What is the opposite of an Ice Breaker?
November 7, 2018 11:55 AM   Subscribe

What are some fun conversation starters that you've had with your very good friends who you know very well?

I'm off to a cabin this weekend with some of my best friends and my husband. We've all known each other for years and know each other very well.

I'm looking for some interesting / intriguing ways of getting people to share untold stories or things about themselves that I might not already know and would never think to ask.

What are some most excellent conversation starters that you have used with success? I'm thinking along the lines of, you know, "Have you ever had a ghostly experience?" things like that - something a little outside of the box and guaranteed to generate a healthy conversation.

Or things like "If you had to choose between being constipated for the rest of your life or having diarrhea for the rest of your life, which one would it be?" Just silly things like that; amusing, tongue in cheek, unexpected..... help me with your creative brains!
posted by JenThePro to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
I like to ask people what their spirit animal is
posted by supermedusa at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you had your own clubhouse/treehouse, what would the club be called?
posted by nkknkk at 12:02 PM on November 7, 2018

If you want some board games that facilitate this, check out Zobmondo!! (chose between two bad options), Loaded Questions (guess who answered what to a variety of questions), or possibly the Ungame (warning, not actually a game). Or maybe Never Have I Ever.

I've had a lot of good conversations stimulated by people talking about obscure things from history that someone had an interest in, so asking things like, "what's something interesting from the 1800s that you know that you bet no one else here does," might spark something interesting.

And while yesterday happened, if you can put a moratorium on politics for the weekend, I've found that the subject too often derails all other conversation and maybe a short break would do you and your friends some good. If you're foodies, asking about the most memorable meal they've had can lead to some good topics as well.
posted by Candleman at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some that have worked well for me:

If you could take a five year trip to Mars, would you do it?
If you could take a one-way trip to a nearby star, would you do it?
If you have to design a world with a real afterlife and or reincarnation, what system would you choose?
If you could give advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would you say?
If you could pick any job, which one would be your third choice?
If you had to eat exactly one food at every meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
posted by eotvos at 12:11 PM on November 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

"Tell us about the first concert you ever attended."

And not just "Oh, it was The Stones in 1978". Tell us the entire story. Who went with you? Where was it? How did you get there? What happened at the show?

Stories from your distant youth can be a lot of fun. People embellish, time smooths over the bad parts, and nobody else can verify a lick of it anyway. And when you talk about music, people can relate really quickly and start to add stories of their own.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:15 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

("Spirit animal" as a term is disrespectful to traditional Native American religions. Similar idea to what you're going for, not a problem: "patronus.")

"A restaurant is creating a sandwich special named after you. What is it?"
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:20 PM on November 7, 2018 [34 favorites]

I've had some excellent discussions/debates by bringing up this classic Ask MeFi thread: which way do you face in the shower?
posted by thebots at 12:21 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

There are these things called Chat Packs which have the kind of questions you're looking for. I got mine off Amazon.
Examples are:
If you could do any kind of work, regardless of skill or opportunities, what would that be?
What farm animal best represents your personality?
At what age did you feel like a grownup?
posted by DixieBaby at 12:44 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

+ What kind of stuff would your dream house have?
+ What's your most strenuous connection to a celebrity?
+ If you could turn any soda (or beverage in general) into a person and interact with them, which would you choose?
+ If you could turn any person into a beverage and taste their personality, who would you choose?
posted by meemzi at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

My boyfriend and I did the New York Times' 36 questions that lead to love once--definitely learned a few things we didn't already know.
posted by pinochiette at 12:58 PM on November 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

At the silly end of the spectrum, there’s Richard Herring’s Emergency Questions book. I’m not sure it’s a recommendation, but it’s what your question made me think of. Be aware that, assuming they are like the ones on his podcast, they will frequently be scatological or sexual, fwiw. Or just absurd.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:05 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Describe in detail the grossest time you ever threw up." (May not be suitable for the dinner table but always results in a fascinating story.)
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 1:16 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

where were you when you heard __________________? "reagan was shot? space shuttle exploded? Berlin wall came down?"

favorite cities you have visited?

funniest thing that happened to you on a vacation?
posted by domino at 1:19 PM on November 7, 2018

When was the last time you felt you were in a state of flow? What were you doing?

What is something you love dearly and would be very sad to be without?

What was your favorite toy as a child?

Who has been most inspirational to you in your life?

