How to Start a Conversation in Vancouver

I’m going to tell you a secret.

It’s a little trick I’ve developed from chatting with people whom I’ve encountered since arriving in Vancouver.

So you know how difficult it can be to strike up conversation with someone you’ve never met? There’s always that fear of, “What would we talk about?” “Will there be awkward silence?” “What if they think I’m weird?”

While I can’t help you with the last one – especially if you’re actually weird, I’ve devised a near foolproof solution to striking up a pleasant conversations (with willing participants, but I’ll get to that in another post) and hearing some of the most interesting stories.

It’s a simple question.

Are you ready for it? Here goes…

Are you originally from Vancouver?”

I KNOW! Bizarrely simple.

And now you’re probably thinking – wow. That’s a boring question. Why would that ever work?

Vancouver is one of the few cities where a question like this will work, and here’s why: There’s a high probability that the answer will be no.

Outsider’s Guide to Vancouver Secret #2: 80% of the people you meet in Vancouver WERE NOT BORN IN VANCOUVER!  (Note: This is an unscientific study conducted by me.)

I’ve been in Vancouver a little over a month now and I’ve met a grand total of two born and raised Vancouverites. It’s a running joke here that no one who lives in Vancouver is actually from here. So! This makes for a recipe of hearing some great life stories, paving the way for some really interesting conversations.

And now you’re probably wondering, “Oh no. What if I’ve encountered someone from the 20% who IS from here?! Sorry, bud. You’re out of luck. Enjoy the next 30 seconds of awkwardness… KIDDING! Just talk about the weather. Outsider’s Guide to Vancouver Secret #3: Vancouverites LOOOOOOVE to talk about the weather.

Happy conversing!