This social initiation activity will help students determine if/when starting a conversation with someone is appropriate, where they should stand when approaching someone, and what they should say when they first approach.

I moved to North Carolina from Massachusetts right after college and have consistently moved to a new city every two years since then. So I’ve had to build a new network of friends from scratch several times, often with no safety net of a mutual friend as a way in.

And making friends as an adult is super hard! It seems like no one really talks to strangers in public anymore. Maybe I’m just spoiled by old Friends reruns where they always seemed to be meeting new people. First of all it was a fictional show, plus they lived in a time before cell phones where even really big, let alone apps like Tinder or Bumble BFF.

If I see a stranger that seems cool, how am I supposed to approach them? And when I do have a fun conversation with someone “in the wild,” how do I bring it from friendly banter in the DMV line to let’s hang out sometime?

I feel like I didn’t really have these problems as a kid, and definitely not in college. But I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there who struggle with just these types of social initiation woes, especially starting a conversation. And as with anything, practice can really help.

This worksheet shows peers in varying situations. Students must first determine whether they should engage with that person or group, and then decide where to stand and what to say when they approach.

Download the worksheet here.

Starting a Conversation