How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

Last Updated: May 31, 2021 References Approved

This article was co-authored by David Kornel Z. David Kornel Z is a Dating Coach for NYC Wingwoman LLC, a relationship coaching service based in New York City. ‘NYC Wingwoman’ offers matchmaking, wingwoman services, 1-on-1 Coaching, and intensive weekend bootcamps. Coming from a bilingual family, David has always been fascinated by communication and relationships. He speaks five languages and runs a language and communication coaching and tutoring business in Europe.

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Approaching a girl in public can be daunting. However, if you pay attention to her body language and respect her personal boundaries, there is no reason for you to come across as creepy. With some confidence and practice, you can learn how to approach a girl and start a conversation!

David Kornel Z
Dating Coach Expert Interview. 24 January 2020. If she returns the smile, that’s a sign that she might be interested in you. Once you’ve exchanged a few glances and a smile, try approaching her to say hi and ask her about her about what she’s doing: “Hi, I couldn’t help but notice you over here. What are you studying/reading/up to?”

David Kornel Z
Dating Coach Expert Interview. 24 January 2020. There are several ways to strike up a conversation. For example, you could ask her if she made her earrings/dress/other cool item. You could even say something like “I couldn’t help but noticing how your dress matches your eyes. It’s a great color.” Don’t be shy about commenting on something that is eye-catching and/or quirky but avoid teasing or poking fun at her the first time you speak to her.

  • If you’re in a place like a bookstore or comic book store, ask her what her favorite book is or what book she’s currently reading. You could also comment on the general atmosphere of the venue: “It’s pretty cool in here, isn’t it?” or “I can’t believe they painted the walls orange” to break the ice.
  • You could also try complimenting her on her hair or outfit. [7] X Expert Source

David Kornel Z
Dating Coach Expert Interview. 24 January 2020.

  • If she doesn’t seem interested in talking, leave her alone. There are numerous ways to tell: not making eye contact, monosyllabic answers, looking around for some way out of the conversation.
  • If she is interested, she will make that clear through eye contact, smiling, and sometimes leaning closer to you.
  • How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

    One word started their conversation: Freedom.

    Josh Dickens and Delaney Cornish, students serving in the Cru movement at the University of Central Florida, had some time between classes and a new evangelism tool they were eager to try out.

    Walking from the student union to the campus’ reflection pond, they spotted Matt casually eating a granola bar and sitting on a limestone bench. They introduced themselves and explained they were trying out a new game called “The Words Project” and wanted to see if he’d play it with them. They learned Matt is a sophomore and a physics major who loves empirical knowledge. He’s also an atheist.

    Josh pulled out a small deck of dark blue cards with one word printed on each of them. He encouraged Matt to pick a card that resonates with his life at the moment. Matt picked “freedom.”

    Josh asked smiling, “So, why did you pick that card?”

    “Living in the country we do, it’s awesome,” Matt said.

    There were smaller cards with words printed on them that Matt used to explain more of what freedom means to him. He chose “awesome” and “good.” Delaney listened intently while Josh picked up the deck of cards and asked Matt if he could share a word that’s significant to him. Matt agreed, and Josh selected “forgiveness” and the smaller cards “essential” and “valuable.” He described his experience with forgiveness through his personal relationship with God. This opened a door to a spiritual conversation.

    “What about truth?” Matt responded with a bit more seriousness in his tone.

    “What do you think that could be?” Josh countered.

    How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

    “Your truth is different than mine – yours is the Bible, mine is empirical knowledge.”

    “There’s a lot of unknowns in the faith world and the actual. The thing is, what do you put your trust in?”

    Josh’s question to Matt is at the heart of what these cards aim to surface: What do people believe and how can believers listen more effectively with understanding and intent?

    “The Words Project” is a new evangelism tool developed by Cru, designed to help anyone start a spiritual conversation using one word. Evangelism isn’t easy, but it can be fun and surprising as we connect with people’s stories and share the love of Jesus.

    Teresa Touma, a Cru staff member who helped develop the conversation starter, explains that the heart behind “The Words Project” is to ask people what they think.

    “One of the things we’ve discovered is that people want to be heard,” Teresa said. “A lot of times, as Christians, when we go into a conversation with someone, we do a lot of telling and not a lot of listening.”

