How to small talk with a girl: 15 no bullsh*t tips

Learning how to small talk with girls is really about learning the art of conversation.

But when we like somebody, nerves can quickly kick in and we find ourselves at a total loss over what to say.

These upfront tips will help you to improve your small talk when speaking to women so that you can feel more confident.

Luckily, the key to speaking so that people want to listen isn’t complicated.

Here are 15 no BS tips to master small talk with a girl.

1) Be yourself (just your best version)

I know it sounds like a cliche, but being yourself is a reminder that most of us could probably do with hearing.

There’s no point in trying to be someone else. If she doesn’t like you for you, then it’s never going to work anyway.

We’re all different and we all click with different types of people. Authenticity — aka staying true to who you are— is vital to creating a genuine connection.

If you’re nervous about how to chat with a girl without being boring, then it’s important to recognize that you’re not boring if a girl likes the same sort of stuff as you. Someone is only “boring” to us when we’re not compatible.

Ultimately you want to be with someone who shares the same values, interests, humor, etc. as you do.

When we’re talking to someone we’re into, most of us try to be the slightly more polished version of ourselves. That’s ok, as it’s only natural. But you don’t need to go overboard.

Trying to impress rather than being yourself piles on the pressure, which is likely to make you even more nervous.

Know that you’re good enough as you are, and let your positive traits shine.

2) Talk to her like you would a friend

I know it can feel next-level awkward starting small talk with a girl you like, but remember that you know how to talk to people. You do it all the time.

Think about how you make conversation with your friends, or how you got to know your friends in the first place. The same rules apply when it comes to chatting with girls as they do to chatting with anyone else.

It’s really not that different. Guys and girls are a lot more alike than you think. It just feels more intense because you’re extra invested in things going well.

Try imagining that this wasn’t a girl you’re into, and it’s a regular girl that you’re getting to know. What would you say then? How would you behave?

Small talk with a girl you’re interested in is exactly the same as it is with anyone else, just with a little bit of flirting thrown in.

3) Be genuinely curious

The bottom line is that we like people who are interested in us. Everybody loves to talk about themselves. Neuroscience says it’s because it feels good.

That means asking questions is a powerful tool for small talk and in getting someone to like you.

When you’re asking questions, it’s a good idea to ask open questions — things that don’t have a simple yes or no answer and that can allow her to tell a bit of a story or require some sort of explanation.

There are literally dozens of things you can ask her about. You can ask her about her day, her likes and dislikes, her hobbies, her goals and ambitions, her family, her passions, etc.

The idea is just to get to know her. You don’t want to interrogate her. Neither is it a job interview.

Try to be sincere. Rather than ask questions for the sake of it that you’re not really interested in, ask her things you’d genuinely like to find out about her.

4) Collect funny or interesting stories to use for later

Remember small talk doesn’t mean dull or pointless talk.

If you’re wondering how to start a conversation with a girl over text, don’t be the kind of person who just sends an emoji. Even when texting someone, it helps to have a point to the message or to ask a question.

Closed questions like “Where are you from?” “What do you do for work?” or “Do you come here often?” are not only pretty unimaginative, but they’re also less likely to lead into an interesting conversation.

It’s not giving her a chance to properly get involved and ask you questions back either.

Anecdotes, things that happened during your day, and real-life stories and situations are what make for perfect small talk.

Make a mental note or even an actual note (in your phone for example) of funny, interesting, or even weird things that happen in life. It will give you things to talk about later.

You can also reuse these stories and have them on standby if you need them and find yourself stuck for something to say.

5) Be a good listener

If you’re nervous about making conversation, then the great news is most people prefer good listeners over good talkers.

In fact, a study found being a good listener is actually a really attractive trait to have, especially for men looking to attract women.

That means rather than focusing solely on the small talk and what to say, you should focus equally on listening. As psychologist Jennifer Rhodes puts it:

“Listening is the way you actually connect with people. When people talk to someone whom they feel takes the time to listen, they feel safe and understood…Successful people are not the ones charming the room, they are the ones who listen and follow-up with the conversation on a topic the other person enjoys. Other people find them more interesting and charming even though they didn’t say a word.”

6) Don’t be afraid to dive deeper

Personally, I think small talk is overrated.

I want to know your biggest fears, your greatest passions, what excites you, and what keeps you awake at night.

Often the most powerful conversations we have and the most impactful people we meet skip the small talk altogether and get to the heart of things.

Of course, it’s important to judge the situation, as it could be considered a bit rude or inappropriate to get too personal too quickly.

But if it feels right, then you certainly don’t have to stick to polite conversation about the weather. It’s ok to dive deeper and cover more juicy topics of conversation.

7) Play to your strengths

There are things about you that make you unique. Having good conversations is about allowing your best qualities to come out.

So when considering what topics to talk about with a girl, talk about what you know.

If you’re a total movie buff, then talk to her about that. If music is your life, then find out her favorite bands.

Whether it’s your hobbies or particular talents, there are strengths that you have that make you interesting. These are also the things that are most likely in your comfort zone and so will help you to feel more confident talking about them.

Knowing your own natural personality and working with it, rather than fighting it, is important when you’re trying to small talk with a girl.

If you’re naturally outgoing with a large sense of humour, use it. But, there are just as many advantages of being naturally shy too.

For example, a lot of shy people are often deep thinkers and good listeners. When trying to talk to girls, this modest nature can come across as very attractive and even calming.

