The Best Tips To Help You Talk To Strangers Online And Offline

Updated May 25, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Every friend you've had was a stranger once, and yet talking to strangers often feels awkward. The reality is that talking to strangers is a necessity in life. Whether to ask for help, get a job, make a friend, or find love, you need to talk to strangers in some form or another. This post will help guide you in how to talk to strangers on both online and in person. 

Are you uncomfortable talking to new people?

Talking to strangers online

For many people, it's much easier to talk to a stranger online than it is to talk to strangers offline. The awkward air you experience around them is thinner. When you chat with strangers in an online chat room or forum, you can think about what you should say next without feeling rushed, and you can even edit your response (depending on the chat site). 

The online world offers all kinds of unique connection opportunities because of the multitude of sites, forums, chat rooms, and groups dedicated to various hobbies, interests, and passions. With these online places, you already have an instant common interest and can use that as an ice breaker. 

Here are some other tips for meeting and talking to strangers online.

Be safe!

This is a common-sense rule, but one worth emphasizing. Most strangers you meet online are good people, but it is important to be cautious when chatting with strangers online.

By being safe, we mean that you shouldn't give away your info to a stranger you meet online in a random chat room. While that may seem obvious, it's easy to casually mention where you work and where you live in during an online chat. Be mindful of your words, and don't say anything you may regret later.

Another thing you should avoid is downloading anything suspicious that a stranger sends you. If you get a message telling you to download something, be skeptical and run it through a virus. It could be a virus or some other form of malware designed to spy on you.

Some strangers may make the conversation turn uncomfortable, whether they mean to or not. If the stranger asks increasingly personal questions that make you feel apprehensive, tell them to knock it off. If they continue, leave the conversation or block them. You are not obligated to talk to someone if their words make you feel uneasy. You're supposed to have fun online, not feel anxious if someone asks you a question that is too personal for your tastes.

If a stranger becomes a friend and wants to meet in person, do it on safe grounds. Meet at a coffee shop or another public location. Never go to their home or have them come to your place until you are comfortable and know each other well.

Start a conversation with something interesting

This is especially true with a dating site. Online, the stranger might be getting plenty of messages. Just sending a a short greeting like “hi” or “how are you?”may make them feel a bit odd. How are they supposed to respond to that? Rather, begin the conversation with an interesting topic. Ask about what they usually do and use this to break the ice between you two. If they like movies, talk about the latest movies. It can be a bit hard figuring out what you're going to say at first, but it becomes easier with time by starting the conversation right.

Be yourself

When talking to someone online, especially when trying to find new friends or a partner, don't feel like you have to take on some other persona. Instead, talk to the stranger online like you would any other friend. Be yourself by talking about what you like and what you dislike. Talk about what's been going on with you, what your dreams are, or anything else that crosses your mind. Try to stay positive. Just don't reveal anything personal to the stranger.

Listen to them

Getty/Halfpoint Images

It's not all about you. When the stranger online describes their interests, listen. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine yourself in their position. Offer advice or sympathy if they are dealing with a problem. If their interests are different, go in with an open mind and trade interests. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn from someone else, be it interests, walks of life, or cultures, if the stranger is from another part of the world.

How to talk to strangers offline

If you've moved to a new place and want to meet new people, here are some ways you can do that.

Many of the ideas are same as talking to strangers online. For example, going to a comic book shop or a game store may be your best bet to connect with others if you're into comics. If you're into fitness, you can join a gym and talk to the people there. If you're into reading, bookstores are a good place to look.

Don't overthink it

Talking to a stranger can be intimidating. That anxiety is something that never goes away but becomes more manageable over time. When you see someone you want to talk to, relax and be yourself. Go up to them and strike a conversation. Try not to be nervous, but rather be someone friendly and approachable.

Don’t take it personally

If you try to talk to someone and don't want to talk or brush you off, don't take it personally. Odds are, you’ve been approached by people when you don’t feel like talking. It probably doesn’t mean they dislike you but instead aren't in the mood to talk. Instead, try someone else, and don't pursue someone who isn't interested. 

Go alone…or with a friend

It may be tough when searching for new friends, but it is perfectly fine to approach someone when you're alone. Or, a friend can sometimes provide support and make it easier. For example, if you feel nervous, a friend can talk to them for you or introduce you to people they do know. It all depends on the situation.

Be mindful of your body language

Your body language can say a lot about you, but can be misinterpreted. Use friendly body language with decent eye contact. Do not look standoffish or tough. Finding the right body language can be challenging for some, but by being mindful of it can make more friends much easier than you might otherwise.

Keep the subject matter light hearted

This applies to online conversations as well, but it's especially important in real life. Online, people may feel more open to disagreements, as there is a barrier between the two parties. In real life, a debate about religion or politics can turn uncomfortable and even hostile. Instead, talk about hobbies and other light-hearted topics. Save the serious things for when the two of you know each other better.

Getty / courtneyk
Are you uncomfortable talking to new people?

You don't need to give out any personal details, but if the conversation goes well, you may want to speak to each other again at some point. Give them an email, number, or social media account where the two of you can keep in touch. If you keep in touch, great. You've made a new friend.

Seek help!

Beyond making friends, talking to strangers has been found to have several mental health benefits, including making us feel more connected, more optimistic, and happier overall.  While talking to strangers can feel awkward for anyone, some people – such as those with social anxiety disorder – find it especially challenging. 

If you experience anxiety that prevents you from talking to new people, you may benefit from talking to a therapist, such as a Regain relationship counselor. One of the most popular forms of therapy is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which has been found to help individuals with social anxiety by reducing anxiety, social avoidance, and self-consciousness. CBT teaches how to reframe false beliefs and negative thinking, as well as teaching new social skills. 

For those with social anxiety, talking to a therapist can sometimes be a challenge. Online therapy, including Internet-based CBT (iCBT), has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and gives unique options for communication. For example, patients can start out using online chat rather than video calls, which may be more comfortable for patients with social anxiety. And you can chat with your counselor from your home – or anywhere with an internet connection. 


Talking with strangers is a natural and necessary part of life, and it can actually improve your mental health. However, it’s not always easy or comfortable. Working with a Regain therapist can help you learn skills to conquer your fears and make new friends. A therapist can also help you keep that new friendship going smoothly and help you to resolve any conflicts should they arise.

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