The Art of Asking Questions: A Guide To Knowing People Better

Updated March 7, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

One of the best ways to get to know another person is by engaging in conversation and asking them questions. Individuals who are good at asking questions often find more success in building personal and professional relationships. Questions are a fundamental part of human communication, so it can be very helpful to learn what questions to ask when getting to know someone and knowing when to ask them. Individuals who understand the benefits of asking the right questions, which questions to ask, and how questions can lead to knowing another person better can use these skills for a more connected and fulfilling life.

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Benefits Of Asking The Right Questions

If you are trying to get to know someone better, asking the right questions can be very important. Knowing what to ask and when to ask can improve relationships with your partner, colleagues, family, and friends. Asking the right questions can help establish rapport while showing genuine interest in another person. When genuine interest is shown, people are more likely to be comfortable telling more about themselves and fostering a deeper connection. Even for long-term relationships, taking time to ask the right questions can help someone feel heard, valued, and understood.

Asking the right questions can also provide insight into what is important to another person. If you are interested in creating a deep connection with someone, asking questions about their values, passions, and beliefs can be a significant step. Asking more meaningful questions can create discourse about a person’s individual perspectives and life experiences. Disclosing experiences like that can lead to greater appreciation and acceptance for one another.

Asking the right questions can also help facilitate healthy communication over time. Asking someone a question that encourages reflection and listening to their answer promotes open and honest communication. When people share comfortably, it creates a space where others are more likely to say their own perspectives, thus gaining a deeper understanding and knowing each other better.

Asking the right questions is simply a great way to build deeper connections. Whether it is a long-time colleague or a stranger at a restaurant, putting time and effort into asking good questions shows interest in other people. By listening to unique perspectives and experiences, individuals can create more social connections and improve their social lives.

What Are The Right Questions?

When asking questions, it is important to consider the “right” questions. This means considering the context, the individual in question, and different perspectives. Remaining non-judgmental and respectful are often good indicators of asking the “right” question. Asking someone a question about their personal life can be a great place to start. Showing interest in their close relationships, hobbies, and activities can be a fast track to discovering a common interest. Asking someone about their personal life is a great way to form a deep bond, but remember to be conscious of their personal space, avoid leading questions, and remain open to their thoughts.

When asking questions, consider what you already know about the person. This could include their interests, profession, background, or other information. Use that information to tailor your questions to that person. This could encourage them to tell more about themselves. When possible, avoid asking questions that are overly personal or might make the other person feel uncomfortable. Focusing on open-ended questions gives the other person a chance to answer at their comfort level. 

Questions do not always have to be about someone’s personal life. Asking for advice on a professional or creative project can be a great way to get to know someone. Collaborating on something together and common skills gives both parties a chance to discuss interests, why they enjoy the work, and how they got into it. Time references a study by researchers from Harvard Business School, and Wharton School that argues asking for advice can also make someone look more competent. The study’s results found, “The researchers concluded that people’s egos are boosted when they’re consulted and asked to dole out advice, which in turn leads them to think more highly of the people who’ve just boosted their egos. Essentially, people are so flattered to be asked for advice that their heads swell a little, and they think of themselves as smart; that reflects well on the advice-seeker, who is, in turn, believed to be smart enough to recognize their game. So take our advice: the next time you’re itching to ask for help, do it.“ If asking personal questions is uncomfortable, consider asking for advice about a mutual goal or interest. 

Getting To Know People Better

Getting to know someone better can help you understand their thoughts, experiences, and feelings more deeply. Getting to know someone also often means building a more significant connection that can lead to better overall relationships. When two people know each other well, it can improve general communication between them. More effective communication often means fewer conflicts. Communicating often when getting to know someone better leads to a deeper understanding of what that person may be going through, which can lead to conversations about how to support them best. 

Getting to know someone better can also increase overall social connection. 

Spending more time asking colleagues questions can lead to other workplace connections, increased collaboration opportunities, and overall productivity. When colleagues know each other well, they often understand their strengths and weaknesses and can work together more harmoniously. Coworkers who understand each other's values and perspectives can often work together more efficiently to resolve issues and achieve mutual goals.

Asking a new friend from the gym what else they do in their spare time could lead to a new common hobby. In personal relationships, asking good questions can help to strengthen the bond between two people. This can lead to improved trust and mutual support in the relationship. When both parties feel understood and appreciated by the other, it can quicken the rate at which they get to know each other.

Connecting more significantly can expand other social avenues and create more opportunities to form meaningful bonds. Time references Dale Carnegie and suggests asking about other people’s interests to appear more interesting, “Why struggle to guess what most people might find generically interesting? Ask people what they’ve been up to or what their hobbies are. Then talk about that. You’re now 80% of the way there. If you know about the subject, the similarity will bond you. If you don’t, ask them to explain and be a great listener as they talk about something they love.

Improving Skills

Online therapy has become a popular option for millions of people seeking support. This can be especially helpful for those interested in asking better questions and getting to know people better. Individuals can practice asking questions, being active listeners, and getting a professional’s feedback. This may help improve self-confidence, communication skills, and overall comfort in social situations. Online therapy can also benefit individuals looking to work through past issues that may be impacting their communication. An online therapist can help explore past communication problems and develop strategies to overcome those challenges.

One study explored the development and maintenance of therapeutic relationships through telehealth, which “demonstrate[d] how therapists delivering e-therapy perceive that young people can feel a greater sense of autonomy in online therapy, compared to face-to-face support, although this inomminateness can leave online practitioners feeling vulnerable as to how they manage aspects of risk. Participants described how therapeutic relationships can be built as effectively online as face-to-face, often developed faster, partly due to rapid disclosures from service users.” Online therapy can be an effective way to build rapport and a solid relationship with a therapist, strengthening those skills to be used in interpersonal relationships. Individuals committed to improving their communication skills could see improvements in their personal and professional relationships. Practicing effective communication can lead to more productive and harmonious conversations and a place where both parties can express themselves openly.


Questions can be an important tool when getting to know people better and building connections. Asking questions can help individuals understand the unique perspectives and experiences of others while also becoming more empathetic. It is important to remember to practice the skill of asking questions; knowing what questions to ask requires time and effort to communicate effectively. Asking questions that are appropriate, relevant, and meaningful questions should be prioritized to encourage comfortable and honest communication. Getting to know someone better cannot be accomplished with questions alone. A deep and meaningful relationship will require time and effort. However, asking questions in combination with time and effort can create a more connected and fulfilling dynamic with those around you.

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