How to Ask Someone to Talk to You

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Whether someone is known or unknown, asking them to talk to you may appear to be very difficult at times, depending on different situations. Especially it is more challenging to start a conversation with an acquaintance if you are not on good terms.

No one wants to make it a complete mess while asking someone to talk to them. However, if you do not know the proper way to approach someone, you may be considered annoying to them, and they may not allow you to talk to them.

As a general rule, you are expected to use polite expressions and body language while asking someone to talk to you. Begin the conversation with positivity and confidence to create a good first impression, stay honest about your feelings, and be considerate about their availability while asking someone to talk to you. 

Are you looking for a book or a guide to help you learn and improve your English? You may try English Made Easy Volume One: A New ESL Approach: Learning English Through Pictures (Amazon Link).

If you are wondering how to do that, this article may act as a guide to you. Here, I will share ten simple but effective strategies that can surely help you communicate more effectively to get someone to talk to you. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Use Polite expressions to Ask Someone to Talk to You

Politeness is the key to dealing with people effortlessly and smoothly. It helps to maintain an excellent relationship with the people surrounding you. If you are polite, you will be appreciated by everybody. As a result, you will feel confident, improve your networking skills, and boost your self-esteem.

No matter your situation, politeness can help you achieve what you hanker after.

While asking someone to talk to you, you are expected to choose polite words and expressions. Your one wrong word choice may cause miscommunication between you and the person you want to talk to. Worry not! Here, I present a list of polite expressions that you can use to ask people to speak to you.  

  • May I have a few words with you?
  • Could I have a word with you?
  • May I talk to you about something?
  • Would you please give me some time? I want to talk about something with you.
  • Would you like to talk to me for a while? I am bothered by some issues.
  • Would you please allow me to discuss with you something important?
  • I value your advice. May I have some time from you regarding a matter?
  • Can I speak a little with you?
  • Can you give me a minute to talk?
  • Do you have a moment?
  • Have you got a moment?
  • I would like to share something with you. Do you have some time?
  • If your schedule is open tomorrow, I would like to talk to you in person.
  • If you are not busy right now, may we sit somewhere and talk.
  • Please call me back when you are free. I have something to share.

Note: Whenever you wish to speak to someone, greet them first and then ask for permission. Especially when you talk to strangers, you should greet and introduce yourself first, then ask for permission to talk. There are numerous polite ways you can use to ask for permission. You can learn them from my article titled How to Ask for Permission Politely in English.   

Be Confident That It’s Fine to Ask Someone to Talk to You

It’s pretty common for many of us to feel nervous about talking to someone, especially when in a formal setting or talking to a stranger. Your palms may sweat, your heart may beat faster, and you may feel flushed. However, there is no reason to feel less confident to ask someone to talk to them.

We are human beings who live in a society together, side by side. One is here to help another. So, it’s OK to ask people to talk to you so that you can share your thoughts and problems. Believe in yourself and give it a try.

Be Honest About Your Feelings While Asking Someone to Talk

Talking to someone about your problems is not always easy, and people may not always welcome you to listen to you. You can follow different strategies to make people feel empathetic and listen to you. But remember, don’t try to manipulate people with fake expressions and intentions.

You can annoy people if they understand that you are not honest about your feelings and try to manipulate them. It would be best to be very honest, as honesty is the best strategy to gain an authentic first impression from someone.

Of course, you can be strategic, but the strategies must be objective, and your approach should be healthy enough. Your honesty will add beauty to your confidence, communication skills, and politeness while asking someone to talk to you.

Ask Someone to Talk to You, Considering Their Availability

ask someone to talk

Before you ask people to talk to you, you must consider whether they are available or not. If you ask them to give you some time when they are busy, you might get rejected and appear to be selfish. So, you should acknowledge and respect the importance of their time.

It’s better to ask someone if they are free before you ask them to talk to you about something. In my article How To Ask If Someone Is Available, I have discussed more than twenty polite and appropriate expressions and sentences that you can use to ask about someone’s availability.

Begin With Positivity and create a Good First Impression

ask someone to talk

Whoever you talk to, being positive is very important. Even if you are going through a bad time, it would be best to feel cheerful and sound optimistic. Always wear an authentic smile. It will prove your strength and help you stay courageous to fight life’s ordeals. If you remain frustrated, it means you have no intention to help yourself. And if you don’t help yourself, why will other people help you?

We all know that “The first impression is the best impression.” Creating a good impression right at the beginning of a conversation may ease your effort to convince someone to talk to you. You can make a great first impression on the people you meet for the first time in different ways.

  • Be approachable
  • Be confident
  • Be open-minded
  • Be polite
  • Be positive
  • Be presentable
  • Be yourself

Be Polite in Using Your Tone and Body Language

ask someone to talk

When you ask someone to talk to you, your appropriate choice of words is necessary, but it’s not everything. Your every effort may go in vain if your tone is not polite enough. Thus, maintaining a courteous and sympathetic tone is essential to making requests or asking for permission.

Your well-mannered body movements and gestures can help convince the person you request to talk to you. Wearing a polite smile, making eye contact, and keeping a sympathetic facial expression are positive gestures that can help you show politeness.    

To know the importance of a polite voice tone and body language, you may read How to Use Your Voice Tone & Body Language.

Apply the Art of Small Talk While Having a Conversation

In business, you are expected to meet different people every day for various purposes. Some are familiar to you, and some you meet for the first time in your life. Which skills do you need most to deal with those people?

“In business, everything starts with a conversation. Whether it’s making a sale, hiring an employee, or negotiating a lease, excellent conversational skills are a must.”

