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152 Great Small Talk Questions (For Every Situation)

Talking to new people can be scary. By opening up, we make ourselves vulnerable. Small talk is a great way to test the waters before you share more personal things with someone. Small talk is also useful in settings where personal conversations might not be appropriate, such as the workplace.

This guide includes lots of small talk questions for various occasions and social settings. You can use them when you’re chatting with a new acquaintance or when you’re making conversation with people you already know.

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The 10 best small talk questions

The best small talk questions are safe and easy to answer. Try the questions below when you want to start a low-risk conversation and encourage the other person to open up.

Here is a list of questions you could use to make small talk in practically any setting:

1. How do you know the people here?
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2. How do you like to have fun?
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3. What’s your favorite way to start the day?

4. What do you like doing when you’re not working?
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5. What kind of TV shows do you like the most?
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6. What do you like to do on the weekends?

7. Where are you originally from?
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8. What type of music do you like?
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9. What’s your favorite food?

Small talk conversation starters

Conversation starters are great opening lines you can use to break the ice. But they have other uses, too. For example, you can use them to revive a dry conversation, to fill an awkward silence, or to change the subject.

Here are some conversation starters to try when you want to begin a new conversation or get a dying conversation back on track:

1. What brings you here?
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2. What do you do when you’re not working?
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3. What do you like most about living here?

4. Where would you like to live if not here?
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5. What’s your favorite kind of place to meet people?
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6. What’s your favorite gadget?

7. What would you change about this place?
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8. What kind of TV show do you like the most?
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9. How often do you come here?

10. What are the best gyms around here?
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11. What do you think of [story] on the news today?
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12. What type of weather do you like the most?

13. What games do you miss from when you were a kid?
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14. How does a good day start for you?
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15. What’s your favorite cuisine?

17. What are your plans for your next vacation?

You might also like this list of light-hearted conversation starters.

Small talk questions to get to know someone you just met

When you first meet someone, you want to collect clues about their personality and mutual interests. A good strategy here is to link your questions to something related to the environment. When you use this approach, your questions will come across as natural rather than random.

For example, if you just muted a call from your phone, you could ask about their favorite phone apps. Or, if you are in a hotel bar, you could ask them where they come from or why they are there.

Here are some questions you can try to get valuable hints about new people:

1. How do you know the people here?
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2. What brings you here?
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3. Where are you originally from?

4. Do you come here often?
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5. What type of movies do you like?
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6. What genres of music do you like?

7. What have you seen on TV recently?
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8. What are your hobbies?
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9. What do you do?

10. What would you do if you were to pick another profession?
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11. What are the best places to have fun around here?
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12. What do you think of this place?

13. How was your trip here?
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14. What makes you smile?
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15. What do you think of sports?

16. What’s your favorite mobile app?
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17. What kind of news do you like to follow?
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18. Who do you think are the most interesting internet personalities today?

19. Which kind of party do you like the most?
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20. How do you like to have fun?
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Check out our complete list with 222 questions to ask to get to know someone.

Casual questions for small talk

If you are just killing time or you don’t know much about the person, casual questions can help you to fill a silence without committing to a deep conversation.

Here are some examples of simple questions you can use to start or continue a low-pressure conversation:

1. Have you seen any good movies lately?
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2. How’s your day been so far?
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3. How do you like to spend your vacations?

4. What do you think about the colors of that [thing in the environment]?
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5. How was your weekend?
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6. What do you usually do in your free time?

7. What is your favorite gadget?
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8. When you’re buying a new phone, how do you pick which one you’ll buy?
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9. How do you guys know each other?

10. What kind of live shows do you like the most?
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11. Which TV shows do you like to watch?
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12. What’s one spot that I should definitely visit in this city?

13. Is there a phone app you really need that doesn’t exist?
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14. Which pets do you find the cutest?
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15. What food do you like the most?

16. What food do you like the least?
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17. What is the best household appliance ever invented?
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18. What is your favorite movie genre?

19. How was the traffic on your way over here?
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20. What do you think of weather forecasts?

Fun small talk questions

Fun questions are great when things are getting boring. They are also helpful for you both to relax and make the conversation more entertaining.

