Whether you’re seeing old friends or meeting new people for the first time, it pays to come prepared with the right things to talk about. Knowing what you want to discuss and where to lead your conversation will keep the conversation alive, eliminating the chances of awkward silence from filling up the atmosphere.
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Now the only question is – what are some good things to talk about? Find out how to keep the chatter going with these potential topics.
Interesting Things to Talk About with Anyone
Maybe you’re face to face with an old high school classmate that you weren’t really close with, or maybe you’ve just met a new friend while waiting in line at the bank. Whatever the case might be, it helps to make sure your conversation topics are viable for any crowd. These interesting things to talk about can help you keep the words flowing for hours no matter who you’re talking to, making them great for all around use.
Hobbies and Interests
Talking about hobbies and interests is a standard for anyone seeking to learn more about another person. Plus, because there’s no possible way that this type of conversation would lead to anything touchy or offensive, it makes a great choice if you’re talking to someone you’re meeting for the first time.
Here are some questions you can ask to steer your conversation into hobbies and interests territory:
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- Do you play any musical instruments?
- Do you like painting, drawing, or making art in general?
- Do you have any pets?
- Are you more of an indoor or outdoor person?
Aside from asking these questions, you can try talking about technology, gadgets, and fun, viral posts that you’ve seen on social media. If they’re big on using the internet, then you might juts be able to tap into a world’s worth of information that they’ve been waiting to share with a viable listener.
Work and School
Another one of many interesting things to talk about would be school and work. As one of the biggest aspects of our day to day lives, our jobs and education are often some of the most prominent ideas in our heads. So asking anyone about their work or their school life can fill up hours of endless, interesting conversation that’s sure to help you learn more about your new friend and save yourself from having to sit through those bouts of awkward silence.
Here are some questions you can ask to get started on your conversation about work:
- Where do you work?
- How many years have you worked with your current employer?
- What do you like best about your job?
- What’s one thing you wish you could change about your current employment situation?
- Do you have any plans of moving to a new company? Why or why not?
Remember that there are some gray areas when it comes to asking about a person’s job. Questions that might seem to ‘pry’ about more private intricacies might not be ideal, especially if you’re not fully acquainted with the person you’re talking to. For instance, asking about their salary, their work relationships, or making negative comments about how far they’ve come in terms of their rank in their employment hierarchy might not be the best way to leave a positive impression.
If the person you’re talking to is still in school, these questions should help encourage them to talk more about their education:
- Where do you go to school?
- Are you part of any student organizations?
- Do you plan to take up post-graduate studies? In what particular field or sub-specialty?
- What’s your favorite subject?
- What kind of job opportunities do you expect to have after you graduate?
Again, there are a few questions you might want to avoid. Asking things about their grades and when they expect to graduate may put them in an unpleasant situation, so try to avoid putting them in the spotlight. Instead, ask questions that anyone would be comfortable to answer, and try to relate your own experiences by talking about your personal journey through school.
Family and Relationships
We’ve all got loved ones in our lives, and they make up a huge chunk of who we are and what we love. Talking about family ties and close relationships can be a great way to learn more about someone, especially if you know that you’ve got friends in common.
Here are some questions you might want to ask to get someone to talk more about their family and the relationships they value the most:
- How many siblings do you have?
- Where is your family from?
- Do your parents still work? Where are they employed?
- What jobs do your siblings have?
- When was the last time you went home to your family?
- Are you married or in a relationship?
- What’s your partner’s job?
There are certain questions that some people might consider touchy or intrusive when it comes to their personal relationships, so make sure you keep those boundaries in mind. For instance, the topic of having children might not rub off well on some people, so it’s better to keep yourself from asking that question especially if you know they don’t have children yet.
Similarly, asking about family ties if you know that a person comes from a problematic household might not be the most tactful way to approach the conversation. For example, if you know that their parents were recently divorced, then you may want to steer clear of prompts that might touch on that personal issue.
Travel and Other Memorable Experiences
Our generation is big on travel, so that’s likely going to be common ground between you and someone in the same age range. Asking about their travel experiences can help encourage a less effortless conversation, paving the way for hours of fun-filled sharing that might even give you an idea as to your next adventure plans.
Here are some questions you can ask to get your friend to talk about their unique travel experiences:
- Where did you spend your last vacation?
