Want to get to know someone better? Here are some questions you can ask.
Maybe you're trying to get to know someone better. Maybe you're trying to make conversations more interesting. Or, maybe you just want to improve your communication skills by asking better questions. Communication may just be the backbone of healthy relationships. But communication is more than just a tool we use to explore ourselves. It can also be used to build closer bonds with others. One way we can do this is by asking questions—questions that lead others to self-disclose to us. This is how we get to know who the other person is for real.
In perhaps one of the best-known studies on relationships, Art Aron showed that when two people asked each other increasingly probing questions over a 45-minute period, they felt closer than two people who had just engaged in chit-chat (Aron et al., 1997). Further research suggests that when others self-disclose personal information, we like them more (Sprecher, Treger, & Wondra, 2013). This may partially explain why asking and answering questions increases closeness.
Questions to Ask
To start increasing closeness (or just get to know someone), here are some questions you can ask:
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
Who was your favorite cartoon character when you were a kid?
Do you believe in giving people second chances?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Are you a mountain or a beach person?
What is your spirit animal?
How would you describe your first crush?
What are your favorite hobbies?
Do you think anyone has the capacity to cheat or do you think only cheaters cheat?
Have you ever shoplifted anything?
Have you ever done something you regretted?
What do you think the solution is to climate change?
Do you think psychics are actually psychic?
What is your favorite workout?
Do you believe in astrology?
What do you want people to remember about you after you’re gone?
What was the most important lesson you’ve learned from a past relationship?
What are some of your favorite books?
What is a skill that you want to build?
If you could change one thing about your childhood what would it be and why?
Do you know how to play any musical instruments?
Who or what inspires you?
What is your place in the whole world?
Who is your doppelganger?
Have you ever had an epiphany? If so, what was it like for you?
What was the most intense experience you've had in your life?
Are you a morning or a night person?
How do you think you'd be different if you were raised in a different family?
What is the most important lesson you've learned this year?
What is your dream vacation?
What superpowers did you wish you had when you were a kid?
Are you very close to anyone in your family? Why?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
What are your passions in life?
Have you ever had your heart broken? What did it feel like to you?
What type of music energizes you?
Are you still friends with anyone from high school?
What was your favorite subject or class in high school?
What was the most memorable experience from your childhood?
What is one accomplishment that you're proud of?
When you see your family, what do you do together?
Is there anything from the past that you wish would come back?
Do you get déjà vu? What does it feel like for you?
What makes you feel nostalgic?
What would you do if you found out you had a year to live?
If you redesigned society, what would you change?
What would be a perfect day for you?
If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
What's your least favorite food?
What's one thing I don't already know about you?
Asking questions can be a great way to learn more about others, increase closeness between you, and have more interesting conversations. Hopefully, these questions will give you some ideas for what to ask people.
Aron, A., Melinat, E., Aron, E. N., Vallone, R. D., & Bator, R. J. (1997). The experimental generation of interpersonal closeness: A procedure and some preliminary findings. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 23(4), 363-377.
Sprecher, S., Treger, S., & Wondra, J. D. (2013). Effects of self-disclosure role on liking, closeness, and other impressions in get-acquainted interactions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(4), 497-514.