5 Fun Conversation Starters for the Fake Phone Call You Make on Your Walk Home Alone





First, seek out people who are likely to be open to talking with you.  Anyone who’s alone and not heavily engrossed in activity can be considered a good prospect.  Look for displays of interest in you by good prospects who smile at you, look at you more than once, or having their arms and legs uncrossed or their legs crossed toward you.

Once you’ve decided who you’re going to meet, the next step is to smile, make eye contact, and speak.  What you say as an opener is relatively insignificant.  Ordinary comments are just fine.  Thinking of openers is somewhat simple.  You basically have 3 topics to choose from:

  • The situation
  • The other person
  • Yourself

And only 3 ways to begin:

  • Asking a question
  • Voicing an opinion
  • Stating a fact

Your major goal in the beginning is just to show interest or involve the other person, so the best way to start is usually by asking a question.  Stating an opinion also works well, and certainly works better than just stating a fact.

Talking about the situation you are both in is usually the best of your three options.  To begin a conversation about the situation, look around and find things that interest or puzzle you.  Use dual perspective: find something to say that the other person is also likely to want to talk about.  After you have asked your question or made your statement, listen carefully for the response, especially noting any free information you may want to follow up.  Some openers:

·         In a classroom:

“Why did you take this workshop?”

“What do you know about the teacher?”

“What do you hope to get from this class?”

·         At a game: 

“Who do you think will win?”

“Why do you say that?”

·         At an art museum: 

“What do you suppose the artist wanted to say?”

·         In line for a movie: 

“What have you heard about this movie?”

“What made you decide to see it?”

·         At a market:

“ I notice you’re buying artichokes.

I’ve always been curious. How do you prepare them?”

·         To a neighbor: 

“Your lawn is so green.  What’s your secret?”

“What’s that you’re working on?”

·         At a Laundromat: 

“Where do I put the detergent in?”

Talking about the other person
Most people like to talk about themselves.  Before you begin your questions, observe what the other person is doing, wearing, saying, and reading and think of something you’d like to know more about.  For example:

·         “That’s an interesting jacket.  Tell me, what does the insignia stand for?”

·         “You’re the best player here.  What do you do to train?”

·         “That was a fascinating comment you made to the board.  Tell me, why do you think                solar energy isn’t being developed more quickly?”

·         To a policeman:  “I’d like to join the force.  How do I go about doing it?”

·         “You look lost.  Can I help?”

·         “Say, haven’t I seen you at________?  How did you get involved in that?”

·          While jogging:  “What kind of running shoes are those?  Why did you

choose that brand?” “Do you run marathons?”

·         At a restaurant:  “Mind if I join you?”

·         At a party:  “How do you happen to be at this party?”

·         “Hi, you look nice and I’d like to meet you”

·         “Hi, I’ve noticed you here several times and thought I’d come over and introduce                      myself”

Remember that the other person is just as nervous as you.  Try to breathe.

PTSD and the VA

Today and tomorrow

PTSD is no longer an Anxiety Disorder. PTSD is sometimes associated with other mood states (for example, depression) and with angry or reckless behavior rather than anxiety. So, PTSD is now in a new category, Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders. PTSD includes four different types of symptoms: reliving the traumatic event (also called re-experiencing or intrusion); avoiding situations that are reminders of the event; negative changes in beliefs and feelings; and feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal or over-reactive to situations). Most people experience some of these symptoms after a traumatic event, so PTSD is not diagnosed unless all four types of symptoms last for at least a month and cause significant distress or problems with day-to-day functioning.

Today VA operates more than 200 specialized programs for the treatment of PTSD. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, more than a half million Veterans diagnosed with PTSD received treatment at VA medical centers and clinics.

VA is committed to provide the most effective, evidence-based care for PTSD. It has created programs to ensure VA clinicians receive training in state-of-the-art treatments for PTSD. At of the end of FY 2013, VA had trained more than 5000 of its clinicians to use Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE), which are cited by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Treatment of PTSD as proven to be effective treatments for PTSD.

VA’s National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 by an act of Congress, and celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 29, 2014. We continue to be at the forefront of progress in the scientific understanding and treatment of PTSD. In addition to improving upon existing treatments, we are researching effective new treatments. We are also developing new educational products such as our What is PTSD? whiteboard video.

Epidemiology of PTSD

header-logo[1]By Jaimie L. Gradus, DSc, MPH

What is epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in a population. Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the prevalence of PTSD across different populations. Below is a brief review of some of the major studies that have assessed the prevalence of PTSD in nationally representative samples as well as in samples of Veterans.

What is prevalence?

Prevalence is the proportion of people in a population that have a given disorder at a given time. It represents the existing cases of a disorder in a population or group. Prevalence estimates can be influenced by many factors including disorder occurrence (if new disorder occurrences increase, prevalence will increase) and the duration of the disorder (the longer people live with a disorder, the higher the prevalence). These estimates can also differ by demographic factors such as age and gender. It is important to qualify prevalence estimates with the time at which they were measured, as prevalence estimates can shift over time. Similarly, when interpreting prevalence estimates, it is important to keep in mind that prevalence is dynamic – it can change over people, places, and time.

Often prevalence is discussed in terms of lifetime prevalence. Other times, statistics will be given on current prevalence of PTSD in a given time frame, usually one year. At the end of this fact sheet you will find descriptions of other terms commonly used in epidemiology.

Prevalence of PTSD in the Community

U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Replication

The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), conducted between February 2001 and April 2003, comprised interviews of a nationally representative sample of 9,282 Americans aged 18 years and older. PTSD was assessed among 5,692 participants, using DSM-IV criteria. The NCS-R estimated the lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans to be 6.8% (1). Current past year PTSD prevalence was estimated at 3.5% (2).The lifetime prevalence of PTSD among men was 3.6% and among women was 9.7%. The twelve month prevalence was 1.8% among men and 5.2% among women (3).

These findings are very similar to those of the first National Comorbidity Survey. The original survey was conducted in the early 1990s and comprised interviews of a representative national sample of 8,098 Americans aged 15 to 54 years. In this earlier sample, the estimated prevalence of lifetime PTSD was 7.8% in the general population. Women (10.4%) were more than twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives (4).

Prevalence of PTSD in Veterans

National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study

The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) , conducted between November 1986 and February 1988, comprised interviews of 3,016 American Veterans selected to provide a representative sample of those who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam era. The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among these Veterans was 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. Of Vietnam theater Veterans, 15.2% of males and 8.1% of females were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time the study was conducted (8).

Gulf War Veterans

Kang and others conducted a study to estimate the prevalence of PTSD in a population-based sample of 11,441 Gulf War Veterans from 1995 to 1997. PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist (PCL;9) rather than interviews, with those scoring 50 or higher considered to have met criteria for PTSD. The prevalence of current PTSD in this sample of Gulf War Veterans was 12.1%. Further, the authors estimated the prevalence of PTSD among the total Gulf War Veteran population to be 10.1% (10).

Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom

In 2008, the RAND Corporation, Center for Military Health Policy Research, published a population-based study that examined the prevalence of PTSD among previously deployed Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Afghanistan and Iraq) service members (11). PTSD was assessed using the PCL, as in the Gulf War Veterans study. Among the 1,938 participants, the prevalence of current PTSD was 13.8%.