you always talk about with the same person isn’t accomplishing either of those things.
Try these techniques to help overcome your fear of approaching and engaging people while abroad.
- Learn basic phrases in several languages.
Don’t be one of those people who insist on speaking their native language in a foreign country, especially at increasingly loud decibels. Making an attempt to learn the language of the country you’re visiting will go a long way in endearing yourself to the locals.
Unless you’re planning on moving to another country, you don’t have to become fluent in the language. Basic phrases and expressions can help you feel confident when speaking to the country’s native citizens.
Language sites like Babbel can help you learn many foreign languages quickly and painlessly.
- Introduce yourself to strangers.
The first step in starting conversations begins with introducing yourself. You can practice on baristas, hotel staff and other people who you’ll literally never see again in your life.
As you gain confidence, you can branch out to other conversation topics.
- Ask for directions or local recommendations.
Locals are often very friendly to tourists and more than willing to offer help. Asking for directions or dinner recommendations is the perfect conversation starter that can continue or end immediately, depending on your comfort level.
- Remember everyone else is just as nervous.
It may seem that some people have an innate ability to talk to anyone about anything. The truth is more likely that even the most outgoing amongst us are secretly nervous and shy. But they choose to push through in an effort to form connections.
- If All Else Fails, Ask About Their Dog
Many people get dogs because they are faithful companions. Unless the dog is unfriendly or the owner is in a hurry, you would be hard-pressed to find a dog owner who didn’t love to talk about their dog.
Before you go adopt a dog to fuel conversation, the dog is just a placeholder for any topic that you’re passionate about that incites confab.
As the saying goes, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.