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50 Simple Questions to Ask to Get to Know Someone Deeply

50 Simple Questions to Ask to Get to Know Someone Deeply

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?

Usually you are just looking for a pleasant way to pass the time and maybe to find a new friend. So most people know it’s best to avoid talking about politics, religion and sexual orientation. 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).

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Below are 50 simple questions to ask to get to know someone. It 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…

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  1. Watch Star Wars or Star Trek? Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings? Use whichever movies 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. Wear jeans or chinos?
  6. Have a Margarita or Pina Colada?
  7. Drink a glass of Guinness or Fat Tire?
  8. Drink coffee or beer?
  9. Crash with friends or stay in a hotel?
  10. Visit Europe or Mexico?
  11. Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
  12. Choose a free trip or money? This may tell you whether the person values experiences over dollars.
  13. Stay in a hotel or an Airbnb home?
  14. Go skiing or snowboading?
  15. Travel by plane, train, or automobile?
  16. Enjoy a houseboat or speed boat?
  17. Go climbing or zip lining?
  18. Hike or bike?
  19. Go to a comedy club or dance club?
  20. Have a night out or evening in?
  21. Watch TV or read a book?
  22. Go canoeing or waterskiing?
  23. Camp in an RV or stay in a tent?
  24. Use Facebook or Twitter?
  25. Use iPhone or Android phone?
  26. Win the lottery or find your perfect job?
  27. Swim in a pool or the ocean? Salt water and waves crashing on the beach or temperature controlled, lovely water all year round.
  28. Travel by sailboat or cruise ship?
  29. Watch sports or play sports?
  30. Play dodgeball or kickball?

Get to know someone by learning 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. Who do you look up to and why?
  9. What was your favorite activity in gym class? (Personally I think the ______ were a lot of fun.)
  10. What has been your biggest challenge?
  11. What is your biggest success up until now?
  12. What does your perfect day look like?
  13. What is one thing that you can’t live without right now?
  14. University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
  15. What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already?
  16. If you were to create a piece of art, what would the subject be?
  17. What one thing would you change if you had to do it over?
  18. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
  19. What does your life say about you?
  20. How would your friends describe you?

How to 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 that makes it preferable.

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You can even try this communication hack to make the conversation even more natural: Want To Break The Ice And Get Close To Someone Quickly? Try This Communication Hack

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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