Denise Marinacci, CC, Edmonds Toastmasters Club, Washington

Well, here comes the necessity of small talk. If you have small talk skills, it can significantly help you to develop your conversation skills. You can comfortably initiate a conversation with small talk, regardless of the conversation kind—client meetings, business deals, negotiating with suppliers, etc.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines small talk as a “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.” Establishing personal and professional networks and relationships is a great skill. Once you become a master of small talk, you can use this skill to initiate a conversation easily and dynamically.

Make Your Purpose Clear and Tell Why It’s Important to Talk

Whenever you ask someone to talk to you, you should be clear about what you are about to share with them and make it clear to them why you want to talk to them. It would be best to mention the purpose while asking for permission for the conversation so that the person can easily decide whether they are interested in listening to you.

Whatever you share—problems, ideas, or anything you think is worth sharing, it’s better to be specific and not take too much time. You should tell them you have something important to share, so you ask for their valuable time.

Know the Appropriate Time to Initiate a Conversation

ask someone to talk

If you want someone to talk to you, you must ask for their time when they are free or in the mood to talk to someone. Remember! Doing the right things at the right time can make all the difference. If you ask someone to talk to them while they are already upset about something or busy with something of their own, the situation may worsen. 

No matter whether you want to talk to a potential customer or a friend, knowing the right time to start a conversation is very important. Regardless of any social, familial, or professional situation, understanding the proper time to start a discussion can help you have a successful conversation.  

Better not to Start the Conversation with “We Need to Talk”

When you say to someone, “We need to talk,” it sounds like a threat. Isn’t it? The expression is too direct, harsh, and impolite. If you ask someone to talk to you in this way, there is a possibility that you may not be allowed to speak to them. You seem angry with that person and want to say your final words.

Whether you talk to your boss or subordinate, friends or family members, they deserve respect. Rather than being so direct right at the beginning, take your time to share your feelings and be ready to accept anything, even rejection. I already mentioned so many polite expressions at the beginning of the article. Use them to get it right.

A Sample Conversation on Asking Someone to Talk to You

Daniel: Hey, Bob! Can I have a moment?

Bob: Yep. What is it?

Daniel: The project manager has assigned me as a primary data collector in our current project. I’m doing okay with that but having trouble with authenticity verification. I thought you could help me out. Are you doing anything important right now?

Bob: Err…. sorry, Daniel. I’m all tied up at this moment. I’m cross-checking the supplier list with the compliance procedures. It’s a thirty-supplier-list, and I must finish it by the evening.

Daniel: Oh, I see. What about tomorrow after lunch? Will that be a good time for you?

Bob: Mmmm…. Let me see. If I submit my supplier list before lunch and it’s sorted out, alright…. Yep…. we can sit down after lunch tomorrow. No hassle. 

Daniel: Thanks a bunch! I really appreciate your consent, Bob. 

Bob: No big deal. Hey, what about a coffee in the evening after the office? I mean, if I’m all done with my list…. Are you available in the evening?

Daniel: I don’t see any problem with that. Let’s have a cuppa after office, then. 

Takeaway Words

Authenticity (adjective) = something that is genuine, factual, and valid

Verification (noun) = the process of checking the validity or truthfulness of something or someone

Cross-checking (verb) = to check the correctness of information based on a standard checklist or data 

Compliance (noun) = a condition that meets the standard rules or requirements

Procedures (noun) = a series of tasks to execute and complete a job systematically 

Consent (noun) = an agreement or wish to do something 

Hassle (noun) = a troublesome situation

Cuppa (noun) = a cup of tea or coffee 

In Conclusion

It can be challenging to convince someone to talk to you, whether they are known or unknown to you. The challenge lies in the situation in which you ask them to speak to you. However, I have mentioned some very effective strategies to make it easy for you.

My belief and experience say you can easily get people to talk to you if you follow the aforementioned strategies.   

Thanks for reading.

Happy learning.

1. Why is it important to be considerate when asking someone to talk?

Being considerate ensures the other person feels respected and more inclined to open up, fostering effective communication.

2. What are some polite ways to ask someone to talk to you?

Phrases like “Can we chat?”, “Do you have a moment?”, or “I’d like to discuss something with you” are all gentle ways to initiate a conversation.

3. Should I specify the reason for wanting to talk?

Yes, providing a brief context can help set the tone and make the other person more comfortable or prepared for the discussion.

4. How can I ensure the conversation remains private and confidential?

Choosing a quiet, private setting and assuring the person of confidentiality can help create a safe space for the conversation.

5. What if the person is not ready to talk or declines the invitation?

Respect their decision and let them know you’re available whenever they’re ready to talk.

6. How can I show active listening during the conversation?

Maintain eye contact, nod occasionally, and refrain from interrupting. Offering empathetic responses or summarizing what they’ve said can also demonstrate active listening.

7. Is it appropriate to follow up after the conversation?

Yes, a gentle follow-up can show your continued concern and support, reinforcing the bond.

8. How can I make the other person feel at ease during the conversation?

Starting with light topics, maintaining a calm demeanor, and showing empathy can help set a positive tone for the conversation.

9. Is it better to have such conversations in person or can they be done over the phone?

While in-person conversations can be more personal and effective, sometimes phone or video calls might be the only feasible options. The key is genuine engagement, regardless of the medium.

10. How can I end the conversation on a positive note?

Thank the person for their time and sharing, express your support, and possibly suggest future check-ins or ways to address any concerns discussed.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 7 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

Leave a Comment