    Conversations help us build bridges of connection to the lives of others. Jesus modeled this in the gospels when He shared parables and spent time with people. He used His own conversation starters – whether writing in the sand, asking for water at a well or stretching a meal of five loaves and two fish in supernatural ways – to connect to people’s stories. And because He connected, their hearts were open to God’s truth.

    After Matt left, Josh and Delaney chatted with a girl named Sam.

    When Delaney handed her the cards, the art history major picked “freedom” and the smaller cards “random” and “designed.”

    “This is my first semester at UCF,” Sam said. “2017 is gonna be a big year for me. Being away from my parents, I have the freedom to do whatever I want.”

    As their conversation moved toward faith and their religious beliefs, Sam said she grew up going to church, but didn’t have a specific faith she believed in now.

    “If there’s a higher being, good for him or her,” she said. “But I’m gonna be here, doing my own thing.”

    Delaney listened and then asked if she could share her card. Sam welcomed it and Delaney picked “truth” and how she experienced it through her relationship with God. The two continued to talk and Delaney saw the next open door the cards could provide her with Sam.

    “I’d love to get together with you and talk about life,” Delaney said. “Could I get your phone number, Facebook?”

    They “friended” each other online a few moments later and discussed connecting again.

    “The Words Project” helped Josh and Delaney start dialogues about faith with people they didn’t know. The resource can help you do the same thing.

    Consider connecting with different groups on campus and ask them to play “The Words Project,” (like gaming communities, alliance groups and societies.) Approach with the desire to hear people’s stories and as you do, share yours and how God meets you there.

    Talking to someone who may be at risk in a public place

    What to say

    You might be worried that you’ll make things worse, but there’s no evidence to suggest that you will.

    There’s no right or wrong way to approach someone. Trust your instincts and remember that you chat with people every day. You may still be helping even if you don’t get a response right away. Simply talking to someone and interrupting their thoughts may be all it takes to encourage them to reach out for support.

    If you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, or you don’t feel comfortable doing so you can speak to a passer-by, call 999. If you are at a train station, tell a member of station staff or a fellow passenger. You could help save a life.

    Signs someone may need help

    How people act when they are struggling to cope is different for everyone. Here are some signs someone might be at risk in the rail environment.

    – Standing alone or in an isolated spot

    – Looking distant, withdrawn or upset

    – Staying on the platform for a long time without boarding any trains that stop

    Trust your instincts. If someone looks out of place or you feel something isn’t quite right, try and start a conversation.

    What to say

    Remember that you chat with people every day. Some life-saving questions the rail staff who helped us shape the campaign have used include:

    – It’s a warm evening isn’t it?

    – What train are you going to get?

    – What’s your name?

    – Do you need any help?

    Remember, if you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, call 999. If you are at a train station, tell a member of station staff or a fellow passenger.

    If you don’t feel comfortable…

    Remember, if you don’t feel it’s safe to make an approach, call 999 or alert a member of staff if you are in a train station.

    What next?

    Think SAM. These simple steps will help you guide the conversation in the rail environment and other settings.

    Start the conversation

    Small talk is a great start. You can ask them if they are okay, introduce yourself and encourage them to talk. There may be some silences before they respond, but just try to be yourself.

    Alert others

    You don’t have to manage this alone. If you’re at a train station, get the attention of a member of staff (some rail staff are trained by Samaritans), ask a passer-by to alert someone or call the police. Ask the person if there’s someone you can call for them.

    Move them to safety

    Encourage them to sit down somewhere safe and quiet. You can suggest a hot drink somewhere – there might be members of staff around to support. You could mention sources of help, including Samaritans and their GP, as well as friends and family.

    We do not recommend making physical contact. If the situation is an emergency and you are at a train station, tell station staff or call 999 immediately. If someone is on the track, do not go onto the railway line under any circumstances.

    Looking after yourself

    Your help can make a huge difference, but it might impact you too. You might feel emotional afterwards and you might what to talk about what’s happened. If you feel like you need support you can speak to Samaritans by calling 116 123.

    I saw a young woman standing on the platform. She wasn’t wearing any shoes but then I noticed some shoes, a bag and a jacket on the floor nearby. I went over and started a conversation by telling her my name.

    Rizwan Javed, rail manager trained by Samaritans in suicide prevention

    What if.

