Article courtesy of Insider Guides
Aussies are a friendly, laid-back group of people who love to have a chat. But, as with all cultures, there are certain topics they prefer to discuss over others. Read on to find out the best topics of conversation to have with Australians – that is, if you can understand their accents!
Are Australians friendly?
Although Australia does not have as many customs or social rules as most other countries, it is best to keep the conversation light-hearted when you are meeting an Australian for the first time or have met them only a few times.
Aussies are very friendly people and are usually happy to chat when the environment is appropriate. Certain circumstances, such as waiting in line at the supermarket or in a doctor’s surgery, would not be good times to strike up a conversation. However, in most other situations you will find Australians to be warm and open when speaking to you.
How to talk to Australians
Here are some great topics to chat to Aussies about:
How are you? You will often hear Australians use the phrases “How are you?” or “How are ya?” as a greeting. Usually you are expected to respond to the question and to follow up by asking how they are. Whilst this isn’t intended to be a deep, long conversation, it is always nice to begin a conversation by asking how the other person/people have been recently.
Making fun of themselves. A self-deprecating sense of humour is common with Australians; they like to make fun of themselves and others in conversation, and to tell stories in a relaxed, non-serious way. This can be confronting for foreigners, but it is important to remember that it is most often meant in jest.
The weather is a common conversation starter in Australia. Most Aussies will be aware of the upcoming weather forecast so they can plan their activities around it. Similarly, if you live near the ocean, you will often hear locals discussing the surf conditions, and whether it’s worth heading out for a surf or a swim.
Sport is a national pastime in Australia. You will often hear locals discussing a recent sporting match, whether it’s football (Rugby League or AFL), cricket, soccer, golf, and the list goes on! Aussies often meet their friends at the local pub to watch a sporting game and take sport, especially Finals and Grand Finals, very seriously. A good way to kick off a conversation is to ask the locals what team you should support (they are very passionate about this) or even discuss a sport that is played in your home country.
Music, music festivals and concerts (often called “gigs”) are an important part of Australian culture. Most Aussies are familiar with both local and international artists. Asking what artists and genres someone likes to listen to is a great conversation starter. It is a good way to get to know someone quickly, and perhaps discover a new Spotify playlist.
TV, movies, documentaries and books. Australians are largely well-educated and patriotic and are usually happy to give you recommendations for local media. This is a great way to get a better understanding of your new home. Aussies will also appreciate your inquisitiveness about their country and likely ask you for recommendations, too!
What you/they did on the weekend. Your Australian peers, colleagues and friends will generally be interested in what you got up to the previous weekend, or what you have planned for the following. Aussies are open and warm and are interested in hearing about your experiences, and happy to suggest local attractions and activities you should try while you’re living in Australia. There’s nothing like a local’s knowledge! Be sure to ask them what they’ve been up to, too.
Your home country. As interested as you are in Aussie culture, Australians will be just as interested in hearing about where you’re from! Aussies are generally well-travelled. However, given the geographic distance between Australia and most other countries, many haven’t been able to visit as many places as they’d like. It is always fun to find comparisons and differences between countries and towns.
If you are chatting with a friend or a group of close friends, you will pick up on the body language and tone of conversation. These cues are useful if you are trying to determine whether more serious or controversial topics can be spoken about comfortably. Discussions of this nature are common, but only “between friends”. Some examples of these more serious topics are:
- Politics and voting preferences
- Money and how much someone earns
- Sex and sexual orientation
- Someone’s intention to get married or have children
If everyone in the conversation is comfortable with the topic, then feel free to share your honest opinion. Australians tend to say what they mean without “beating around the bush” (meaning to avoid getting to the point). Do not feel the need to hold back if you have something that you want to say, if you feel it would not offend others in the conversation.
Further reading on how to have a good conversation with Australians
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