So you’ve been told time and time again that you should try and talk to as many people as possible, particularly during Freshers’ where the majority of people are nervous and missing home. That’s all good, but how do you go about it? The first words in a conversation can make or break it, and not knowing what to say when you first meet someone is not a good feeling – but that is where our guide comes in. We’ve got a selection of conversation starters for you here, so read on to see which ones you could use.

  • “Hi, I’m Bob, nice to meet you!”

Ok we are telling you the obvious here, but you’d be surprised at how you can forget this basic introduction, particularly in a stressful situation such as meeting your lecturer or tutor for the first time. If you do forget, you can make a joke of it, but it’s often best to at least introduce yourself before chatting about anything!

  • “So what Halls are you in/what are you studying?”

Chances are, most of the people you’ll meet in the first week will be from Halls or from your introductory lectures, so make sure you ask them about their course if you met through halls or vice versa. Again, this is a relatively simple introduction, but it provides you something to talk about before going on to talk about other things.

  • “Do you know when this event is taking place?”

They may have no idea, but not much harm can come from asking if you need to know, and equally you may be the one who does know and is asked. This is a good starter because you can talk about the specific event and all the other events taking place, and if you’re looking for someone to go with then this is great way of encouraging people.

Knock knock, who’s there?

  • A joke can be a bit of a risky strategy, particularly if they’re not funny (we’re not all comedians, despite our best efforts), but if it works then the pay off can be huge. Humour is well known to impress people and keep them talking to you, so it might be time to crack out that joke your mate told you. But don’t ever do a Christmas cracker joke, that’s a sure fire road to disaster and will only leave you with a dodgy paper hat. We also recommend you stay away from anything you think may be offensive for obvious reasons.

Of course these are all good conversation starters, but there are also some topics you might like to avoid the first time you meet someone new. Contentious issues, particularly politics, can be a major bone of contention so they’re often best avoided (unless of course it’s in a politics course, in which case, go ahead!). Similarly, rudeness of any form is a no-no, and it’s only when friendships are beginning to build up that rib-tickling is advised (although maybe not literally). Now you’re equipped, go and use some of these with the people you’re going to be meeting soon!