Conversation Starters for Teens

Icebreaker exercises will help you talk in a group setting.
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It's awkward being in a new setting where you don't know anyone and are looking to make friends. Being ready with a conversation starter will make it easier to approach a new person, according to the article "5 Ways to Shake Shyness" by Dr. D'Arcy Lyness. Several types of conversation starters will lead you on the road to establishing new relationships.

1 Skip Yes or No Questions

Asking the right questions can open the door to endless conversations. Ask questions that will provide more feedback than an ordinary response. Shy people can ask open-ended questions that are thought-provoking and will give more than a yes or no answer to keep a conversation going, according to the Indiana University Shyness Research Institute. Avoid closed-ended questions, such as "Do you like ice cream?" Instead, ask open-ended questions, such as "What are you doing over spring break?" or "What places do you usually go on vacation with your family?" to receive a more in-depth response.

2 Find Something You Like

Giving a compliment will be an ideal way for you to strike up a conversation with someone new. Remember that good compliments must be genuine and the more specific they are the better, according to the Psychology Today article "The Art of the Compliment," by Hara Estroff Marano. Find something you really like about another person to give a sincere compliment. For example, if you see someone wearing a sports jacket with your favorite team's logo, you can say, "Nice jacket! I knew they would win last night, didn't you?" and thus start a discussion on an interest you both share.

3 Introduce Who You Are

Getting up the guts to introduce yourself in a friendly manner is a way for you to start a conversation with someone else. An introduction, such as, "Hi. I'm Dave. I think we're in the same Spanish class," or "Hey. My name is Tina. I'm new here. What's your name?" are simple ways to present yourself. It will be helpful for you to rehearse what to say first to appear confident and friendly to another person. You will feel comfortable practicing social behaviors with people you know first and then be able to branch out to others, explains Lyness.

4 Try to Break the Ice

If you're in a group setting with other teens, initiate icebreaker activities that will ease nervous jitters and help everyone meet new friends. Icebreaker games, such as "My Bag," will encourage everyone to open up to others in the group. Divide into pairs. Tell each person they must place five items in a bag that represents them and explain why they are important to their partner. This game will help someone learn more intimate thoughts and details about the other person and keep the conversation going, according to "The Teen Doc," Dr. Adekemi Oguntala. Another suggested idea is for pairs to describe a happy moment in their life to their partner.

Wannikki Taylor is a professional writer with a Bachelors of Arts in journalism from Temple University. She serves as a children's columnist and covers family entertainment for several print and online publications. She specializes in games, crafts and party planning ideas for kids and their families.