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Making friends as an adult can be a challenge, and holding on to old friends as the years pass can be even more difficult as your individual lives evolve. Building and maintaining these relationships are well worth the time and effort, though: Studies suggest that friends are vital for health and happiness as you age and can even lead to a longer life, among other health benefits.
In addition to physical and mental health benefits, having friends to talk and connect with simply makes life a bit more fun. What's a bottle of wine without a good friend to share it with, after all? Whether you've known each other for decades or you're just beginning to get to know each other, here are 33 questions to ask your friends to deepen your relationship.
Ask About Their Relationships
Get to know new friends by learning about their past. Ask about their childhood, their family, and their role models. For friends you've known longer, ask them questions about the relationships you know are important to them today. Ask about their romantic relationships, their kids, and their other friends. Once you've established a bond with someone, showing genuine interest in those who helped shape them into who they are is important to growing closer.
1. Are you close with your family?
2. What was your childhood like?
3. What's your favorite memory from growing up?
4. Who was your role model when you were young?
5. Who was your middle school celebrity crush?
6. What's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for you?
7. How is your partner doing? (If they're single, ask them to spill the beans about any new love interests.)
8. What are you looking for in a partner? (If they're dating or married, ask them what they love about the one they're with.)
9. How is your relationship with your co-workers?
10. What's the funniest thing your kids/younger relatives have done lately?
11. How is your family?
Ask About Their Passions
Whether they have a full-time career they're proud of or are exploring their interests, everyone likes to talk about the things they're passionate about. Ask new friends to share what they love to do and check in with old friends about things you know they're working on. Sometimes, these check-ins can spur exciting life changes (who doesn't love to be encouraged by someone who believes in them?), and other times, they simply signal to your friend that you care. Either way, it's a win-win.
12. Is there a project at work you're excited about right now?
13. What have you been doing with your free-time lately?
14. Have you read any good books recently?
15. If you could quit your job and do anything, what would it be?
16. How would your younger self feel about your career?
17. What do you wish more people knew about you?
18. What are you most looking forward to right now?
19. What would you do if you had entire Saturday free to yourself?
20. Where do you wish you spent more time?
21. What's something you could talk about for hours?
22. Do you consider yourself an expert on anything?
Ask How They Are
Check in with old friends and new friends to find out how they're really doing, beyond the "fine, how are you?" default response. Be sure to pause after you ask, so they know you mean it. It can be hard to admit the truth of your situation when everything's not perfect but knowing there's a friend to be vulnerable with makes a difference.
23. How are you really doing?
24. What makes you happiest these days?
25. If you could change any aspect of your life right now, what would it be?
26. What have you been doing for your mental health lately?
27. When was the last time you did something that was just for you?
28. What are you worried about right now?
29. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
30. What's your biggest regret?
31. If you could pick up and move tomorrow, where would you go?
32. What has been your favorite age so far?
33. What is your favorite thing about who you are?
Pull out any of these questions to ask your friends next time you're together. They'll bring you even closer and you'll learn something new about your BFF.
Friendship Starter Kit:
Blieszner R, Ogletree AM, Adams RG. Friendship in Later Life: A Research Agenda. Innov Aging. 2019;3(1):igz005.doi:10.1093/geroni/igz005