    What if I don’t get any response at all?

    It can take a while for someone who is having difficult thoughts to realise they are being spoken to and interrupt their thoughts. They might seem distant or may not seem to hear you. Be patient; stay in their line of sight if you can and just let them know that you’re there. When you feel ready, you can try and talk to them again. Just letting someone know you are there can help.

    What if they don’t want to talk to me?

    If the person acts defensively, either wait and try again or make contact with rail staff to raise your concerns or ring 999. Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and interrupting them can be enough to start recovery.

    What if I say the wrong thing?

    There is no evidence that intervening when someone is at risk will make the situation worse. And there’s no perfect way to make an intervention, just do your best.

    If you are worried about the person but don’t feel comfortable in continuing the conversation, make contact with rail staff at the station and let them know that you are concerned, or ring 999.

    What if the person I approach is fine and not suicidal?

    It’s always better to approach someone you are worried about. It’s usually beneficial to show that you care and they are not alone.

    What if the person starts to cry?

    Tears are not a bad thing and can help the person release some of the feelings they are having. Just show the person that you are there to help and listen. If you need further assistance at a train station, make contact with staff or ring 999 in an emergency.

    A guide to getting started on GO Transit

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    How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

    Courtesy of GO Transit

    Are you new to GO Transit or just need a refresher on using GO trains and buses in and around the city? Use this beginner’s guide to introduce yourself to the public transit system that can connect you to Ontario destinations beyond Toronto’s borders, whether communting for work, travelling for pleasure or simply getting from point A to B using the service.

    What is GO Transit?

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    Arild / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    GO Transit a is public transit system which is a division of the provincial government agency, Metrolinx. GO Trains and buses connect Toronto with numerous other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton and carry over 70 million passengers a year.

    Where Does GO Transit Go?

    ” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

    Courtesy of GO Transit

    GO Transit routes radiate out from Toronto’s Union Station. The GO Train lines reach out to Hamilton, Milton, Kitchener, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Linconville, Oshawa, and – seasonally – Niagara Falls. Bus routes further extend the system to Orangeville, Beaverton, and Peterborough, along with many other spots in Southern Ontario. Take a look at the full system map to get a better idea of everywhere GO Transit can take you.

    Who Uses GO Transit?

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    Robert Taylor / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    There are many people who live in one municipality but work in another and use GO Transit as part of their daily commute. GO Transit also serves many post-secondary institutions in Ontario, and can be used by students (and staff) to reach schools such as the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier, York University, Trent University, and others.

    But GO Transit isn’t all business. It’s also an excellent option for people coming into or leaving Toronto for recreation, or who are planning day or weekend excursions to other parts of Southern Ontario. Because the GO Train lines converge at Union Station, the system is often used by people from the GTA who are coming in for events at the Rogers Centre, the ACC, Harbourfront Centre, and other nearby venues.

    • Learn more about Union Station and what’s nearby.

    How Much Does it Cost to Ride GO Transit?

    ” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

    Courtesy of GO Transit

    The price of a GO Transit ticket is determined using a “fare zone” system, meaning how much you pay is based on where you’ll be traveling. You can use GO’s fare calculator to get a better idea of what your ride will cost you.

    There are also several ways to pay, which include buying a single ride ticket, a day pass, a group pass, or using PRESTO, an electronic, reloadable fare card that can also be used on the TTC.

    • Learn more about GO Transit tickets and fares.

    How Long Do I Have to Wait?

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    Hubert Figuière / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Unlike the Toronto subway system, GO Trains and buses run on a very specific schedule. On the Lakeshore East and West lines there should only be about half an hour between trains at most, but on many other routes there’s an hour or more between scheduled trips. Some routes only operate during rush hour, or on certain days of the week, or even during certain times of the year. Like any form of transit, however, there can be delays. GO Transit provides service updates on their website to inform passengers of anything out of the ordinary going on that might be causing changes to their regular schedule. You can also sign up to receive alerts via email and text messages.

    You should always plan your GO Transit trip in advance in both directions. You can explore the schedules or try the Google Trip Planner on

    What if the GO Train or Bus is Late?

