Forget Small Talk And Use Good Get To Know You Questions
By Danni Peck
Updated December 21, 2018
Reviewer Prudence Hatchett, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH
There are times when we spend time with people we don't know particularly well. In those cases, it can be difficult to come up with topics of conversation because you don't really know what the person enjoys or knows about. But the easy solution to that is asking questions that allow you to find out more about who they are. Nearly everyone enjoys talking about themselves and learning the answers to the appropriate"get to know you questions" will help you move the conversation forward.
No reason for meaningless conversations
Have you ever been in a conversation where you awkwardly discuss a topic that you don't enjoy or care about, and it seems like the other person feels the exact same way? It can feel like you've wasted your time. But you don't have to feel that way when you talk to someone you don't know well or just aren't close to.
Instead, make the most of the unexpected encounter. Maybe you're with a group of friends, and the person you know gets up to go to the bathroom, leaving you at the table with someone you've never talked to before. Maybe you're on a first date and don't know a lot about this person yet. Or maybe you're at an event related to your job and want to learn to the network rather than standing around in by yourself. Whatever the reason, you can offer an interesting question to get the conversation started.
Good get to know you questions
There's a difference between questions you don't really care about the answer to and questions that help you form connections with people. All the questions listed here will help you get to know someone better. Choose the ones that sound most interesting to you the next time you don't know what to talk about with someone.
- What is one of your best memories?
- What qualities do you look for in a best friend?
- What is your ultimate life goal?
- What's your perfect weekend?
- Do you think people of opposite genders can be best friends?
- What's your favorite thing about your job?
- What is the most important lesson you've learned?
- What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
- If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
- Why did you choose your profession?
- If you could master one new skill, what would it be?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- What makes you happiest?
Once you've asked a question, make sure you give the person time to respond with their answer. And don't be in a rush to pose another question immediately after the answer. Assess if their answer leads to further conversation. Explore the topics that are brought up through the question until the conversation leads somewhere else or slows down.
Having some questions prepared ahead of time reduces anxiety associated with starting a conversation. If social anxiety constantly keeps you from talking to others, consider chatting with a professional therapist for more strategies to help you feel comfortable.