Table of contents:

5 win-win topics to start dating
5 win-win topics to start dating

Here's how to strike up a conversation and stay within personal boundaries.

5 win-win topics to start dating
5 win-win topics to start dating

It is not easy to figure out how to start a conversation with a stranger: there may be many thoughts in your head, but few suitable ideas. Such knowledge will come in handy in any situation, networking has not yet been canceled. How not to get screwed up, tell Ainur Zinnatullin, a TEDx speaker and trainer, and his co-author Tatyana Shakhmatova, a writer and PhD in Philology.

Their joint book, The Art of Charming Strangers. How to have light conversations without crossing personal boundaries”, was published by the publishing house“Bombora”. Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from the second chapter.

Here are five safe topics for a perfect dating start:

  1. Event.
  2. Opinion.
  3. Item.
  4. Job.
  5. Compliment.

Let's take a closer look at them to really learn what is useful. And let's start with the best topic.


When you pet cats, do you notice how high they are? What about dogs or other animals? Have you ever wondered what this means for them and what need does it satisfy?

So, you and I - people - also need stroking. For us, they mean acceptance, recognition, gratitude, love, care. Psychological stroking is approval. It can be expressed verbally or non-verbally.

Claude Steiner, a student and follower, created a whole theory of "stroking economics". Its essence is that emotional stroking is necessary for a person in the same way as satisfying physical needs for food, sleep, and so on. When he receives them, he feels emotional satiety, psychological stability and healthy physical development. But the system existing in modern society is built in such a way as to create a shortage of this resource, because people who are hungry for emotions are easier to manage.

According to Claude Steiner, there are five types of self-restraint in the stroking economy:

  1. Do not give strokes when you want to share them with someone.
  2. Don't ask for strokes when you need them.
  3. Don't take strokes when you want to.
  4. Do not give up stroking when they

    you don’t need or don’t like it.

  5. Do not give stroking to yourself or not


No matter what we say, we vitally need the approval of others - spouse, boss, mother. Even with sufficient independent self-esteem, we are social beings, and we all need psychological strokes, regardless of age or position.

We are constantly looking for the attention of society:

  • We write posts on social networks.
  • We dress beautifully.
  • We do something “not like everyone else” (for some, the charge is not important - plus or minus, but the fact of contact, attention to his personality is important).

Stroking like this means to us that the world is not indifferent to us. And one of the easiest ways to pet a person is to give him a compliment. However, it is easy to say, and much more difficult to do.

Once, at a training in Tambov, I gave the participants an assignment - to make a compliment. A hand immediately flew up, one of the participants wanted to try it first.

You have such a beautiful shape of glasses! Bad eyesight, huh?

Everyone in the hall laughed because they remembered the collegiality that I was talking about.

Our mentality contains the desire to go straight to tart coffee without unnecessary "foamy preludes". We are so scared of a stranger that we unconsciously rush to become our own, close to him, using words that cause pain.

This compliment stands alongside such as:

  • You are very beautiful! Not like your sisters.
  • You work so hard! Even bags under

    eyes appeared.

But some do not shy away from completely dirty manipulations, which immediately need to be rebuffed:

  • No offense, but you're not that pretty.
  • Learn to accept criticism.
  • Well, where are you with your appearance.
  • Pull yourself together, you're like a rag! If not for me, you would never have become who you are!

If you hear a phrase like this, know that you are being manipulated.

Unpleasant words, right? Many people do not like to give compliments, not because they do not like them - they simply do not know how to do it.

There are two techniques for complimenting.

ZOOM technology

We find any dignity in a person and direct, as in the case of a camera, "zoom" on

specific detail. For example, it could be a sense of style, an athletic physique, or

pleasant energy.

Examples of compliments:

  • I really like your taste in clothes! Especially the combination of dress and earrings.
  • There are three things I can look at endlessly - fire, how others work and the charming dimples on your cheeks.

Unfortunately, for our mentality, it is in the order of things to respond to a compliment, say, "You have such a beautiful dress!" a humble excuse “Nothing special. I bought it yesterday at a sale. " If you happen to communicate with such an interlocutor, in this case, do not try to argue with him, they say, “And it’s not even noticeable that it’s cheap,” better say or write: “I am absolutely sincere. You are beautiful!"

History technology

Its essence is to emphasize a specific human or professional quality.

interlocutor who reveals him from the best side. But this will only work if you have experience of co-living with an event.

So, to the person who is always the first to volunteer to give acquaintances a lift home, you can say:

You know I admire the way you take responsibility for other people! I remember one time we were late at work / party, and you are the only one who agreed to take me home. It costs a lot. I am sure your loved ones are glad that they have you! Appreciate you!


  1. You dress very stylishly! Did you study or is it a natural talent?
  2. What an unusual shape of glasses, it suits you very much! Where can you buy the same?
  3. You have a very strong energy! Next to you, I feel full / full. Are you doing some kind of practice?
  4. Where did you buy this fancy jacket? I also want one for myself.
  5. You have an athletic figure! Have you been to the gym for a long time? What kind of sport do you do?
  6. You're so smart!


We live in the land of the Soviets. They are given to us constantly, on our own initiative, in pursuit, and even when we do not need them.

For example, young mothers will understand me perfectly. One has only to give birth, and you will receive so much unsolicited advice that if each of them were equal to a dollar, you would easily become dollar millionaires.

In secret: we do not need advice from the word at all. We know everything ourselves. But teaching others is easy. And so use it: ask your interlocutor for advice on life or professional issues. He will respond with pleasure, and all you have to do is listen.


  1. Please tell me how you can solve

    such a problem […].

  2. You were recommended to me as a specialist in […]. What do you think I should do?
  3. Do you think this dress suits me?
  4. I didn't quite understand what the lecturer / speaker / teacher said. Can you explain to me?
  5. You performed so cool! How long did it take to prepare?


Do you still remember that an event means being together in the same room, at a general training, forum or any other event with someone? And this circumstance is the glue that binds you. Imagine that you went to a business conference and found yourself at the same table with a stranger during your coffee break.


  1. Doesn't it blow too much for you? Maybe turn off the air conditioner?
  2. Is this your first time at this training / exhibition / performance?
  3. How do you like the forum? How are the speakers?


If for some reason all the previous options did not suit you, you can "enter" the conversation through the subject. What a person wants to hide, he will never pick up. Pay attention to what is in the person's hands, what he is wearing, what kind of notebook he has. It’s very easy to start a conversation with these simple things.


  1. How delicious coffee smells. Where did you buy it?
  2. Interesting diary texture. Do you like to write by hand?
  3. I see you have a Garmin watch. Do you do triathlon?
  4. Does this sign on the ring mean something? I have seen such in Vedic symbolism.
  5. Are your bracelets made of stone? Very beautiful! Do they symbolize something?


This is already a classic. Just ask who the person works, what they do. I think that on this topic it is not necessary to breed turuses on wheels for a long time.


  1. What do you do?
  2. What is your occupation?
  3. What's your favorite thing?

So, you've just learned about five 100% good topics to start a conversation with to make it enjoyable.

5 win-win topics to start dating
5 win-win topics to start dating

The Art of Charm Strangers combines theory and practice. Shakhmatova and Zinnatulin not only teach how to compliment and defend against nasty questions, but also explain why the art of casual conversation is not yet so widespread in Russia.