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    Enoch Leung / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Delays do happen. GO Transit offers a service guarantee which says that if your arrival was delayed by 15 minutes or more by reasons within their control you can request a refund for the cost of your trip. This does not apply to things such as extreme weather, track obstructions, or emergencies. You can check here to see if your trip qualifies.

    How Do I Contact GO Transit?

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    Marty Bernard / Flickr / Public Domain

    Along with visiting the official website, you can also follow GO Transit on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and call their Customer Contact Centre at 1-888-438-6646 (1-888-GET-ON-GO).

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Get news and updates about mental health, addictions and the Mental Health First Aid community delivered to your inbox monthly.

    Unlike physical health challenges – like scrapes and cuts or the flu – mental illness often remains unseen. And because we can’t always see mental health challenges, it’s important that we feel comfortable having conversations about them.

    Talking about mental health can be difficult and awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Nor do you need to be an expert to engage in conversations about mental health. Just a few small words – like asking someone how they’re feeling – can make a huge difference. Whether someone is ready to have that conversation with you or not, most people will appreciate your care and support in trying to start the conversation in the first place.

    How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

    If you’re not exactly sure where to begin, here are a few helpful conversation starters to break the ice around a loved ones’ mental health:

    1. “Are you okay?” Ask the question and mean it. Show you are listening by sitting alongside the person, maintaining an open body position and maintaining comfortable eye contact.
    2. “Are you thinking about suicide?” If you are concerned that someone is considering suicide, ask the question directly. Asking a person if they have been thinking about suicide or have made plans will not increase the risk that they will complete suicide.
    3. “I’ve noticed that…” Open the conversation by explaining behavior changes you have noticed. For example, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been showing up to work late a lot lately.” Then, express genuine concern.
    4. “Do you want to take a walk?” Engaging a friend, family member or loved one you are concerned about in a health activity like taking a walk together can be a great way to start a conversation. Doing an activity while you talk can take some of the nerves and discomfort out of the conversation.
    5. “How are you, really?” Sometimes when someone says they’re fine, they’re not. Know the warning signs to look for so you can know when to offer extra support.

    No matter the path this conversation takes, be prepared to walk it with whomever you’re reaching out to. We want everyone to feel confident to begin a conversation about mental health, sustain that conversation and direct people to the help they may need – whether that’s professional help or just a non-judgmental listening ear.

    When we know what to say and what to do, we can #BeTheDifference for someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Take a Mental Health First Aid course today to #BeTheDifference in the lives of your loved ones and support those who may need it most.

    Read the small talk below and find the 10 mistakes . Then check your answers.

    Woman: We could ask for a better day, could we?

    Man: I know. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. I love this time of year.

    Woman: Me too. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, you think?

    Man: They sure are. But I heard he is calling for rain all weekend.

    Woman: Really? Oh well. I have to work all weekend anyway. I’m a doctor.

    Man: Wow. I’m sure you make good money with that diamond watch you have on.

    Woman: Ah, this bus seems to be running late. How long of a wait is it already?

    Man: I’ve been here for at least fifteen minutes now.

    Woman: Where are you heading today?

    Man: Actually, I’m going to the City Hall to cast my vote for mayor.

    Woman: Oh, what a coincidence. So am I! Who are you voting for?

    Man: Um, well. I’m still thinking about it.

    Woman: Here comes a bus now.

    Man: Oh good. Wait, that’s not the bus we want. That bus goes downtown.

    Woman: Well, it looks like we’ll be waiting a little longer. I guess, I’ll use this time to catch up on my reading.

    Man: I love reading. Right now I’m reading a Stephen King book. Do you like Stephen King?

    Woman: Not really.

    Man: Oh, here’s our bus.

    Woman: Oh great. I thought it would never come. Well, have a nice day.

    Man: Say, did you catch the news today?

    Now check your answers. Did you find all 10 mistakes?

    We could ask for a better day, could we?
    Correction: We couldn’t ask for a better day, could we?

    Me too. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, you think?
    Correction: Me too. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, aren’t they?

    They sure are. But I heard he is calling for rain all weekend.
    Correction: They sure are. But I heard they are calling for rain all weekend.

    Really? Oh well. I have to work all weekend anyway. I’m a doctor.
    Correction: During small talk with a stranger, it is not common to discuss personal information relating to work.

