While you’re sitting in your seat, waiting for all the passengers to get situated, a fellow passenger comes down the aisle towards you.  She sits down in the seat beside you, and there it is.  A gaping few-seconds of a hole that you need to fill in with words.

If you say, “Hello,” too eagerly, you may come off as annoying.  If you say it too quietly, you may come off as naive or shy.  If you say it too loudly, you may scare the person.

“I’m definitely going to mess this up,” you think.

You want to say hello in a tempered enough manner that it insinuates you are sane, without coming off like you are annoying.  If you wait too long to say hello, you might seem like there is something off about you.  This then, you decide, would surely make the passenger feel awkward.

When it comes down to brass taxes, you know that you need to act fast and just say the word, “Hello!”

Because of this, you say hello, and, like always, you nail it.

“Yes!” you might exclaim, inwardly of course.

But, now what?

What do you say to a fellow passenger after you greet him or her?

What you have to do is reset your thoughts. Shift your thought process from being self-conscious to being genuinely interested in learning about another human being.

Then, start off with such questions as these (Remember: People love talking about themselves!):

“What do you do for a living?”

That question is typical and, most often, expected in conversations.  To show the person you want to have a sincere conversation, take it to the next level.

“Do you like your job? Have you always been in that line of work? What got you into your industry? Did you go to school for it? What did you go to school for anyway? Why did you decide not to go to school, if that’s the case?”

The questions can pour out quite quickly if you let yourself invest in learning about someone else’s thoughts.

The topic of professional experiences can make for long conversations! If you run out of things to say to passengers beside you, however, here are a few more ideas.

Ask about their hobbies, their family, why they’re traveling, what food they like to eat in comparison to airplane food, where they like to travel, what plans they have when the land… the list goes on and on!

So, don’t fear meeting someone new; embrace learning about someone new who is infinitely complex!