280 Interesting Things to Talk About (For Every Situation)

Scientifically reviewed by Viktor Sander B.Sc., B.A.

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Here’s a list of 280 great topics with interesting things to talk about, broken down into categories. Use these for inspiration for an interesting discussion with both your friends and new people you want to get to know. Of course, the topics are not exclusive to their category and can be used in many other different situations.

Sections

The top 10 interesting things to talk about

1. Dreams and aspirations

Some things to talk about are: how seriously do you treat your dreams, the current dreams you have, dreams you had as a kid and how your view on them changed over the years.

“I’d love to move to the USA one day…”

“Do you use your dreams as kind of a compass?”

2. Phases of life

Not necessarily limited to stages of life such as baby, infant, toddler, child, etc. A new phase in life can also mean deciding to quit drinking, death of a loved one, or getting a job position that you’ve always wanted.

“Do you ever break up your life into phases? What are they divided by?”

“…at this point in my life, I’m all about chilling…”

3. Life after death

Can be either a deep or a surface-level topic, depending on how much you want to go into it. Talking about it can help you discover more about your conversation partner’s outlook on life.

“If there’s life after death, then what’s the point in dying?”

“Which is more appealing to you: reincarnation or heaven?”

4. Hobbies and passions

Discovering each other’s passions and hobbies is a great conversation topic. You learn more about the other person and find areas of commonality. We, humans, love talking about things we are passionate about.

You don’t necessarily have to talk about current passions or hobbies either – reminiscing about passions from the past works too and paints a picture of the person you are.

“What do you like doing when you don’t work?”

“Did you have any hobbies when you were a kid?”

“Is [job] your passion or what do you like doing the most?”

5. Authenticity

Talking about authenticity could mean discussing living by your own principles and beliefs, or “feeling like a fraud”, the imposter syndrome.

“Do you ever pretend to be someone you’re not to avoid judgment?”

“Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? When you feel like you don’t deserve getting this far, and you don’t really have any special knowledge or skills, and you’re about to be outed as a fraud in some way?”

6. Personal heroes

A personal hero doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. It’s an embodiment of the positive qualities that you most strive for. Talking about such people is akin to sharing your dreams and aspirations, although with a different twist.

“My dad is my biggest personal hero. He personifies most everything I want to be as a human being.”

7. New inventions

Some of the most exciting things are new inventions, especially the ones that have the potential of changing our lives in major ways. You could talk about your favorite recent inventions, things you didn’t know you wanted but couldn’t live for once you got them, or what kind of stuff you just can’t wait for that is still in the realm of dreams or sci-fi.

“Virtual Reality goggles that actually work is probably the best gaming invention of the last few decades…”

8. Creativity

You could talk about the importance of creativity, ways to nourish and encourage it, what gets you feeling creative or how you use it in your life.

“Nothing makes me more creative than boredom. Cutting out all the unnecessary noise and distractions.”

9. Habits

People often don’t think about their habits, rituals, and routines at all because those are so ingrained into our personalities. But when you discover those little things that you happen to do similarly, it can bring you together, because they make you feel alike in some way.

For example, are you into fitness? Do you read every night before going to bed?

Do you talk to your plants? Do you whisper Wed-nes-day to help you spell it?

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself every once in a while. I make sure to share a little bit about my habits because it shows who I am and helps find interesting commonalities.

It doesn’t have to be anything weird or amazing. For example…

I take a morning walk in my nearby park every morning to see some nature and say hi to the squirrels.

I try to eat a big bowl of veggies each day. (A friend named it a “Rainbowl” because of all the different colors.)

I have to watch something on Youtube as soon as my morning alarm goes off to not fall asleep again.

Did you notice how I suddenly became a bit more interesting; a real person instead of an anonymous writer on the internet? Habits are interesting.

Read more: How to be a more interesting person to talk to.

