We often meet new people at parties or through work situations. Do you have a good way to get to know someone new without just talking about your job and where you are from?

We all know it’s best to avoid talking about politics, religion, and sexual orientation. Usually you are just looking for a pleasant way to pass the time and maybe to find a new friend. Talking about touchy subjects makes neither very likely.

The best way to really get to know someone is to learn what they do (with their spare time) and what they like (probably also shows up in what they do). The questions below will give you some new ideas for topics to discuss when meeting someone new. Be ready with your own answers too.

Get to know someone by learning what they like

Would you rather…

  1. Watch, Star Wars, or Star Trek? Use whichever moves you find most relevant.
  2. Read on a Kindle or paperback book? This question is a starter for many possible conversations on reading, favorite books, technology, libraries, bookstores, and more.
  3. Go to a play or musical?
  4. Go to the theater or a movie?
  5. Hike or bike?
  6. Wear jeans or chinos?
  7. Have a Margarita or Pina Colada?
  8. Drink a glass of Guinness or Fat Tire?
  9. Crash with friends or stay in a hotel?
  10. Visit Europe or Mexico?
  11. Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
  12. Go skiing or snowshoeing?
  13. Travel by plane, train, or automobile?
  14. Enjoy a houseboat or speed boat?
  15. Go climbing or zip lining?
  16. Go to a comedy club or dance club?
  17. Have a night out or evening in?
  18. Watch TV or read a book?
  19. Go canoeing or waterskiing?
  20. Camp in an RV or stay in a tent?
  21. Use Facebook or Twitter?
  22. Choose a free trip or money? This may tell you whether the person values experiences over dollars.
  23. Win the lottery or find your perfect job?
  24. Swim in a pool or the ocean? Salt water and waves crashing on the beach or temperature controlled, lovely water all year round.
  25. Travel by sailboat or cruise ship?
  26. Watch sports or play sports?
  27. Play dodgeball or kickball?

Get to know someone new when you learn how they think:

  1. Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
  2. If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
  3. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  4. Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
  5. What is your favorite memory?
  6. Who is your favorite author?
  7. What is your favorite book?
  8. What was your favorite activity in gym class? Personally I think the parachutes were a lot of fun.
  9. What has been your biggest challenge?
  10. What is your biggest success up until now?
  11. What does your perfect day look like?
  12. University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
  13. What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already?
  14. If you were to create a piece of art, what would the subject be?
  15. What one thing would you change if you had to do it over?
  16. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
  17. What does your life say about you?
  18. How would your friends describe you?

Start the conversation normally — rather than just asking a question, say: “Movies are fun, but the theater is a richer experience. I recently saw … and loved it. What do you prefer, movies or theater?”

Don’t just go rattle off question after question; let the question you ask naturally lead into a conversation. Once they tell you if they prefer theater or movies, probe into what about their choice makes it preferable.

What question do you feel would help you best get to know someone? Share it with us in the comments below.

Want to meet new friends in new cities?: How To Make A Bunch Of New Friends In Any New City

Featured photo credit: Celebration via Shutterstock

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