Here Are The Best Question To Ask Someone To Get To Know Them More Deeply.
Small talk can be stressful and boring.
Here are some questions that can spice up a dull conversation and provide you with a deeper understanding of the person you are talking to.
1. Will get the other person talking.
What are your three greatest passions?
People get excited when talking about what they're passionate about, and this reveals what they spend a lot of thought and time on.
2. A good starter.
What are you looking forward to the most right now?
3. Miss most.
"What do you miss the most?"
If they immediately have an answer you know that what they are saying is a defining part of their life because they didnt need to think about it.
Some people may be tempted to say they miss nothing, because they are happy with their life as it is at that moment. That tells you a lot already, and if you prod them by saying You must miss something from the past. and coax an answer, whatever they come up with will surely tell you a lot about who they are and where they came from.
If someone hears the question and starts thinking really hard on it, chances are they are weighing several possible things/memories/regrets, and that tells you a lot as well. Whatever their answer is will surely be worth hearing.
4. Simple but can be used it a bunch of situations.
It's simple and can apply to SO many situations, and can really escalate a conversation from surface to deep (question continued on the next page...):
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"What was / is that like for you?"
It's remarkably simple, but so incredibly effective. It's the movement from someone telling you about a thing that happened to them, to how they personally felt and responded to it - because that's not always a sure thing. It's the alley oop slam dunk off of any other question about their day. It's what goes beyond someone telling you they went to a funeral that day (and you extending your condolences) to finding out that they actually hated the guy and felt super awkward the whole time - or you find out that they loved the person dearly, but are very at peace with the idea of death - whatever it is, you get a window into their mind and soul on things. Cannot recommend this little trick enough.
5. A good alternative.
Instead of "what do you do?", I quite like "what gets you out of bed in the morning?"
6. One question fits all.
If you're in college, the best one size fits all set of questions I've found has been:
1. What's your major?
2. Cool, where would you like to go with that? Or, alternatively, What made you want to study that?
You can learn some amazing stuff about what drives a person and what their passions are from these. This is how I found out that my meteorology friend began studying the weather because he was in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina and wanted to understand and predict natural disasters better, and that my chemical engineering friend liked that field because he's amazing at chemistry, but more importantly they don't hire much in our home state and he needed to get some distance from his controlling family.
7. Interesting answers.
Would you like to be famous? In what way?
8. Think it through.
Their hopefully well thought out response to this question will tell you all you need to know (question continued on the next page...).
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"Where would you go during a zombie apocalypse?"
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
10. Growing up.
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Perfect day.
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
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13. Precious memories.
What is your most treasured memory?
14. Laughter is the best medicine.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried, and what were you laughing about?
15. Spending time.
If there was one thing during your day that you wish you could spend more time doing, what would it be and why?
Just having a genuine sense of curiosity about a person is so helpful when chatting with someone (continued on the next page...).
Everyone has something they've been through, thought about, or experienced that is new to you. Therefore, letting your curiosity run wild when getting to know someone will have you asking questions that are "deeper" than the typical small talk questions.
17. Here's a couple.
What do you do when it rains? Where is you your favorite place to be? What songs do you listen to when you're sad? Where do you go when you feel afraid?
18. Dream job.
If you could do any job you like and earn enough money for anything you want, what job would you choose?
19. Other side of the argument.
What's a really good argument for the other side of an issue you feel strongly about? Eg. If you're pro-choice, can you give me a strong pro-life argument, or if you're pro-gun-rights, can you understand a bit of where the gun control folks are coming from?
This will show if they're an ideologue or if they can see nuance and accept the validity of positions which disagree with their own. It gives insight into their empathy levels too.
20. Good movie question.
What is the last movie you watched that really made you think?
21. Taboo topics.
"If you were going to eliminate every taboo from our culture except for three - making it so that the related behaviors or perspectives were accepted - which ones would you keep?"
You'd be surprised how many people think that certain "unforgivably taboo" topics are actually pretty tame.
22. Upstairs or downstairs.
"If you had to work at a funeral home, would you rather work upstairs with the grieving families or downstairs with the dead?"
Everyone I've asked has answered almost immediately and been surprised how many people go the other way.
23. Psychology behind the question.
I am working towards a PhD in behavioural psychology, writing my dissertation on the psuedo-physiomatic constructs of competition, and a lot of it has involved studying this very behaviour. There are a few aspects that you need to observe for this to be effective.
The important part of the question isn't really the question itself. The only guideline is that the question should be open ended, a yes or no answer will rarely trigger the underlying psychotristic behaviours that you want to look for. A question like "why do you like living in this city" would be just as effective as "describe your personality, beliefs and values". The number one thing when assessing the response is the amount of time between the first intake of breath after the question is finished and the point of first response. First response isn't necessarily verbal (though it generally is) it's the first major postural change. After a question is asked that requires any inner thought, the body goes into what's called Tardic Stasis as a person connects the points and formulates an answer. A short period of Tardic Stasis (ie a response as soon as the question has been finished) is a sign that the question has been only observed at a cursory level. This means that this person has a far more emotion based resolve than many, fast to act in situations but often misses the insignificant details. A medium period (ie you can see them absorb the question, but they don't make it obvious that they are "mulling it over") represents a strong resolve in a person. These people are a subset of short periods, who have trained themselves not to answer immediately. There is a lot of willpower involved in that. Funnily enough, high level athletes will often present this, as both their dedication to a sport and a subconscious dedication to delayed reasoning are closely linked in the lower cispid region of the brain. Finally, there are those who take a moment to think it over and give an in-depth response. These are a whole different category to the first two mentioned. These are the writers, the poets, the comedians (an interesting case because it's almost the extreme opposite to the mid-period people), the artists of the world. These people think deeply, but are often not comfortable being put into exceptionally high pressure situations where the outcome will have a significant affect on other peoples lives.
Obviously from these basic traits, a lot can be garnered about the strength of their beliefs or their common nuances.
24. Not exactly the point...
"What was your first pet?" or "Who was your favorite teacher?"
Then read all of their emails.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.