It’s all about knowing yourself and your personality and playing to your own strengths.

8) Try to find common ground

Your passion for collecting Samurai swords might be genuinely fascinating. But when you’re trying to strike up a conversation with someone new it’s a good idea to find some common ground.

Using obscure topics, unless you already know it’s a shared interest, can alienate her from the conversation.

Remember I mentioned earlier that people generally prefer to talk about themselves?

On average, people spend 60 percent of conversations focused on themselves—which jumps to as high as 80 percent when chatting via social media.

That means you want to find things that you can both comfortably talk about.

Not only will it help the conversation to flow better, but it will also highlight to her your similarities.

9) Pay attention

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You can prepare some emergency topics or questions to fall back on, but ultimately you’ve got to let a conversation flow and go wherever it takes you.

If you get too lost in your head, thinking about what to say next, or worrying about how it’s all going, then you’re not really present anymore.

We can usually tell when someone isn’t paying attention during a conversation and it’s not a good feeling.

When you stay focused on what is being said, your next question or topic of conversation has a habit of naturally appearing for you, without having to force it.

That’s why paying attention and not letting your mind drift off is really useful when you’re talking to a cute girl you like.

It also allows you to pick up on the natural cues between two people so that you effortlessly know what to do and say next.

10) Know that conversation should be a two-way street

Here’s the good thing, it’s not all on you. No conversation should be a one-way thing and she will do some of the work too.

Not only does that take some of the pressure off, but it’s a good reminder that if you’re doing all the talking, you need to back off and let her speak.

The best chats involve both people listening and talking in turn.

If she isn’t contributing then she is either a) the shyest girl in the entire world or b) not at all interested in you.

If it’s a) then you may be prepared to put in all the effort for a while, but if it’s b) then you’re better investing your time and effort elsewhere.

When a girl likes you too, she will try to engage in the conversation. When you are genuinely connecting, it won’t feel like such a big effort.

But if it is very hard work, or you’re desperately searching for anything to say to her, it’s worth considering that maybe you’re not a good match.

11) Use humor

Laughter causes physical changes in the mind and body. It basically releases endorphins that set you on a feel-good high.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why a sense of humor always ranks on the list of qualities girls look for in a guy.

Studies have shown that when strangers meet, the more times a man tries to be funny and the more times a woman laughs at those attempts, the more likely it is for the woman to be interested in dating.

The good news is that you don’t need to be Dave Chappelle to capitalize on humor when you are finding funny things to talk about with a girl.

Researcher Jeffrey Hall, Ph.D. concluded that it’s less about cracking hilarious jokes and more about finding ways of laughing together that matter.

“When you’re getting to know someone, laughter is co-constructed. It’s not as if people are giving canned jokes and the other person is an audience member. This is word play. Going back and forth and teasing and having fun with somebody…When people are laughing together they are doing very much what humor is about, which is co-constructing something that’s amusing and light hearted with each other.”

12) Don’t try too hard

I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re nervous. But trying too hard to impress can come across as a little desperate, needy, fake, or forced.

Sure, you want to show you are interested without coming straight out and saying it. But in the dating game, there’s no denying that it helps to keep your cool.

You wouldn’t bombard a girl you’re interested in with dozens of messages all at once would you? It would look way too over the top.

The same rules apply to small talk. Keep things relaxed, and chilled rather than throwing endless questions her way or talking at her 100 miles an hour.

If the conversation becomes stagnant or awkward, or she makes it fairly obvious she doesn’t want to talk anymore, don’t force it.

13) Pay her a sincere compliment

A little bit of flattery goes a long way.

You don’t want to be cheesy or creepy, but a well-meant compliment can be a great way to set a positive tone when you’re trying to start chatting to a girl.

Let’s face it, it’s a chat-up technique that’s as old as time, and for good reason.

If you’re at a loss for how to start a conversation with a girl who likes you, then noticing something positive about her can be a good way.

Compliments are a slightly more flirty and direct way that we signal to someone that we’re interested romantically in them.

If you already know her and there’s something you admire or respect about her, you can mention that you think that’s really cool.

If you’re meeting for the first time, you can make a more observational compliment.

Try to avoid anything too obvious or cliche, and look for something that seems unique to her. It’ll show you’re paying attention and not just recycling the same old lines.

14) Use body language too

Even when it comes to small talk, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

We’re always reading people. It’s been estimated that anywhere between 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal.

Eye contact, posture, smiling and much more about your overall body language play a big part.

It’s not even something you need to brush up on and learn, as experts say that men are programmed to send out physical clues when they’re interested in a woman.

The point is that it doesn’t all come down to small talk.

If you have chemistry and she shows you signs she is into you, what you talk to her about probably won’t matter anywhere near as much as you.

15) Practice makes perfect

The more you strike up small talk with girls, the easier it will become.

We sometimes believe the myth that certain people are born confident when it’s really not true.

Confidence is more like a muscle that you build. The more you work on it, the bigger it becomes.

People who have a growth mindset realize that you’ve got to give things a try, just so you can learn and improve.

The best way to get better at anything is by doing it. It’s these real experiences that count.

Challenge yourself to start small talk when you can in everyday life — like at parties, with colleagues, at the bus stop, in line at the coffee shop, etc.

Practicing your small talk in less pressured situations can be a great way to brush up on your skills.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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