Have you ever wondered why some people are great conversationalists while others struggle with it? Do you notice that those gifted with this particular skill tend to have an easier time making friends and growing closer to other people?
Well, contrary to what most people might believe, being good at conversations doesn’t actually have much to do with extraversion or confidence, says clinical psychologist Dr. Steven Melendy. Because just like every other kind of social skill, it’s one that can be learned and perfected with practice. And if you’ve seen the viral “36 Questions to Fall in Love” psychology experiment on YouTube, then you’d know it works to deepen just about any kind of relationship, too – even with complete strangers!
With that said, if you’ve been wanting to impress a special someone with your great conversation skills but don’t quite know how to go about it, look no further. Here are some topics to spark great questions with a crush, according to psychology experts:
1. Passions and Hobbies
Rachel Moheban Wachtel, licensed marriage therapist, says that picking up on a person’s specific interests is key to getting them to open up to us. Because in a way, we’re all our best and truest selves when we talk about the things that really interest us and spark our passion.
So you can ask: “What’s your favorite way to spend your time?”, “What would you do with an extra 10 hours a week?”, “What would be the topic of your New York Times bestselling book?”, and “What do you love learning about and why?” Just be sure to show curiosity and encourage them to talk more about it to really deepen the conversation.
2. Work or Studies
Now, if you don’t know the person that well yet, try asking them about their work or studies. Although most people might feel that questions like these are boring and generic, according to psychotherapist Dr. Joe Sanok, these topics can be great conversation starters, too. Because if you’re still getting to know your crush, it’s better to start with small and simple to gradually build comfort, trust, and depth in your relationship.
And make it more interesting by asking things like, “Have you been working on any cool projects lately?”, “Did anything interesting happen at work/school today?”, and “What’s it like working in this certain company/going to this certain school? What do you like about it?”
3. Pop Culture
If you’re still testing the waters and keeping things casual with your crush, talking about pop culture can be a great way to get them to warm up to you and get to know them better. Just skip the usual cliches and phrase your questions in a more interesting way.
An article for PsychCentral, written by health and wellness journalist Hilary Lebow and reviewed by therapist Dr. Jennifer Litner, has a few good examples you can borrow like: “If you could be best friends with any famous person, who would it be?”, “What books/movies/albums have had the biggest influence on you?”, and “Which fictional character do you like/relate to the most?”
Another great strategy you can try your luck with is getting your crush to talk more about themselves by asking thought-provoking, open-ended questions. For example: “What’s your favorite thing about yourself?”, “How would your closest friends describe you?”, “What does the perfect day look like to you?”, “What would be the title of your memoir?”, “What’s your dream vacation?” , and “What are the experiences that shaped you the most as a person?”
Questions like these work because, according to professional marriage and family therapist Kimberly Panganiban, the goal of every good conversation is to learn new things about one another and personal questions such as these can help bring about the deepest connection.
5. Personal Growth
Similar to our earlier point, you can ask the other person about their personal growth to make the conversation more engaging. Just be sure that you’re both at a place where you’re really ready to be vulnerable with one another. “Sharing from a pace of vulnerability is how to truly get to know someone,”says Dr. Megan Fleming, clinical psychologist and sex therapist. “Connecting with others is all about our willingness to be truly seen, which comes from sharing our most embarrassing, challenging, and often most difficult moments.”
So try your best to keep it positive and show empathy when you ask your crush things like: “What’s your biggest achievement so far?”, “What personal accomplishment are you proudest of?”, “What’s the best way life has surprised you?”, and “What are you most thankful for right now that you didn’t have before?”
Whatever topic you choose to go with, just keep in mind these important tips from Kendra Cherry, psychology writer and educational consultant for VeryWell Mind, in mastering the art of conversations: ask interesting, open-ended questions; get a good feel for what’s appropriate to the context/situation (e.g., if they’re ready to get deeper or if it’s better to keep the tone light for now); strike a balance (e.g., making small talk before getting heavy, or sharing your own answers, too); and always convey interest, engagement, openness, and friendliness as best as you can.
- Sanok, K. (16 Sep 2021). “A psychotherapist shares 24 conversation starters he uses to ‘build deeper, more interesting relationships’ with anyone.” CNBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/16/psychotherapist-shares-conversation-starters-he-uses-to-build-deeper-interesting-relationships-with-anyone.html
- Litner, J. & Lebow, H. (16 Mar 2022). “45+ Deep Conversation Starters to Bond with Friends and Family.” PsychCentral. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/health/deep-conversation-starters
- Cherry, K. (22 Nov 2022). “How to Start a Conversation: 8 Tips and Starter Topics.” VeryWell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-start-a-conversation-4582339
- Spanfeller, J. & Mejia, N. (13 Jul 2022). “78 Deep Conversation Starters To Help You Really, Truly Bond With Anyone.” Women’s Health. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/a37051626/deep-conversation-starters/