Every day around the world, scenes similar to this play out thousands of times:
Al: “Oh hey! How are you? This is my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend, Bonnie.”
Clyde: “Nice to meet you, I’m Clyde.”
Bonnie: “Nice to meet you, I’m Bonnie.”
All three: …
Often from here, the conversation continues between Al and Clyde, excluding the newly introduced Bonnie.
Whether it is Bonnie or Clyde, the effortless solution I’ve found that creates a comfortable, all-inclusive conversation is one stupidly simple question:
“Oh cool, how do you guys know each other?”
More often than not, this prompts a unique story about a chance encounter, a tale about being best friends since freshman year chemistry class- a lead-in to something that can be commented on further and drive the conversation without anybody being excluded.
It sounds overly simplistic, but it makes all parties feel comfortable and also allows for quick rapport to be built- maybe even a new friendship or networking opportunity.
This ’trick’ is particularly golden when meeting a number of people for the first time that all know each other, such as in the case of going to a gathering at a new friend’s.
Keeping in mind that everybody’s favorite topic is themselves, this instantly starts me off on the right foot no matter the size of the group. It also shows that an instant effort is being made to engage and meet people, and not just to follow around the mutual friend.
Everybody has been on both sides of this situation and I believe it is a subtle sense of relief for everyone when the new person in the room doesn’t just wait for people to come to them and start the standard ‘interview process’.
Bro tip: This also works great in bars.
Know of another great icebreaker for two or more people?