- How many countries have you visited in total?
- Where do you plan to go next?
- Do you travel alone or with family and friends?
- What’s your favorite travel destination that you’ve been to and why?
- Do you have a travel bucket list? What specific items are you most interested in ticking off of your list?
- What tourist destinations or attractions do you think everyone should visit once in their lifetime?
- Any general tips or travel hacks that you’ve learned through all of your experiences?
When it comes to the topic of travel, it’s unlikely that you’ll touch on anything too personal, so have at it! It also pays to share about your own experiences to create a dynamic conversation that’s more natural and effortless. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to make a mental note of the tips they share – especially if they’ve been around more than once!
Entertainment and Pop Culture
Thanks to the internet, anyone and everyone from all walks of life will have a general idea as to the latest pop culture trends and entertainment news. If you sense that your new friend is big on the latest hot Hollywood gossip, movies, or TV shows, then you might want to steer your conversation down that road to get started on an interesting topic of discussion that can get you talking for hours.
Here are some questions worth asking if you want to talk about entertainment and pop culture:
- What’s your favorite Netflix original series or movie?
- Any upcoming movies or TV shows that you’re particularly excited for?
- Are you more of a book-person or a TV/movie person?
- Have you recently seen any good live concerts?
- What movie can you watch everyday for the rest of your life and not get bored of?
- Who’s your favorite fictional character and why?
- What movie genre are you most interested in and why?
- What’s one movie that you can never finish and why?
- Who’s your favorite Hollywood actor
In the topic of pop culture and entertainment, it’s unlikely for you to encounter any conversational roadblocks because there really is no chance to insult anyone with this topic. Enjoy endless hours of conversation and discuss your favorite shows, movies, and plots with this versatile topic of talk.
Food and Cooking
Who doesn’t love food? It doesn’t matter whether your friend is a seasoned chef or just someone who loves new gastronomic experiences, everyone has something to say in the topic of food, dining, and cooking. As one of the most fun topics to talk about, food can transcend age, gender, and culture, giving you an all around conversation that you can share and enjoy with anyone and everyone.
Here are some questions you can ask to get the ball rolling:
- Have you tried any good restaurants lately?
- What’s your favorite kind of food?
- Do you cook? What would you call your specialty?
- What cuisine do you appreciate the most?
- What’s one food that you can never really eat or enjoy?
- Do you have any dietary restrictions? Why?
- How often do you go out to eat?
- What’s your favorite drink?
On the topic of dietary restrictions, there may be some red tape. For instance, people of certain religious groups might not be allowed to eat certain types of meat or seafood. If your conversational partner says that they can’t eat types of food because of religious reasons, avoid telling them that they’re “missing out” or responding with potentially insulting claims that defend eating those kinds of food. Always respect their boundaries and don’t claim to be correct in your dietary choices.
Past Experiences and Future Plans
It’s always fun to talk about what was and what will be. We’ve all had fun experiences as kids, and we all have some idea of what we want to achieve in the near future. Tackling this topic can help encourage your conversational partner to talk more about their plans and their past, giving you a better idea of how they grew up, how they came to be as they are, and what they want to achieve in the future.
Here are some questions you can ask to discuss past experiences:
- Where did you grow up?
- What did you love to do as a kid?
- What’s your most memorable childhood experience?
- What’s your earliest childhood experience?
- Are you still in touch with your childhood friends?
Here are some questions you can ask to learn more about your conversational partner’s future plans:
- Where do you plan to settle down and live once you’re stable in your career?
- Would you rather live in the cit or in a rural area?
- What’s your main career objective or goal?
- How do you plan to spend your retirement years?
Similarly, you can ask questions that don’t zoom too far into the future. Questions that dwell on activities within the foreseeable future can be casual and easy to answer, and may help you come up with plans in case you intend to see each other again soon.
- What are you planning to do this weekend?
- How do you plan to spend your summer?
- Where do you plan to stay over the Christmas holidays?
- Any events that you’re looking forward to attending?
There’s a world’s worth of interesting things to talk about, so make sure you don’t leave room for awkward silence when you meet someone for the first time. Take these conversational prompts with you the next time you anticipate the opportunity to strike up a convo and learn new things about the people around you every time by communicating effectively and asking the right questions.