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Televised sports, current TV shows, and popular music are often derided here as pointless wastes of time. However, when trying to meet and befriend people in America, these topics of conversation are the easiest and most effective ways to break the ice and develop some sort of rapport with a stranger, which can lead to friendship. Even though I don't really care about televised football, I've found it prudent to have some basic familiarity with it (the different teams, who the good players are) because that's what so many other people here, including the women, are talking about.
How do you people develop an initial rapport with women abroad you are on a first date with or who you approach at a coffeeshop? Foreign women can have very different interests and hobbies, and one can't use same school or same company as a conversational crutch. For example, I've observed that a lot of women from China in their 20's these days are into anime/manga and Chinese singers, which I know very little about. Do you basically just skip the lighter small talk phase and immediately talk about deeper more heavy topics like current events, cultural differences, life dreams, etc? What are the very first things to ask that a foreigner would be receptive to that would lead to conversation? Is it worth getting basic familiarity with the popular culture or sports of a country you are visiting?
Do you actually strike up conversations about sports with American women? Some might be interested, but that seems a little unlikely, and probably not a good topic of conversation.
I've lived in Indonesia and in Korea. Koreans ask almost the same list of questions.
Do you like Korea?
Do you like kimchi?
Are you married?
They talk about stuff like that.
In Indonesia, they ask you stuff like this,
Do you have a family/Are you married?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Do you like Indonesia?
What company do you work for?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
You can make a lot of conversation talking about your parents's or siblings' lives. Indonesians are family-oriented. Girl tend to appreciate it if they see you care about your mom and dad.
An Indonesian girl will want to know what you do for a living to see if you are marriage material in terms of supporting her if you take her out on a date. If it's clear you are dating, she might want to talk about what you like in a woman as far as being a girlfriend or wife is concerned.
If you live in the country, pay attention to the questions people ask you and learn the local script and talk about that. In a lot of countries, you can talk to men about soccer. I never did. People didn't bring it up to me, though some guys stayed up late to watch the world cup. I wouldn't bother talking about this with a woman in Indonesia, though.
I know my comments are specific to those countries, but I think some of that advice will apply to other countries as well. Filippinos tend to be marriage and family oriented, collectivist, etc.
Even in the US, girls who like sports seem to be the minority. Some tolerate it.
Think of some amusing anecdotes from your life that communicate something about the type of person you are, what you value, or that are just interesting to listen to. If you get stuck during a conversation, tell one of these stories.
I also don't know much about pop culture stuff, whether it's American or Chinese, or what have you. Often I'm able to say I have heard of a TV show, but I don't watch it. Conversations go easily for me here in China. I don't have an exact script, but there ARE plenty of things you can talk about even if you don't about what kinds of music and TV they like. You'll want to have an interest in the culture and language though.
I will open with an introduction and ask basic questions. I can ask simple stuff in Chinese, such as, "What's your name?" and "Are you a student?" and "What do you study?" And I prefer to talk to college aged students because I am a teacher, so it also lets me talk about myself some.
I will talk about their language and my language, maybe trying to ask how to say something in Chinese, or learn a new word. (Easy to do if you're shopping in a supermarket, which is where I talk to a lot of people.) If you know where to look, you can find your demographic.
After I've exhausted what I can say in Chinese, I'll usually keep it to English if they can speak some English. Before I go, I'll give my phone number, QQ, and WeChat.
Easy to avoid pop culture stuff.
I was thinking of sports as more of an opener for making friends in general in the US than for bonding with women in particular. It is more effective with men than women, though there's still a fair amount of US women who like to talk sports. With women, it seems like talking about music is a good way to bond.
Talking about friends was always something I actually avoided on initial icebreaking conversations, since it didn't often go beyond small talk. However, perhaps it is different with women from those countries.