In my pursuit of getting better at relationships, I have scoured the internet for really great conversation starter ideas. Being more of a listener than a talker, I’ve struggled many times trying to think of what to talk about. And apparently I’m not the only one, because I’ve encountered many people who aren’t able to get a conversation going with me either! Even when I really like the person, sometimes my mind would just go blank. And while I’m a very deep person (INFJ) and love deep conversation, a lot of times I’ve been taken for simple or superficial or even rude, because of the lack of conversation skills. This is something I’ve been working on and continue to work on. However, when I scoured the internet for ideas to get a conversation going, I was a little disappointed! I found lots of great questions! But none that seemed natural.
“What are some things you want to accomplish before you die?”
“What’s your favorite animal?”
“What’s the silliest fear you have?”
These are great thought-provoking questions for your family dinner table or maybe for group ice-breakers, but these sound so awkward when you think of asking them to an acquaintance you’d like to get to know better. No one wants to be awkward. We want conversation starters that flow naturally and seem effortless, am I right?
Introducing myself and getting acquainted with someone new hasn’t been too hard. I can handle that. What I have found challenging in my life is that stage between meeting and getting acquainted, and the point where you consider someone a close friend. I always struggled to figure out what to say past “Hey, how are you? How are you doing today? Whatcha’ been up to?” And like I said earlier, I’ve encountered many people who seem to have the same problem. So I have put together this list, mainly for my own easy reference and to share with you. Some I collected while scouring the internet, while others were inspired as I thought about what flows naturally.
15 Conversation Starters You’ll Actually Want to Use:
- What do you like to do in your spare time? Everyone has “spare time” even if we tell ourselves we don’t have enough hours in a day. We all take time to wind down with some activity and everyone at least has some hobbies they’d like to do if they had more time.
- How did you and your husband meet? Who doesn’t like to tell the story of how they met their spouse and fell in love?! Or their children’s birth stories?!
- Do you have any children? Where do they live? (If they’re grown) How old are they? Don’t interrogate them! Be sure you’re sharing back.
- Where did you grow up? Open-ended questions like these get people talking. Even if they give you a one-word answer, you can always follow up with another question, like “Oh, how did you like it there?” Or share something that you have in common or about a connection you have.
- Where has been your favorite vacation spot? People also love to rehash fun memories! And you might learn a little something about a place you’ve never been and may want to go someday!
- How did you end up in your line of work? Or How did you decide to be a stay-at-home-mom?
- What did you do today? If it’s an evening event, this can apply to anyone.
- What did you do this weekend? Perfect for a Sunday or Monday. If it’s Friday, “What do you have planned for this weekend?”
- How long have you lived here?
- What brought you to this area?
- Who would you say you take after the most, your mom or dad or someone else?
- Have you been here before? Or Do you come here often?
- How do you know so-n-so? With the age of social media, I often see connections among friends. Ask them how they know each other and share how you met. You might find more things you have in common.
- Tell me about ….. your family, your job, your hobbies, your dreams, what you’re struggling with, how I can pray for you, your children, what kind of books you like, etc. The list is endless. These three simple words are conversation magic. “Tell me about….” There’s no way anyone can respond with just a one-word answer and it leaves it open for the other person to tell you whatever they want to share.
- Have you ever thought about….. starting your own business? What you would do if you couldn’t be a stay-at-home-mom? Again, the possibilities are many! “Have you ever thought about…?”
Some of these are for people you don’t know well yet, but some of these are perfect for anyone! When in doubt, take a few seconds to think about what you know you have in common with the other person. Even if you’ve never met, you’re both in the same place at the same time. Making the effort to deepen relationships is worth it.
This article on Inc.com tells of the research showing that people who have deeper conversations tend to be happier. Deeper conversations=Deeper Relationships. Small talk tends to keep relationships more shallow, and might I say more unfulfilling.
“These findings suggest that the happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than isolated and superficial. The research has also confirmed what most people know but don’t practice: surface level small talk does not build relationships,” says the author Marcel Schwantes.
I hope these are helpful to you and you’ll put a few in your memory bank to try out this week! Let me know how it goes! With a little practice we can make these habits and deepen the relationships with those around us.
Here are a few other places to gather good Conversation Starters–
11 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Master Small Talk (Be sure to check out No. 7. The F.O.R.E. acronym is pretty useful!)
Oh and this is free on Kindle Unlimited! Score! Conversation Ignition