The questions below will add some fun to your small talk:

1. What’s the absolute worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
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2. What really makes a party a party?
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3. What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw at a party?

4. How many times do you hit the snooze button on your morning alarm? What’s your personal record?
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5. Do you ever feel like you’re in a movie?
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6. If you could turn into an animal for a week – assuming that you’d survive – which one would you pick?

7. What’s the most disgusting food ever?
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8. What’s the first thing you’d do after winning the lottery?
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9. What would you call your autobiography?

10. If you had the power to create one thing perfectly as you imagined it, what would it be?
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11. If you were to start a band, what kind of music would you play, and what would your band be called?
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12. An all-out war between cats and dogs: who wins and why?

13. What’s the silliest thing you’d do if you had unlimited money and resources?
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14. If you had to have only one ice cream flavor forever, which one would you choose?
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15. How would you feel if you couldn’t use your smartphone for a year?

16. How many five-year-olds could you fight at the same time?
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17. If you owned a bar, what would you call it?
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18. If you could only celebrate one holiday, which one would it be?

You also might like this list of fun questions for any situation.

Party questions

Parties are places where people are naturally open to meeting new people and making some random small talk. They are also places where you might find yourself talking to complete strangers, so a good strategy for small talk at parties is to ask questions about the party itself or parties in general.

Here are some party-related related questions to help you keep the conversation light and lively:

1. How do you know the people here?
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2. How do you like the party so far?
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3. Hey, what’s your name?

4. Do you want a drink?
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5. What’s that you’re drinking?
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6. What drinks have you tried so far? What’s your favorite?

7. Which of these appetizers do you like the most?
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8. What’s your favorite thing about this party?
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9. Which of these appetizers would you suggest I try?

10. Which song would you ask them to play tonight?
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11. How many people do you think are here?
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12. Who do you know here?

13. How do you guys know each other?
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14. What do you think about the music?
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15. How long do those parties usually last?

16. How often do you come here?
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17. How often do these parties happen?
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18. Where are your friends?

19. What do you like the most about this place?
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20. Want to go outside for some fresh air?

Here is a list with party questions divided by different types of parties.

Small talk questions for an acquaintance

You can use small talk to get to know acquaintances better and maybe turn them into real friends. An interesting strategy is to ask about something you already know about them or what you talked about the last time you saw each other. This approach shows that you’ve paid attention to them, which can be the first step in building a deeper connection.

Here you have some lightweight small talk questions that might help you to learn more about an acquaintance:

1. What’s your favorite holiday?
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2. How did you land your current job?
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3. What kind of eyeglasses would be a good look for me?

4. What’s your favorite time of the day/year?
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5. What kind of vacation places do you like the most?
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6. What is your favorite thing about the holidays?

7. How’s the house renovation coming along?
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8. How was the vacation? Where’d you go?
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9. How do you like your new neighborhood?

10. Who are your favorite neighbors?
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11. When was the last time you had a conversation with a neighbor?
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12. What is your favorite for winning the Oscars/Grammy?

13. What’s your favorite beverage?
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14. How are the kids?
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15. What do you like to watch on YouTube?

16. Remember how I mentioned [something]? Well, guess what happened?
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17. Last time you mentioned that [something]. How did it go?
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18. What was the best trip you ever took?

19. Last time we met, you were planning a party. How did it go?

You might also like to see more questions to get to know a new friend.

Small talk questions to ask a girl or a guy

Making small talk with someone you are romantically interested in can be difficult. You might feel more awkward or self-conscious than usual. But if you are brave enough to ask some slightly flirty or intimate questions, you might be rewarded with equally flirty answers, plus new insights into the other person’s life and personality.

Here are some small talk questions to ask a guy or girl you like:

1. What kind of party do you like the most?
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2. How do you balance your work and personal life?
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3. Have you ever stolen someone’s heart by accident?

4. Do you like to dance?
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5. What habit would you like to get rid of?
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6. What do you think about starting a family?

7. What’s the biggest sacrifice you’d make for someone you love?
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8. What do you think is the most difficult challenge for couples who need to manage two individual careers?
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9. What would your perfect date look like?

