Reply To: Question for Lee
The general model for opening goes something like this:
1. Your opener gets her attention
2. You tell a very short story or anecdote that dovetails the opener and creates that sense of serendipitous context, as if what she was doing made you spontaneously decide to tell that story
3. The story gives you a reason to volunteer some kind of opinion, and if she’s still listening fairly attentively by the end of your story, after you state your opinion, you are allowed to turn it over to her by asking something like “What about you? What would you do?”
That’s the general model and you can fit almost any opener into that model.
So, to apply this model to the specific question, here’s an example. It’s just an example. It’s not the only way to do it. But it demonstrates the principle explained above.
You: “Are you breaking up with your boyfriend by text?”
Her: “Ha ha! No.”
You: “Ha ha! You laugh but I read this article recently in Slate magazine that said that most people would prefer it if guests left their party quietly and without saying goodbye. In other words, rather than doing the traditional thing of coming to the host and thanking them and telling them how much they enjoyed everything blah blah blah, most people would rather just avoid that awkward moment and have their guests quietly slink away when they’re ready to leave. And I thought, hell, that is so true. That’s what I would prefer. What about you? Which would you prefer, that awkward face-to-face moment or your guests just leave quietly when they’re ready to go?”
If you’re oozing confidence and she’s into talking to you, she’s going to answer that question, and bingo, you’re in a conversation.
So, that’s the general model – Open, tell story, state opinion, and ask her opinion.
After that you can transition into more personal conversation: what she does, what you do, where you’re from, how you got here, blah, blah, blah.