10. Sense of humor

You could talk about the things that you find funny in everyday life or human behavior, what should be off-limits as far as joking goes, tell funny stories about your past or discuss your favorite comedies and comics. Having a sense of humor can also mean being able to laugh at a bad situation or even yourself.

“Is it okay to joke about tragic events?”

Universal topics to talk about

What’s around you

Talking about your immediate surroundings can be done both when you’re talking to someone you’re acquainted with, as well as with a perfect stranger. We are, after all, in the same space.

Look around you. Can you see anything that would be interesting to talk about?

If I look around the room I sit in right now, I come up with several topics:

“I like those plants over there. Are you interested in plants?”

“That’s a lot of management books. Do you like to read?”

“Nice to have a wall-mounted AC unit instead of a window unit. What’s that like at your place?”

Where someone’s from

I LOVE starting a conversation by asking people what city or area of town they are originally from. It’s a great question to ask because it can lead the conversation to so many different places.

Some great follow up questions are:

What’s the biggest difference between that place and here?

What brought about the move?

What do you like most about [place]?

Learning about another person’s home can become an extremely personal experience. It’s a great way to get to know someone.

Read more here: Interesting small talk topics and conversation starters.

Hobbies and passions

Discovering each other’s passions and hobbies is a great conversation topic. You learn more about the other person and find areas of commonality. We, humans, love talking about things we are passionate about.

You don’t necessarily have to talk about current passions or hobbies either – reminiscing about passions from the past works too and paints a picture of the person you are.

“What do you like doing when you don’t work?”

“Did you have any hobbies when you were a kid?”

“Is [job] your passion or what do you like doing the most?”

Food preferences

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to discuss your preferences or the strangest/best things you’ve eaten. Everyone eats. Food is one of those things that has the power to connect even seemingly very different people.

Personally, I talk about food preferences whenever food is on the topic or when you’re at dinner so it’s natural to talk about it.

“That Salmon looks nice! Do you like fish?”

“Have you ever tried fermented cabbage? It has a very distinct taste but it’s supposed to be healthy”

“Do you like pizza or burgers the most?

Commonalities

Talking about things you have in common rather than differences is a good way to bond. Once you find something you have in common, those topics can be revisited throughout the conversation.

Feel out the conversation and follow your gut instincts. If it sounds like their opinions align with your beliefs, don’t be afraid to expand on that and use that as a common ground to build your conversation (and friendship) on.

Read more here on how to get better at finding commonalities in a conversation.

Popular events

Ask people about what music, culture, or arts festivals they like. Ask if they’ve seen The Oscars, ask them about upcoming shows, workshops, or lectures that they have enjoyed recently.

Talking about popular events can also create a reason to meet up again if you decide to go to an event together.

Vacations

Vacations are GREAT to talk about because we can both ask where people have been and where they WANT to go.

Here’s the trick I use to get into the topic in a natural way.

“So how are things at work, will you be having any vacation soon?”

You can use that question basically at any time during small talk. They’ll respond either “No, I won’t have a vacation in a while” or “Yeah, I’m going to this and that place soon”.

You can now talk about vacations:

“Where are you going?”

“What do you like the most about that place?”

“Have you been there before?”

And in between those questions, you can share your own vacation experiences.

Plans

This can be about plans for the weekend, or even workplace adjustments and personal development. This can also apply to future dreams.

Dig deeper by asking questions like:

“What do you want out of life?”

“Do you have a 5-year plan?”

You can also keep it casual and ask these questions:

“What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?”

“Do you have anything coming up you’re excited about?

Read more: 210 questions to ask friends and our list of good small talk questions.

Areas of mastery

Get to know what people are good at and talk about that. If you, say, talk about abilities or how someone’s good at something, it’ll feel natural to ask something like:

“Do you have something you’re really good at that people don’t know about?”

You can then delve into their skills and share what you’re good at. This doesn’t have to be a professional discussion, although it can be. It can even be something completely impractical like being able to speak backward or walk on your hands, as long as it makes for an interesting conversation.

