If you’re looking to get to know someone better, engaging them in conversation is usually a good place to begin. Whether it’s a potential new friend or a romantic partner, asking them questions and answering theirs can help you learn more about a person. If you’re not sure what to ask, you might look over the following twenty questions to ask to get to know someone as a starting point.
Starter Questions For Getting To Know Someone
The questions you might ask someone when getting to know them depend on your relationship so far. If you’re hanging out with them for the first time or have just started texting or talking on the phone, you’ll likely want to start with more superficial questions that can help you get a general idea of who they are. Once you’ve built a rapport and some trust together, you may both feel ready to move on to questions that touch on deeper, more personal aspects of each other’s character, goals, dreams, values, political and religious beliefs, and emotions. So if you’re just starting out in building a relationship with someone—whether platonic or romantic—you might consider asking them some of the following questions.
These first four questions can give you insight into how a person likes to spend their time. They might shed light on how much alone time they need, what their ideal routines are like, and what they enjoy doing.
- Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert? Introverts tend to recharge through time alone while extroverts tend to recharge through social interaction. Many people fall somewhere in the middle on this basic spectrum.
- What is your go-to karaoke song? Do they love to rock out and channel their inner Beyonce? Do they serenade with romantic tunes or blast out songs full of rage? Or maybe they shy away from the stage altogether.
- What would a perfect day look like to you? Get a look into a person’s favorite activities and elements of their routine with the answer to this question.
- If you could travel to any place, where would you go and why? Adrenaline junkie? History buff? Nature lover? A person’s answer to this question can showcase other sides of their personality and interests.
The questions below can help you get to know more about your new friend or prospective partner’s key traits and interests. If you’re looking to get a clearer picture of this individual’s personality, you might ask them some of these.
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What was their first job? Have they had one passion since they were young that they’ve pursued with a laser focus? Have they tried out a variety of different careers and passions? Have they followed in the footsteps of a parent or family, or have they been more of a free spirit in deciding the path of their life? Who do they turn to for career advice?
- What’s a skill you’d like to learn? You can learn about a person based on whether their answer to this question is a practical, career-oriented skill, or one that relates to a hobby or pastime, for example.
- What’s an activity that instantly calms you? This question relates to an individual’s personal self-care routine and how they’ve learned to manage their emotions.
- What’s something that most people don’t know about you? The answer to this question could surprise you, as it might challenge any preconceived notions or judgments you’ve already made about this person.
Next, you might find it interesting to know what a person values. The following questions may reveal whether they’re more practical or sentimental, how creative they are, and what they find most important when it comes to quantifying a life well lived.
- What’s your most prized possession and why? Find out what they couldn’t live without, or what objects mean the most to them emotionally.
- What’s something you could talk about for 30 minutes with no preparation? Get to know what they’re passionate, motivated, and knowledgeable about—and maybe learn something new yourself in the process.
- What’s an item on your “bucket list”? What does living a successful, enjoyable life mean to them? Even if they don’t have a physical “bucket list,” most people have a handful of accomplishments or experiences they want to get under their belt at some point in the next several decades.
Questions To Ask To Get To Know Someone On A Deeper Level
Some people might not feel comfortable answering the following questions when asked by someone they don’t know well. Giving honest answers to deeper get-to-know-you questions requires some level of vulnerability, so it’s usually best to save these until you’ve built mutual trust with this new person and have shown each other that you can provide a safe place to be authentic and open.
First, you might ask the following questions to understand more about what they’re looking for in a friend or romantic partner and what’s most important to them when building a bond with another person.
- What qualities do you value most in a friend/romantic partner? Are they looking for the same things as you? Do your values, standards, and character align?
- What do you think makes someone a good person? Morality is a complex topic, but this question can at least get at the basics of how a person chooses to live their life and what standards they may hold themselves to.
The next set of questions gets at how well this person knows themselves. Are they self-aware, self-confident, and growth-minded? Do they identify with how they’re perceived by others? Do they know what they need when it comes to relationships?
- What’s one way that you’ve grown personally lately? A person’s answer to this question can demonstrate whether they’re aware of their flaws and invested in their own personal growth—qualities that have the potential to benefit any type of interpersonal relationship.
- What’s your primary love language? There are five love languages or forms in which an individual prefers to receive love. When both individuals in a friendship or romantic relationship know their primary love language, they may be better equipped to ask for what they need and be intentional about providing what their friend or partner needs.
- What’s something you love about yourself? The ease with which the other person answers this question may give you a bit of insight into their self-concept or self-esteem. If it’s extraordinarily high or low, it could represent an issue that may eventually cause conflict within the relationship.
- How do you think your closest friends would describe you? Do you agree? This question may help you understand how this individual presents themselves to the world, and how well that aligns with who they really are.
Finally, you might ask the following to get a glimpse into this individual’s emotional life. What are their hopes and dreams, what makes them feel connected and fulfilled, and what affects them emotionally? When you’ve already established a strong rapport with a person, you can consider asking these more emotionally vulnerable questions.
- If you had the chance to relive one day in your life, which one would it be and why? Understanding a person’s most cherished memories can reveal what they value most in their life as well as the moments that have made them who they are. Perhaps a favorite family tradition comes to mind, or maybe they would revisit a specific, life-changing memory.
- When was the last time you cried and why? Not everyone will feel comfortable answering this question, so it’s up to you to decide when might be right to ask it—and to allow them to decline if they so choose. If they do answer it, it can give you a bit of insight into how they handle their emotions and what challenges or joys they may be facing currently.
- What’s one long-term dream you have for the future? The idea behind this question is to find out what joys or achievements will make this individual feel most fulfilled.
- Who is the most important person in your life? You can get an idea of the closest relationships this person has with this question. Are they most bonded to and involved with a family, friend, partner, or mentor? How did they build this relationship, and why is it meaningful to them?
Relationship Support In Therapy
If you’re looking to form or strengthen new or existing relationships in your life, it can be helpful to have support along the way. A qualified therapist can provide you with a safe space and tools to identify and express your thoughts and feelings more openly, so you can be better equipped to do so in your relationships, too. They can also assist you in exploring yourself and your interests, values, and goals so you can pursue relationships that support who you truly are. If you feel that mental health challenges—such as low self-esteem, anger issues, social anxiety, depression, or others—may be negatively affecting your relationships, they can also help you address these.
Not everyone feels comfortable with or can avail of in-person therapy sessions, which is why many people turn to online therapy instead. With a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can connect with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging, all from the comfort of your own home. Research suggests that there’s “no difference in effectiveness” between online and in-person therapy, so you can generally feel confident in selecting whichever format works best for you.
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