11 Easy Conversation Starters For Getting To Know Your Neighbors
Ever been stuck in the elevator after a friendly hello, not having a clue about what to say next? After the initial niceties, it can be difficult to know where to take the conversation from there. When it comes to your apartment community, this can be especially true: you technically share a home with these people, but beyond that, what do you have in common? What makes for appropriate topics of conversation and the right questions to ask? What happens when a resident event leaves you with even more silence to fill? We’ve got you covered with a few conversation starters to get to know your neighbors…or at least avoid that awkward silence.
If you only have a minute or two…
If you’re sharing an elevator ride or briefly run into someone in the building, there are a few quick questions you can ask that don’t require an extensive conversation but could lead into a longer chat if you so choose!
Do you have any pets?
If you live in a pet-friendly building, this is a natural question to ask, particularly if you happen to have your dog with you. It’s personal without being intrusive, and everyone loves chatting about their fur babies. This question works well when you are meeting someone for the first or second time.
Are you planning anything fun for this weekend?
This one is best reserved for someone you’ve run into and had light conversations with a few times before. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, this may seem intrusive, but if you’ve interacted before and have interesting plans to share, this line of conversation can lead to the discovery common interests. You may just end up making plans together for the following weekend!
Did you hear about X event happening nearby?
In addition to living in the same building, you also share a neighborhood! If you’re excited about an event or activity happening nearby, why not share the news with a neighbor? Whether this serves to inform them about something awesome happening that they weren’t aware of or they’ve already heard about it and have thoughts to share, this is an easy “common interest” conversation starter that should work with almost anyone.
Do you know what the weather is supposed to be like tonight?
Yes, this one is a total cliche, but there’s a reason the conversation always finds its way back to the weather. It is one of those uncontrollable elements of life that we all experience together. If you’re totally stuck and don’t want to stand in silence, ask if they’ve check the forecast (and pretend like you don’t have 3 weather apps at your fingertips), or just make light conversation about the weather happening that day or week.
How was your day today?
So simple, but so easily overlooked. You don’t have to know a single thing about someone for this to be an appropriate question, and it’s very easy to add a follow-up, such as: “Did anything exciting happen? Did you work today? Where are you coming from? How has your week been so far?”. You might get a short answer and a sideways glance, but most often people are suprisingly eager (or at least willing) to share some details while the events of the day are fresh in their mind and they’re ready to unload and unwind for the day.
If you have more time to fill…
If you find yourself in a forced hang-out at the dog park, pool, etc., this is a good time to dive a little deeper. These questions usually provide a few minutes of light conversation and can naturally lead to other topics, keeping the convo going.
How long have you lived here/ How did you end up in X city?
This one works as an elevator chat as well but can easily lead to a bigger conversation. This could be about how long someone has lived in the building, in the city, or both! There is rarely a short answer to this question, and it gives you an opportunity to pick up on other little personal tidbits to ask about subsequently. Then you can take a turn telling your story, and before you know it, you’ll have gotten to know your neighbor pretty well.
What is your favorite place to visit in X city?
This could be a question about the city you currently live in, asking for advice about places to visit on the weekends, where to head for special occasions, or where to take out-of-town guests, or it could be a broader question about their favorite places to visit outside of the city you live in.
Are there any new musicians/bands you’ve discovered recently?
While exact tastes can vary greatly, music is one of those universal things that helps bring people together. Whether you’re filling someone in on a new song you just can’t get enough of or you’re hearing about the amazing concert from an unknown (to you) artist that your neighbor just attended, music creates a bond and can give you great insights about the other person.
Have you heard of X app/game? I’m totally addicted to it!
Rather than reach for your phone to feign business, engage in a conversation about the one piece of technology most of us keep in our pockets at all times. Take a break from the game and fill your neighbor in on your guilty pleasure – they may even have a new game or app for you to try.
Do you follow the X (local sports team)?
This one sort of requires you to be a sports fan yourself, but could form an instant connection if your neighbor happens to be a fan as well. Even if you’re not fans of the same teams, there is so much potential for further conversation once things get rolling.
I’m taking my X out to dinner this weekend, any recommendations?
No, not you EX (that’s weird), but your: boyfriend, mom, in-laws, best friend, college buddy, etc. Most people really enjoy moments where they can be helpful and provide useful information. With a question this specific, you go beyond the basic “favorite go-to restaurants” and dig into which restaurants are best for which occasions and which company.