10. What’s the most annoying type of game that people play with each other?
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11. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
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12. What do you think about fashion trends?

13. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
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14. What is your “guilty pleasure” song?
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15. What do you like to watch on TV?
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16. If you had to start a collection of something, what kind of things would you collect?

17. Do you have any siblings?
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18. What kind of profiles do you follow on social media?
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19. Which foreign country would you like to live in?

20. Do you need to see your friends often?
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21. What do you think about long-distance relationships?
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22. What do you think of people who travel halfway across the world for someone they love?

23. What do you think you absolutely need to have a fulfilling life?
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24. How much time would you want to spend with your ideal partner?
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25. What’s your favorite drink at parties?

26. What’s the best way to deal with a breakup?
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27. Have you ever had a crush on someone you met online?
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28. What’s your favorite way to relax?

You might be interested in these lists with more questions to ask a girl or questions to ask a guy.

Good small talk conversation topics

1. Your surroundings

You could talk about your immediate surroundings, such as the particular street you’re walking on, a restaurant you’re sitting in, or a concert venue you’ve heard about that is just around the corner. You can also talk about the local district or the city as a whole. Simply looking around will give you many ideas. It can be the atmosphere of the place, stories you’ve heard about it or have experienced yourself, the decor, or any other little detail that catches your attention.

You could ask something simple, e.g., “Do you prefer when restaurants have tablecloths or bare tables?” or something a little more elaborate, like, “Do you know any good bars with live music in this city?”

2. Hobbies

Most people love talking about stuff they’re passionate about. And if someone has a hobby, they certainly have a passion for it – that’s what hobbies are, after all.

You can ask the person about something they’re already into or go with something like, “Are there any hobbies you’re thinking of trying?”

3. Food

While not everyone is a big foodie, most people do tend to eat something once in a while. Eating and cooking are relatable topics.

Asking about preferences is always a safe bet. For example, you could ask, “Do you prefer sweet or savory snacks?” Or you could venture a bit deeper and talk about preparing meals at home. You could ask, “What’s your cooking specialty?” or “What do you cook for special occasions?”

4. Weather

Weather is a safe topic, and most people have opinions on the local climate. If the conversation goes well, you can transition to more interesting topics later on.

You could ask them for a personal opinion with something like “Do you think it’s going to rain today?” or “Do you think this weather is going to keep up for much longer?” Or you could go with a more practical question like, “Do you know what the weather will be like today?”

5. Work

Work can be a rich topic for small talk. For example, you can talk about work or career plans, swap funny stories, or compare your work environments.

For example, you could ask, “Is your current job what you expected it to be?” And if you know the other person doesn’t like their job very much, you can let them vent a little by asking something like, “What’s frustrating you most at work right now?”

6. Entertainment

Pretty much everyone likes some form of entertainment, whether it’s movies, shows, books, music, theater, YouTube, or concerts. Entertainment is a great topic to talk about, and it’s a good way to find commonalities.

There are endless questions you can ask when it comes to entertainment, but your best bet is asking about things the other person likes. For example, you could ask, “Do you like [Genre]?”, “Have you read any good books lately?” or “Do you prefer movies that make you think or the ones that let you relax?”

7. News

You probably shouldn’t go too much into controversial or political topics when it comes to talking about the news casually, but talking about safer, rather more positive happenings – either local or around the world – can be a smart idea.

You can either bring up something interesting you’ve heard or ask them about something they’ve heard about. For example, you could ask, “Have you heard any interesting news lately?” or “Do you follow the news?” The news doesn’t necessarily have to be huge and world-defining. It can be something very simple, like a new local restaurant opening.

8. Travel

Travel is a topic that lets you learn more about the person you’re talking to – their lifestyle, the way they like to spend their time, and even their goals in life. Travel is usually associated with vacation time, so it’s a pretty positive thing to talk about.

If you don’t know whether the person has recently been anywhere interesting, you could ask, “Have you traveled anywhere lately?” Alternatively, you can go for something more general, like “What was your favorite trip ever?” or “How do you feel about being away from home when traveling?”

Click here to read our complete guide on how to make small talk.

Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages SocialSelf’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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