Knowing what to say when you’re meeting someone for the first time isn’t always easy. Connections are organic, but they can use a little push in the form of good conversation and quality questioning. Being inquisitive is a great way to both show interest and calm your nerves by taking some of the attention off yourself. Wondering what questions to ask someone you just met? After looking into it, I found seven of the best.
A study that examined interpersonal closeness demonstrated that intimacy can result from asking a certain set of escalating questions that move from surface to thought-provoking. You don’t need to skip the small talk, but leave some room for deep conversation if you really want to get to know someone. The good news is that the more profound questions can still be asked in a lighthearted manner.
So, after you’ve gotten your pleasantries out of the way, try these telling questions to get a better idea of who the person sitting in front of you really is.
1. If you weren’t on a date right now, what would you be doing?
This is a fun way to ask about a person’s routine or what they like to do in their free time. Forget asking about hobbies or interests, which people can always make up to sound way cooler, this question will put them into imagination mode, prompting them to think realistically about their typical weeknight habits.
2. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Do your interests collide? Does this person live life on the safer side? What is his or her level of adventure? These are all questions you can uncover with this question. Plus, it’s a good way to ease your date into talking about themselves and thinking about past experiences as a primer for the deeper questions.
3. How would your best friend describe you in three sentences?
The way someone believes they’re perceived by others is a reflection of how they view themselves, and a close friend is the best person to reveal that. Ask for three sentences because it leaves little room for fluff; you’ll get a straightforward response.
4. Who do you look up to the most and why?
Insight into who a person looks up to will give you an understanding of what qualities that person finds the most admirable. It tells you the traits that this person either has or would like to develop. People can admire others for a number of reasons, but you can be sure that whatever your date sees in that person, they’d also like to see in themselves.
5. What is the most memorable event from your childhood?
This question will yield more than memories of the past. It can be very telling what events stand out for someone. It shows you what importance they put on things and gives you an idea about how they prioritize events in their life, including which relationships and people are the most important to them.
6. What is one important lesson your ex taught you?
Not saying bad things about your ex is a sure sign of maturity, but being able to pull out some positives from a past relationship is commendable. Not only will you gain some valuable insight into how this person has grown, but you’ll also learn about their level of introspection and aptitude for personal growth.
7. What’s something I can’t tell from looking at you?
Perhaps this person has a hidden talent or an obscure interest. Maybe they’ve achieved some incredible accomplishment. Most people won’t share these things upfront, and you might not be able to tell at first glance. This question provides your date with the opportunity to share openly, and it gives you the chance to see them in their best light.
If you want to make a determination about someone you’ve just met, listen more then you speak, be inquisitive, and dig deeper than the surface. At the very least, this approach will confirm or deny a connection and give you confidence about the next steps.
Of course, the date doesn’t have to be entirely profound. When you’re ready to mix in some more lighthearted questions, try these.