5 small talk topics that keep the conversation flowing naturally

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. Despite having a lot of thoughts and opinions, it’s fairly common to become tongue-tied, and whether you’re around some mixed company or your closest friends, it’s natural to experience lulls in conversation. To prevent the dreaded awkward silence, test out these five tips and topics to keep the conversation flowing, all without resorting to small talk about the weather.

A group makes small talk
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Ask for recommendations

Generally, people like to talk about themselves and the things they like.

Asking for recommendations can bring authenticity to your small talk by engaging in others’ interests as opposed to general topics. Just ask questions about things that genuinely pique your interest, and the conversation will be easier and more natural. Take a poll to see what the best new restaurant is, where to find the perfect pair of tennis shoes, or what movie will take the Academy Award for Best Picture. If all else fails, almost everyone has an answer to, “What are you binging on Netflix?”

Before you know it, you’ll be engaging in a lively discussion, and maybe even a debate, about these shared interests. You also set yourself up for follow-up conversations in the future if you or anyone else tests out the shared recommendations.

A casual group makes small talk
Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Entertainment

Entertainment is a cornerstone in the art of small talk. With the wide availability of streaming services at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to watch your favorite movies and TV shows, listen to newly released music and podcasts, and read through your ever-growing book list.

Because most streaming services are either free or provided at a low monthly cost, these entertainment experiences are easy to access. It’s a pretty safe bet that if someone isn’t in the know about the latest in pop culture, they can easily catch up.

Food and restaurants

Everyone eats, right? This small-talk topic follows the same principle as the weather: When it affects everyone, it’s much easier to discuss. However, unless you’re a passionate meteorologist, food is much more personal than the weather.

Whether you’re a fast-food aficionado or a bonafide home chef, you can encourage conversation with the simple question, “Have you eaten anything good recently?” If you’re comfortable diving into a stickier topic, ask about the weirdest, most exotic, or rarest food they’ve ever eaten. People who travel often, especially internationally, have likely taste-tested some dishes that you or others in the group never considered.

You’ll be surprised at the diversity you find in a topic about food and dining. From then on, this opens up opportunities to follow up and share recipes, restaurants, and kitchen hacks. Maybe you’ll even get a new lunch buddy out of it!

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Sports

Not everyone’s a sports fan, but those who are will quickly jump at the opportunity to talk about their favorite teams and players, the big game, or any trending news of the day.

However, this topic isn’t just for the die-hard fans. The great thing about sports is that you don’t have to be invested in the nitty-gritty to enjoy the culture. Championship games and live events are great opportunities to bring people together, whether they’re focused on the players or the halftime entertainment. Although tight games can get tense, the competition is almost always good-natured and far more likely to lead to laughter than genuine anger.

Travel

A conversation on travel varies widely, changing based on the experiences and desires that are unique to each person. Traveling can be such a transformative experience, and many are willing to share and compare their highs and lows of their trips whether it was across the state or across the globe. If you haven’t had the time, energy, or money to travel, it’s always fun to talk about dream vacations. Simply ask where everyone would go if they could go anywhere in the world, and watch the room become absorbed in a heated conversation.

No matter your small-talk strategy, don’t forget to “read the room” before you jump into a topic, especially if that topic is PG-13 or higher. It’s fair to want to talk about your interests but it’s important to be socially courteous, match the flow of conversation, and listen as much as you speak. Once you’re in the small-talk flow, you’ll find it’s a fairly easy business, making you the life of the party in no time.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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