The Questions You Can Ask Someone To Get To Know Them

By Nicola Kirkpatrick|Updated July 11, 2022

Getting to know people can be stressful. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to say or how to express interest in a person without causing that person to misunderstand or draw the wrong conclusions from your intentions. Indeed, it would be great to be able to acquire some skills on how to initiate and maintain conversation with a person you are getting to know.

Fortunately, there are tricks you can learn to facilitate conversation with people to get to know them better. One great way is to ask questions. Asking questions is inviting and engaging and can help you understand that person's interests, personality, and intentions.

It is hard to put yourself out there to meet new people and make new friends, but there are ways that you can prepare for meeting new people. For example, it is important that you are mentally prepared. There are hundreds of places to meet people, like the grocery store, the park, or parties. You may even join clubs or sports teams to meet potential friends.

For such situations, it helps to prepare for the meet-ups by knowing what to expect, understanding what people will expect from you, and knowing the right questions to ask. Asking the right questions can be difficult sometimes, but there are questions that will help you relate to others without invading personal boundaries.

Questions to Ask Someone to Get to Know Them

Do You Feel Paralyzed By Social Anxiety?

It is important to be mindful of the questions that you ask. You want these questions to be inviting and engaging and ones that will also help you find common interests and similarities. You want to make sure to ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a 'yes or no' response. This will generate conversation and help each of you get to know each other better.

Additionally, you also want to make sure to ask questions that are personal enough to express interest in getting to know that person, but not too personal to the point that you are overstepping personal boundaries. Some questions that are appropriate to ask when getting to know someone include:

  • Questions that help you understand how you both ended up in the same setting
    • How did you hear about this meet up?
    • How do you know the host?
    • What brings you to this area?
  • Questions about the acquaintance's career
    • What do you do for work?
    • What inspired you to pursue a career in that field?
    • How do you like your job?
  • Questions that help find similar personal interests
    • What do you like to do in your spare time?
    • How did you get involved with [insert hobby here]?
    • What kinds of fun activities do you recommend in this area?

What are some other strategies you can use?

  • Talk about the weather. It may sound cliché, but there's a reason talking about how unbearably hot, unseasonably cold, or terribly rain it is can be a good ice breaker. Everybody can have an opinion about it, and it's easy to agree with someone on their perspective.
  • Give a compliment. Find something small to comment on that feels genuine. For example, "That's a great pair of boots" or "Your haircut is so cute." Everyone likes to hear something positive about themselves and this could easily lead into a more in depth conversation.
  • Find something similar about the two of you. Is this person wearing a shirt or cap with your favorite sports team? Are you both waiting in line for the same thing? Make a comment and see if a conversation takes off.
  • Give an offer of help. Is someone struggling with too many bags in their arms? Can you offer your umbrella to someone in a downpour? Can you hold the elevator door for someone racing to get in? All of these small gestures build rapport and make it easier to get a conversation going.
  • Ask for help. For example, "What is the best place to grab a burger in this area?" or "What's the best way to get downtown from here?" People like to give their opinions - so give them an opportunity!
  • Be direct and say something like, "So how is your day going today?" Sometimes we make things harder than they have to be. A simple question paired with a sincere smile may get the ball rolling.

If you feel like you've made a connection with the person you're speaking to and would enjoy getting to know them better, how can you make that happen? After you've had some time talk together, you could say something like:

  • I really enjoyed our conversation. Would you be interested in getting together sometime?
  • It was a pleasure talking with you. I hope we might do it again sometime soon!
  • It sounds like we have some of the same interests. I'm planning to (insert appropriate activity) next week. Would you like to come?

All of these statements require some risk-taking. After all, you are essentially saying that you like someone and hope the feeling is mutual. It does take some bravery to "put yourself out there" and propose that the two of you get together again. If the person does not respond in a positive way, don't shoot yourself down! As they say, no risk, no reward. Congratulate yourself on taking a chance to meet someone new. Even if this situation didn't go as you hoped, don't let it dissuade you from trying again with someone else in a different situation. Sometimes we can't put our finger on why two people don't click. Although it is easy to assume that the problem might be us, a person's reasons for not wanting a new friendship could easily be something entirely related to them and have nothing to do with us. Each time you extend yourself, the process will become easier. Take it as a learning experience and move on.

Do You Feel Paralyzed By Social Anxiety?

Given that it is hard for many people to extend themselves in social situations, it is oftentimes a relief to have someone else be the first one to take the initiative. If you've ever been in the situation where someone reached out to you, you know how good it feels to have a person express interest in you and want to get to know you better. Whatever the outcome, feel good about being confident enough to take a chance with new people. This is an admirable quality to have, and one that many wish they were better skilled at.

Knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle. Often people struggle with knowing what to ask and how to talk because they feel anxious in social situations. Fortunately, there are ways to learn how to improve your social skills. If you struggle socially, or are intimidated by asking other people questions, consider consulting a mental health professional who will help you learn tips and tricks to manage that anxiety.

 

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