    Wow. I’m sure you make good money with that diamond watch you have on.
    Correction: It is not acceptable to discuss salaries while making small talk.

    Ah, this bus seems to be running late. How long of a wait is it already?
    Correction: Ah, this bus seems to be running late. How long have you been waiting?

    Where are you heading today?
    Correction: Too personal.

    Oh, what a coincidence. So am I! Who are you voting for?
    Correction: Politics is not a “safe” subject to discuss.

    I love reading. Right now I’m reading a Stephen King book. Do you like Stephen King?
    Correction: The woman suggested that she wanted to end the conversation. The man did not take the hint.

    Say, did you catch the news today?
    Correction: Thanks. You too. This is not an appropriate time to start a new conversation. The bus’s arrival indicates that it is time to stop talking.

    Research finds surprising benefits from connecting with new people.

    Posted November 19, 2014

    How to start a conversation with someone on the train bus or subway

    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

    An interesting question is whether my travel would be more enjoyable if I engaged in more conversations with people I met on the plane? This issue was addressed in a fascinating paper by Nick Epley and Juliana Schroeder that appeared in the October, 2014 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    In two field experiments, they demonstrated that people generally avoid having conversations with strangers while commuting. One study queried train commuters; a second, bus commuters. During their commute, some participants were asked to imagine that they were told to have a conversation with another commuter they didn’t already know. Those in a second group were asked to imagine that they were told to commute without talking to anyone. A third group got no instructions. Participants rated how much they thought they would enjoy their commute as well as how productive they thought they would be.

    In this study, participants imagining they had to talk to another person thought they would enjoy the commute less than those who imagined sitting in silence. Those imagining they had to have a conversation also assumed they would be less productive on the trip than those who imagined sitting in silence. The control group came out in between on both measures.

    A second set of field studies actually had commuters on the train and bus engage in conversations—or not. Members of a third group were given no instructions. Afterward, participants rated how much they enjoyed the commute as well as how productive they were. Participants also filled out a personality inventory.

    Strikingly, participants who were asked to have a conversation with someone else on the train or bus really did have conversations. And these participants enjoyed their ride much more than those who had been instructed not to engage with other people, as well as those in the control condition (who also tended not to engage in conversations). Interestingly, participants in all conditions rated themselves as about equally productive.

    If conversations like this are actually so enjoyable, why do people engage in them so rarely?

    One other study asked commuters a variety of questions and found that they underestimate how willing other people would be to talk to them. So commuters feel that they are much more interested having people choose to talk to them than other people are in being talked to. As a result, people avoid striking up conversations for fear of bothering another person.

    Another study found that some people are able to predict their enjoyment of engaging in these random conversations. This study looked at people taking taxis leaving from an airport. Some participants were actually asked to engage in a conversation with the driver or to enjoy the solitude. As in the other studies, those who had a conversation with the driver enjoyed the ride more than those who did not.

    In a second study, participants predicted their enjoyment. Those who routinely engage in conversations with the driver recognized that they enjoy the ride more when they talk than when they don’t. People who rarely converse with the driver did not recognize that they would enjoy their ride more if they talked with the driver.

    A final study examined another possibility: Perhaps the people who initiate conversations enjoy them, but those who do not initiate the conversations enjoy them less. That is, maybe the conversation is only positive for the initiator. This study was done in a psychology lab. Participants were waiting for the study to start. Some were instructed either to engage in a conversation with a second participant in the waiting room or to avoid having a conversation. Afterward, both participants were asked about how much they enjoyed the wait. Both the participant who initiated the conversation and the non-initiator enjoyed the wait more when they had a conversation.

    Putting this all together, then, it seems like most of us are missing out on a big opportunity to enjoy our life just a little more. Many of us travel on trains, planes, buses, and taxis. In those settings, we generally elect to protect ourselves from interactions with other people. Yet, these data suggest that most of us would enjoy ourselves more if we had conversations with the strangers who sit near us rather than walling ourselves off.

    These findings are particularly interesting, because technology makes it easier than ever to avoid connecting with strangers. Almost everywhere you go, people are engaged with smart phones and tablets. Because of those devices, we avoid connecting with the real live people sitting next to us—and it seems that we are missing out by doing so.

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      • Even if you are riding in the rear seat?
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      • (Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?)
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    If you can think of another good question for this list, please add it.