You can also talk about what someone WANTS to be good at. What is this person interested in learning? What are YOU interested in learning?

Childhood memories

This can go in many different directions – the first memory, the happiest days, unexpected gifts, or life lessons learned. Bringing up childhood memories can be a great way to bond with another person, and also laugh. A lot.

However, be aware that not everyone is willing to talk about their childhood – especially if it was somewhat rough. If the person seems evasive or gives shorter responses than usual, it’s a sign to move on to a different topic.

Some ways you can dip your toes into this topic without being super invasive are:

“What was life like growing up?”

“What did you do for fun as a child?”

“Did you have any pets growing up?’

News

When all else fails, you can bring up cool things you’ve heard about, or even news from your own life. Take care to try and avoid news on topics that the other person you know isn’t interested in.

Easy topics

The topics in this section are suitable to bring up with new acquaintances since they are more easy-going than the topics in the later sections.

Leisure time

An all-encompassing topic: talking about the way you like to spend your free time can mean hobbies, side projects, entertainment, or even a good walk you’ve taken yesterday that really charged you up.

Television

You could discuss what’s been on TV in the past, or is coming up in the future. You could also talk about what goes into making TV shows or some fun TV-related trivia.

Current work

Things you like or dislike about your current job, how it works with your lifestyle, and what led you to that position. If you’re not happy with your current job, try to avoid complaining too much, as that can easily put people off, especially if they don’t know you well.

Dream job

The perfect place of employment. How is it different from your current situation, what line of work is it, how many hours per week do you see yourself working there?

Local news

Anything interesting that might be happening on a local level is fair game here, be it the entire city, or as local as, say, your university or neighborhood. Talking about happenings that are close by can often be more exciting compared to world news because it feels more immediate and impactful.

I usually ask “Did you hear about [insert event]?” And then I let the conversation linger about that event or other related events.

Weather

While the weather can sound like a boring topic, it’s powerful to fall back on since it’s so universal. Rather than simply talking about the weather, you can make the conversation more engaging by asking what type of weather they like.

“Is it usually this hot in January?”

“What time of the year do you like the most?

Hiking

You could talk about your favorite destinations or even the feelings that you experience while hiking.

“I took a path I’ve never taken before and discovered…”

“I once hiked to a place where I’ve spent a lot of time as a child, but hadn’t visited in many years. The rush of emotions was quite overwhelming. Have you ever had anything like that happen?”

Coffee

Many coffee appreciators would love to talk about their favorite cafe, different coffee drinks, or roast preferences.

“Do you know the [insert name] cafe? They have the best coffee to-go, and the atmosphere is just amazing.”

Restaurants

Similar to the topic above, but with a much wider appeal.

“Do you go out to eat often?”

“What’s your go-to place when you’re ordering takeout?”

“How do you feel about fancy restaurants?”

Ice cream

Buying it in the store, in an ice cream shop, or even making your own. You could talk about your favorite flavors, condiments, and more.

“Have you ever tried homemade ice cream?”

“Do you ever get brain freeze from eating too much ice cream, and then eat more ice cream?”

“What’s the most ice cream you’ve eaten in a day?”

“Do you know any good ice cream spots in this city?”

Fun topics

These topics are suitable in an easy-going environment such as at a party or bar.

Driving music

Favorite songs or genres of music to listen to while driving.

“Do you ever listen to the radio while behind the wheel, or you need to have your own particular playlist?”

“Do you like listening to podcasts while driving?”

Lottery

Though a form of gambling, the lottery is usually seen as something more innocent than casinos or slot machines.

“Have you ever bought a lottery ticket with absolutely no hopes of winning?”

“How do you think your life would change if you won big?”

Beach

Beach life: swimming, surfing, suntanning, playing volleyball, and building sandcastles.

“Do you use sunscreen at the beach?”

“Would you go to the beach for a swim immediately after watching Jaws?”

“How long do you usually tan for?”

Halloween

Trick or treating, costume ideas, stories, and plans.

