Human beings are extremely social people. This is the reason why we have something like ‘society’, which connects us. Although some people prefer to have a more intensive social life than others, absolute loneliness would most likely lead to depressions and psychological disorders for most individuals.
Nevertheless, many of us find it difficult to simply initiate a conversation with someone. Some people really do not feel the need, others are rather shy or socially anxious. Again other people find it simply awkward to start a conversation with someone they do not know. Let the reason be society, our parents telling us not to talk to strangers, the fact that in pre-historic times meeting strangers from other tribes could lead to death, or our genetic programming.
It is a pity since many people welcome a small conversation with someone new. And who knows, it might turn out you connect so well and have so many mutual interests, that you have the potential of becoming best friends.
Initiating a conversation with a stranger does not have to be that difficult, nor is it awkward. The only prerequisite is that it fits the scene and the situation. For introvert people, this might be much more difficult than for extrovert people. But what us so unique, is that we have the potential to change, according to the experiences we make.
Sometimes, it only requires a small word or sentence. I remember when I was traveling by plane from Germany to Hungary, I sat next to a lady reading an Italian magazine. The little sentence “oh, I see you are Italian” resulted in two hours of a great conversation. We connected immediately and talked about a lot of personal stuff.
Often, conversations are initiated about something that is going on at the time. You might make a remark about a book someone is reading, or perhaps something he or she is wearing. You might want to ask someone for directions and go there or ask for an opinion while shopping for clothes. The very first sentence does not need to original or overwhelming, but it needs to fit the situation.
In airplanes, for example, people are often bored and they welcome a small chat with someone. Or perhaps someone approaches you and asks you for something. Here, it might be helpful to know, that often (but not always) people make unconscious decisions about who they talk to and why. If someone comes over to you and asks for directions on a busy street, he might have approached any of the many people around. But he did not, he came to you. Although this might not be an immediate invitation to indulge in a three-hour conversation, it does mean that to him you come across as friendly, accessible, and not awkward.
But just as important it is to make a comment and start a conversation, it is to focus on their reaction. Some people are simply not into socializing at the moment. They will probably give that awkward look, or simply answer with a yes or no. You will know when someone is genuinely interested: he or she will likely stop doing what he just did, turn towards you a bit, and answer your questions or make a statement.
Starting conversations with someone is simple and easy. But often society tells us, that it is not normal, or not accepted. Or people are simply mistrusting. As a result, people often live in their own world, and they often only accept new contacts if they have been introduced via a mutual friend. This is a pity since people and their experiences are so diverse and extraordinary. It would be a true enrichment to the lives of so many people, if individuals would just open up, and are curious about what makes other people tick.