Beyond the Weather: 11 Meaningful Conversation Starters

Updated 01/31/18

Whether you're trying to get to know someone on a first date or you're stuck in the elevator with your upstairs neighbor, breaking the ice is a challenging task. While it can be tempting to turn to the weather to get the conversation going (especially in the dead of winter!), why not take the opportunity to try to get to know someone rather than commiserate about how cold it is outside?

In our search for meaningful ways to avoid mind-numbing small talk about the weather, we asked our Instagram followers to share their go-to conversation starters. And as soon as the DMs started coming in, we knew we had to share their genius (and hilarious) icebreakers here. From asking for travel recommendations to learning about someone's pet peeves, ahead are 11 conversation starters we're stealing for ourselves. 

conversation starter questions
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After the initial "Where are you from? What do you do?" questions, I love asking people what their pet peeves are! Their answers are normally pretty hilarious!

I love to talk about travel. I'll either ask someone, "What's your favorite place you've ever visited?" or "If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?"

What are you binge-watching on Netflix these days?

I usually ask, "What do you do?" but lately, I think I should ask people, "What brings you joy?" instead!

"Seen any great movies lately?" I ask family, friends, co-workers, everyone this question! Works every time.

What was the first concert you went to?

This is a really weird and out-there conversation starter/icebreaker to avoid small talk, but the question "If you were stranded on an island with your pet (a beloved cat/dog/snake/etc.) but there was no food and no hope of rescue in the near future, would you eat your pet to survive?" is my go-to. It's a little dark and you get weird looks, but it never fails to get people talking. Plus, people get really passionate and into hypotheticals, so it's fun to see where the conversation goes.

If you were to walk into this place with one song playing, what would it be?

I find a way to bring up traveling and then ask about their favorite destination. It always brings up great memories for them, and I can add a few places to my bucket list.

What was your favorite song as a kid?

So, have you accepted Greta Gerwig as your lord and savior yet?

Editor's note: Some quotes have been edited slightly for readability.

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