Breaking the Ice

Valerie Herbert

Picture yourself attending a school event, and you have to sit by a total stranger. None of your friends are near you, and you don’t have access to your phone. The event starts in 20 minutes, and the silence ends up filling the space between you and the stranger next to you, as time crawls by slowly. Extreme boredom begins to haunt you.

You think to yourself, “What am I supposed to do for 20 minutes?” 

To answer that question, here’s an idea: TALK to the person sitting next to you. I know it’s crazy. Who would even think to start a conversation with a person they didn’t know? That’s what social media is for, right? 

I’ve been in plenty of situations just like this. My social situations quickly became awkward situations. To put a stop to the awkwardness and to help you step out of your comfort zone to be more social, I have done a little research to comprise a list of ways to Break the Ice. 


  1. Me, Myself, and I. People love to talk about themselves. So, compliment them on something they’re wearing, or ask them something about the event you’re at. Simply show your interest in the person you’re talking to. 
  2. Yes, No… Maybe. The goal is to avoid Yes/No questions. They go nowhere. Asking these types of questions can put you right back in the position you started in. Try asking them open-ended questions instead. These questions could end up developing into a decent conversation.  What shows are you watching on Netflix? What sports do you play? What other activities do you do at your school? 
  3. Come Again?:  You don’t know anything about this person, so they’re probably going to mention something you know nothing about. Let the other person explain the things you don’t know. 
  4. What about You? Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences as well. There is a chance they might mention something that is familiar to you. Why not share what you know or what you have experienced? If you’re involved in school activities, church, or family events, you probably have many stories that you can tell. (Remember, people like to talk about themselves). 
  5. I’ve Got a Good Feeling. Feed their self-esteem. I can’t think of one person who doesn’t like to be complimented every once in a while. Smile at them, be honest, compliment them. This can make that person’s day, and who knows, maybe you’ll receive a compliment too. 
  6. Step AWAY from that topic. Avoid sensitive subjects. For example, nobody wants to hear your own personal gossip. There’s no need for it. Other topics, like vaping, can be very controversial. Try to avoid a topic that can turn into an argument instead of a meaningful conversation. (We are all trying to get along here). 


These are only a few strategies to not only start up a conversation but also try to and get to know someone new. I know these tips have helped me on many occasions, and I hope that you find them useful. Just remember, you can easily avoid a bored mind and an awkward silence by using these six different ways to break the ice.