“What’s the craziest Halloween costume you’ve ever seen?”

“Is Rob Zombie the best Halloween party music, or what?”

“Do you like Halloween-themed parties?”

Adventure

You could recall your past adventures, dream about the future ones, or even talk about what adventure means to you.

“Does adventure play an important role in your life?”

Shower songs

Some people love to sing while taking a shower and talking about your favorite shower songs can be an unexpected yet fun topic.

“Does it bother you when your family members sing in the shower?”

Aliens

Theorizing about aliens, their potential relationship with humans, sharing UFO stories, or even talking about your favorite alien movies.

“Do you want aliens to be real?”

“Do you think aliens would be as curious as humans are?”

“What sci-fi alien design is the most likely one to be the closest one to real aliens?”

Clubbing

Nightclubs, festivals, raves, favorite DJs, dancing, genres of music, and everything else that goes with it.

A really cool DJ is coming to town, do you wanna go check it out on the weekend?”

Spooky stories

Telling a good spooky story by the campfire or during a sleepover is always a good time unless someone you’re with is overly sensitive.

“So then, one dreary night… I woke up to use the bathroom… walking among the creaks and breaths of the dilapidated moonlit hallway… … …”

“Have you ever had a supernatural experience?”

Costume parties

Costume parties can be Halloween parties, events tied to a movie or a book release, or even no-reason-at-all get-togethers with friends.

“I’m thinking of hosting a costume party next month, would you want to come?”

“Have you ever been to a costume party?”

“What’s the weirdest costume idea you’d actually go for?”

Daydreaming

It can be fun to talk about the times you’ve daydreamed at inappropriate moments, as daydreaming can also be kind of a whimsical experience. It might also bring you closer to the person you’re talking to, as daydreaming is a rather private matter, so best avoid talking about it unless you think the person you’re talking to would be comfortable with it.

“Do you ever daydream on purpose?”

“What do you usually think about when your mind wanders off the work you’re doing?”

Pet peeves

Discussing little things that annoy us can be fun, as long as you don’t come across as someone who’s complaining too much.

“It drives me nuts when people leave the bathroom light on, and I don’t even know why…”

Funny topics

These topics are also suitable for an easy-going environment, but are more for laughs and might be inappropriate around people you don’t know.

Bad jokes

When the awfulness of the joke is what makes you laugh. Keep in mind that bad humor is an art form that not everyone can appreciate.

“Are you superstitious? No? Then lend me 13$…”

Offensive jokes

Jokes that are meant to shock, cause discomfort and test the limits. If you don’t have experience with this type of humor, extreme caution and use only in appropriate situations is advised, unless you want to be quickly labeled as a weirdo.

Memes

Sharing a meme can be a quick way to brighten up the mood.

“What’s the most underrated meme?”

“Any good new memes lately?”

Wordplay

Alliterations, idioms, and puns are some of the things you can use for wordplay. Incorporating some wordplay into your small talk or conversations with friends can be not only funny but also a great exercise for the mind.

“Do you know any good writers that use a lot of wordplay?”

April Fools’

April Fools’ Day is all about pulling unexpected jokes and pranks on people you love. Reminiscing on some of those occurrences can be a way to find a laugh and even if it’s not April Fool’s Day right now or any time soon.

“Do you like being pranked on April Fools’ Day?”

“What’s the most preposterous thing you’ve ever believed (or had someone else believe) on April Fools’?”

Bad date stories

Sharing weird dating stories can be hilarious, given that you’re comfortable talking about it. Though if you’re gonna tell an embarrassing story about someone else, avoid trash-talking specific people – either make sure they remain anonymous or don’t tell the story at all.

“… and after my pants fell down, I was so shocked that I accidentally spilled coffee all over myself… the waiters weren’t happy…”

Embarrassing stories

As with dating stories, if you’re telling a story that might embarrass someone other than you, you should either make sure the person will remain anonymous or just keep it to yourself.

