18 Interpersonal questions to ask

Tired of asking the same old questions? Although small talk is qualified as an excellent surface conversation, they don’t quite provide insight on a person’s character or personality. Thus, we present to you, the ultimate question guide designed to help you dig deep and avoid those awkward conversation lulls.

Whether it’s initial nerves or long-term curiosity, the list of questions is suited for initial encounters to long-term relationships. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t recommend asking all the questions on the first date, as some may come on a bit too strong. Even one question is enough to initiate a full conversation and get the ball rolling. But, hey! Depending on how bold you’re feeling, take your pick.

As much as we’d love to take credit for this list, these questions were actually developed by Arthur Aron of the Interpersonal Relationships Lab at Stony Brook University in New York and were designed to deepen your understanding of a partner, friend, or family member. The following list of questions takes approximately an hour to go through and are arranged in order of easiest to the most difficult.

Let’s get started

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  2. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
  3. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
  4. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
  5. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
  6. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  7. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

  8. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
  10. What do you value most in a friendship?
  11. What is your most terrible memory?
  12. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  13. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
  14. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
  15. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
  16. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
  17. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  18. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

And there you have it! The ultimate list of interpersonal questions to upgrade your small-talk starter pack.