Where can I find conversation-starters?
November 9, 2012 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a bunch of thought-provoking questions or prompts for starting conversations? I'm looking for the rabbit-hole questions you can spend a lot of time discussing with someone, as well as questions that help you get to know someone better. Are there books, games, or web resources like this?

My husband and I want to spend more time talking and communicating with each other. Lately, it seems difficult for us to find interesting topics of conversation. We're working on doing more activities together to give us some common ground, but we'd also like to see if there are any resources out there that could give us a repository of intriguing questions and conversation starters. They do not all (actually, preferably would not be) just about our relationship, though some of those would be welcome too. We're just looking for things to focus our conversations around to get us started. I've seen a couple of older questions that ask about this, but I'm specifically looking for newer resources that we could purchase or access together. Thanks for any help or ideas!
posted by theantikitty to Human Relations (11 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
I suggest Table Topics They have one specifically for couples.
posted by miaou at 6:48 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

My girlfriend listens to a bunch of information-laden podcasts, and so our more interesting conversations these days often start with her saying "Check out this thing I just heard". (Or with me saying "So, I saw this thing on Metafilter...")
posted by rmd1023 at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2012

The "If..." books might be something you would like. They are fairly short books filled with questions starting with "If you could..."
-If you could have any room in the world become you bedroom, which would you choose?
-If you could suddenly posses talent in one of the arts what would you like it to be?
Stuff like that.

I have volume 1 and have had mixed success using it to liven up boring gatherings - sometimes it is fun and gets people talking, but sometimes you get a lot of "That's a stupid question" type answers. Since you are both specifically looking for things to discuss, it might work for you.
If... (Questions For The Game of Life)
posted by Sabby at 7:12 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Soul Pancake has a lot of interesting questions and topics in their "Conversations" page. The questions/conversations often lean to the spiritual/philosophical, but usually one or two questions a day pique my interest.
posted by baniak at 7:33 AM on November 9, 2012

Book of Questions
posted by oflinkey at 7:38 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

it's not a specific resource, but I like arguing about music. So anything (artist/work) pitted against another can be fun. (i.e. Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, Liam or Noel, Beatles or Stones, etc.)
posted by mrmarley at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2012

My wife and I were working on the same thing a while back. I collected questions from a bunch of different sources and printed them out on little cards. Then I gave her the cards in a little wooden box for Valentine's Day. You are welcome to use my list if it helps.

What’s the worst thing you have ever done, and why did you do it?

When did you first notice you weren’t a kid anymore?

What are you most afraid of?

What’s something that you have memorized? Why?

If you could be the best in the world at something, what would it be? Why?

If you were wealthy what kind of charity would you establish? Why?

Describe something in your childhood that made you who you are today.

Imagine you get a chance to spend one more day with someone you love that has died. Who would it be? What would you do?

You have been given a chance to obliterate one bad thing in the world without consequence. What is it and why?

If you could live for eternity, would you?

If we were running from vampires, would you trip me?

Is there a God? Describe him/her.

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done in your life?

What is the most appealing trait for a woman to have?

What is the most appealing trait for a man to have?

What is the most important thing you have in your bedroom? Why is it so important?

What is a personality trait in other people that really annoys you?

Are you able to kill? Under what circumstances do you find killing to be acceptable or unacceptable?

How short would your life have to be before you would start living differently today?

If you had to gain 10lbs., what would you eat to gain the weight?

If you could have any view from your back porch what would it be?

If you could witness any sporting event throughout history, which would you choose?

Which other culture would you choose to be born into?

Is it okay to lie?

What is the hardest part about being a kid and about being a parent?

What was the most ridiculous fashion trend you ever followed?

Which personality trait has got you into the most trouble?

What possession of your partner’s would you most like to throw away?

What remains undone that you have wanted to get done for years?

What’s your perfect Sunday?

When is making a pre-emptive military strike against another country justified?

Is science or art more essential to humanity?

What character from a book, movie or TV show do you remember most vividly? Why?

If you could appoint a board of directors to help you run your life, who would you choose and why?

What do you want to make sure your child has that you didn’t have?

What game or activity do you remember most vividly from your childhood?

If you could witness one event from your family’s history, what would you want to see?

When and where have you felt the most uncomfortable being nude?

Would you rather relinquish some of your intelligence, your beauty or your chutzpah?

Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits?

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone?

If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward remember nothing of the experience, would you do so? If not, why?

Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?

Would you like to know the precise date of your death? Your spouse?

Would you leave your homeland forever for 2 million dollars?

Would you prefer the free, unlimited services of a professional chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse or personal secretary for one year?

What would you do if you could successfully wish people dead without getting caught?

If you wrote an autobiography of your life, what would the title be?

Is it more important in a relationship to be loved or understood?

What could I do to make you feel more loved?

What is the feeling you have the most difficulty sharing with your partner? Why?

How would you complete this statement? In our marriage, I feel awkward when…
posted by pixlboi at 9:19 AM on November 9, 2012 [18 favorites]

If you could have majored in anything you wanted and got any job you wanted what would it be besides the one you are at now and why?

Do you believe that dreams have to do with what happened during the day and what we thought of during the day?

What do you think happens after we die?
posted by Autumn89 at 10:47 AM on November 9, 2012

posted by luciddream928 at 11:14 AM on November 9, 2012

I will suggest a question, but I'm hoping you can answer one for me.

Philosophy is exactly the area you both should read up on. You don't have to read a whole lot - the very first questions of free will, what is/isn't moral, sexuality, fate, nature of "god", etc . will keep you busy for years to come.

If philosophy is too abstract, try sociology, examples: are whites more intelligent than blacks, why do we talk the way we do, can two cultures coexist, what is "culture", what will the USA look like in 20, 50, 100 years.

As for my own question:...

How did you run out of things to talk about? You are married, that means there's history, relationships, daily occurrences, family, friends, current events, trip stories, emotional unveiling, etc . etc.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, thank you, thank you for these! Every answer has been useful for us, and we appreciate it. We're checking out the web resources, ordering books, and looking at the posted questions together right now. Also --

As for my own question:...

How did you run out of things to talk about? You are married, that means there's history, relationships, daily occurrences, family, friends, current events, trip stories, emotional unveiling, etc . etc.

You know, I wondered the same thing for a long time. We are a pretty independent couple, with extremely different work lives, interests, cultural backgrounds, etc. We don't have the same social needs. I'm a pretty ambitious, career-driven person who maintains a bunch of close social relationships, and he's quiet, introverted, and prefers to stay at home. We realized, at a certain point, that we'd just stopped talking to each other and that had cost us some emotional intimacy. We can usually get talking if we have a topic or a starter, but we get stuck sometimes at the beginning stages. We've been together eight years, and this is tough for us to go through right now. We appreciate hearing that others have been here, too.
posted by theantikitty at 8:04 PM on November 9, 2012

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