What one thing are you more afraid of than anything else?

Who's your celebrity crush?

If you could do anything you wanted for work, what would you do?

What are 3 things you are grateful for right now? Tell me about them.

If you could go back in time, what period would you choose to go to and why? What would you take with you?

If you could talk to anyone alive right now, who would you pick? What would you ask them?

If you could have any super power, which one would you pick and why?

What do you think happens when you die?
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really like playing two truths and a lie with people I know well. Some interesting things come up when you're struggling to think of something that people don't already know.
posted by geegollygosh at 2:18 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Seconding Two Truths & A Lie for any sort of gathering where you want to learn more about each other. Also: What is your earliest memory and at what age? Who is your oldest friend and where/how did you meet them? What are you holding onto that you need to let go of? (expect some tears) I've always liked many of the Proust Questionnaire questions.
posted by mmw at 2:36 PM on November 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

From hanging with friends I've known in the range of twenty to thirty years, we usually play, "Do you think we would be friends if we met today? Or did it have to happen in third grade/fifth grade/college/etc. to turn us into pals?" It's interesting because it makes us comfortably examine what keeps us enjoying each other's company. We try to stay positive with this with some light to moderate ball-busting for laughs.
posted by Merinda at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2018

Would you rather be invisible on demand or to be able to fly? I have found no-one is indifferent.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:07 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Book of Questions
posted by saturdaymornings at 4:29 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have some friends who have taken these to interesting places, here are some:

If you had to go back in time to a pre-historic era, which four people (or, four people with what professions/experience) would you bring with you? (aka a doctor, a linguist, etc)

If there was a world with islands, and each island had nothing but clones of one of your friends, which friend-clone-island would survive and be a productive society? Which would be total chaos? Which would conquer and overtake the others?
posted by lookoutbelow at 5:13 PM on November 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm going to come in here and suggest Truth or Dare. I've learned many a thing about my closest friends playing this from both how they answer the "Truth" questions and which "Dares" they carried out (and how enthusiastically they carried some of the more surprising ones out!)
posted by astapasta24 at 5:42 PM on November 7, 2018

Chuck Klosterman's 23 questions.
posted by Hatashran at 6:14 PM on November 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

I came across this post on Reddit back in September and saved it - seemed to have some useful suggestions there! What's the most important question to ask someone when you want to get to know them better? Sure there are plenty of joke responses in here but oh well. I do like to ask people what their dream vacation would be, that's a great one.
posted by belau at 8:54 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

What is your (or your partner/friend/spouse’s) superskill?

A superskill is something that you are really good at that is so specific, so random, or so esoteric, that it is not monetizable or even useful in a significant sense. Examples: being able to tell if a painting is not perfectly level; knowing instantly what celebrity a person most resembles; being able to instantly say words or phrases backwards.
posted by googly at 11:35 PM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I ask people if they want to do a year compass with me if it's close to the beginning or end of the year.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2018

I like the ghostly experiences one, and love a good barf tale. Another suggestion: have you ever been arrested/nearly arrested? Some suprising answers when that topic came up amongst a group of grad school friends.
posted by emd3737 at 6:35 AM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've learned a lot about my friend group and people in general through the questions, "What qualities in a person make you want to get to know them more?" and "What makes you feel close with someone?" That second one got answers varying from "helping them move," to "having them learn about my inner world."
posted by Pwoink at 6:54 AM on November 8, 2018

My very close, pretty large friend group has developed a somewhat generalized game - "Tell me a story...". Someone starts by asking "Tell me a story about [fill in whatever here... could be "a tree" "an exotic pet" "a surprise party" "spending time in a cemetery" "studying abroad"... really anything]. And then someone (or a few people) answer that prompt. The answers could be personal (My grandparents had this pomegranate tree...") or from a different source ("I've been reading this book about a woman who has a pet octopus..."). When we do it, the answers tend to be non-fiction, but with a creative storytelling group, I could see it being fun fictionalized. When the prompt is done eliciting responses, someone else (typically the last person to answer) asks a new prompt "Tell me a story about [another thing]". Enjoy your weekend!
posted by leastlikelycowgirl at 7:29 AM on November 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

This is such a great question!

There's a huge bank of "Would You Rather" questions from Comedy Bang Bang's podcast that should lead to some interesting conversations.
posted by Twicketface at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Table Topics
posted by saturdaymornings at 8:45 PM on November 13, 2018

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