“Did You Catch the Cornell Football Game?” and Other Conversation Starters that Will Start No Conversations

Picture this: you just took a seat at your 8 a.m. Monday morning FWS. The room is soul-crushingly quiet as your fellow first-years, slack-jawed and dead-eyed, scroll endlessly through their phones. You want more than anything to get some conversation going, but you have no idea where to begin. Desperately racking your brain for some prominent campus event, you suddenly alight upon the perfect subject: the Cornell football team’s home game this weekend! That ought to get everyone talking, right?


No. No it will not.


Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s college football! Who wouldn’t want to bond over tailgate experiences and the thrill of the game? I’ll tell you who: literally everybody at this university. Maybe that would get people talking at some podunk Midwestern state school or an SEC powerhouse, but that bullshit is not gonna fly up here, you insufferable hayseed. All you’ll get are some confused scowls and maybe a few groans before your classmates retreat back into their sleep-deprived stupors.


Don’t believe me? Give it a try. And while you’re at it, here’s a few more talking points that will slaughter the social momentum of any room you’re in.



  • “Have you started the homework yet?” Yes, this is a shared reality for everyone in the class, but you can rest assured the answer is “no” unless it’s within three hours of the due date. Everyone will either think you’re a tryhard or want to copy someone else’s work, neither of which is ideal.




  • “Man, COVID is crazy right now, huh?” This is the only thing anyone’s thought about for the last year and a half—there’s no way anybody wants to think about it even more. Come to think of it, do you even want to be discussing this?




  • “How’s the internship search going for you guys?” The best-case scenario here is that nobody says jack shit because if you do get any responses, they’re probably going to be insufferable regardless of whether or not they’ve been successful.




  • “Did you guys see what’s going on with the Supreme Court lately?” Dude, really? Yeah, they saw, and no, they don’t want to talk politics with strangers at 8 a.m. on a Monday.


“So I saw this really funny thing on Reddit…” Shut the fuck up.

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