Conversation starters to end the epidemic of loneliness

Many seasoned citizens are not just lonely, they are very lonely, especially if they live by themselves.

It seems that many of us are losing friends faster than we can forge new friendships. It could be due to death, people moving away or, God forbid, stupid reasons like political disagreements.

Either way, people over 50 can’t afford to lose any friends. Yet, we have so much to offer others that it’s sad to see people feeling they are alone in the world.

A website called Science of People published a remarkable list of 170 conversation starters people can use to get to know others. While the article focuses on text messages, these questions could be used on social media direct messages and even in-person conversations. The complete list can be found here:

170 Good conversation starters in any situation

“No matter how far technology progresses, the basics of human connection and the art of conversation remain the same,” Logan Hailey wrote.

Personally, I am not one to carry on a conversation via text messages. I’m too much of a perfectionist that each text has to be perfect in terms of spelling and punctuation. Also, it just takes too long to thumb out a text message, let alone a string of them to form a conversation.

Text messages are great for short notifications, like “I’ll be at your house at 5:30.” However, after about three texts, I’ll pick up the phone and call the other person.

I also do not like text messages because they are an unnecessary interruption which demands an immediate response. It’s hard for me, as a content creator, to get any meaningful work done when my phone is beeping or vibrating every time a text message comes through.

Yet, I love this list of questions because they are designed to take conversations much deeper. The article offers suggestions for:

  • Reconnecting with old friends (for which I have many)
  • Professional networking
  • Connecting with a spouse or special someone
  • Initiating a group text
  • Beginning a deep conversation to really get to know someone well
  • Weird and funny ways to begin a conversation

Logan makes a very valuable suggestion to keep in mind when texting, emailing or sending people a direct message. A big block of text is intimidating. It’s too easy to get lost when trying to read walls of text.

Breaking the message into simple sentences or much smaller paragraphs actually invites engagement.

One of the most useful tools in the article is the chart describing the pros and cons of texting and talking. I disagree with the author who suggests texting is less intrusive. I think email is the most unintrusive form of communication.

Just remember, because there is no emotion in a text message or email, it is really easy to offend others and be offended because it’s difficult to detect tone.

There is a video embedded in the article which describes ways to begin conversations with anyone. It’s well worth the 10 minutes required to watch.

The bottom line is it’s relatively easy to initiate a conversation with others, whether in person, on a phone call, in a text message or via a social media direct message.

Why not reach out to someone today?