“Do you have that one great party story that is at the same time too awesome to not tell and too embarrassing to tell, so you’re kinda torn on whether you should share it?”

Party stories

Be it a wild party full of craziness and booze, or a chill board game night, funny things happen at parties. Remembering those things can be just as funny as when they happened.

“…and then Jim lit his cigar, nodded to us, and slalomed down into the lake in his plastic bathtub…”

Pet stories

If you’re gonna be swapping funny stories about your pets, you should probably do it with a person that likes animals.

“Does your cat ever do something really funny that you wish you had a camera ready to film it?”

Useless skills

Sharing impractical, quirky skills can be a fun way to bring something unexpected into the conversation.

“A guy I knew in school could dislocate his arm without really moving anything so that it looked like his shoulder had a crater in it… everyone was impressed for some reason…”

Happy topics

These are feel-good topics suitable for calmer, quieter environments rather than parties. Good settings are dinners with friends, or on a walk with someone you’d like to know better.

Personal heroes

A personal hero doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. It’s an embodiment of the positive qualities that you most strive for. Talking about such people is akin to sharing your dreams and aspirations, although with a different twist.

“My dad is my biggest personal hero. He personifies most everything I want to be as a human being.”

Good deeds

Sharing and appreciating something that someone has done for you (or even for someone else) can be heartwarming and inspiring.

“…she hopped off her bike and went out of her way to move the tree that fell onto the tram rails…”

Nature

Being in nature feels great, healthy and can be a source of many stories. You could talk about your favorite parks, beaches, forests or other places mostly untouched by the human hand.

“Have you ever felt as if a place was literally alive as if it was some kind of an entity?”

Happiness

You could talk about what happiness means to you, how you go about achieving it, and share your happiest moments. It might be a good idea to avoid this particular topic around someone who’s suffering from depression.

“Do you think happiness is a reasonable life goal?”

“Nothing makes me happier than a good nap… what about you?”

Favorite smells

Anything from smells of food and scented candles to forests, oceans, and mountains.

“Man, I love lighting up some incense and sitting down with a cup of coffee to take a foot bath and watch some youtube…”

Kindness

You could talk about the way you define kindness and what it means to you, or take your time to appreciate a person that you consider to be kind.

“Who’s the most generous person you know?”

Romance

Romantic relationships are a source of much happiness in our lives, and sharing some of those feelings with our friends can be a positive experience.

“…and then we kissed for the first time… I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life…”

“Isn’t romance kinda like a drug?”

Peace

This can be peace between two siblings who always fight, the absence of war, the idea of world peace, or even inner peace.

“Where’s the most peaceful place on earth?”

Optimism

A positive outlook towards the future. Looking at the bright side of things makes people more likable and easier to be around. It might be a good idea to avoid being overly optimistic around someone who’s depressed, though.

“How can I become more optimistic about life?”

Belonging

Feeling like you are a part of a place, a situation or a group of people.

“I’ve felt a true sense of belonging only once in my life, and it was beautiful…”

“Is it important for you to fit in?”

Sense of purpose

The feeling that propels you towards achieving your goals, towards a better future. Talking about it is a great way to share something positive.

“I wouldn’t go as far as saying I found my meaning of life, but I’ve been so driven lately I feel like I could move mountains. Not only I could, but I also feel like I have a reason to.”

Nostalgia

A reminiscence about the “good old days”, be it something from one’s early childhood, school days, or a particular decade. Though it can be a little sad, nostalgic feelings are usually mostly happy.

“Have you ever felt nostalgic for something you’ve never experienced?”

With friends

School

For most people, going to school is a formative experience, colored brightly by character-building moments. In America particularly there is also the topic of sports at the schools we went to. College football is huge. In New York, there are entire bars dedicated to random college teams from various states.

Our school days often remind us of simpler times, and we usually have a lot of stories to tell.

Try out these questions:

  • “What did you go to detention for?”
  • “What class in school was your favorite subject?”
  • “Who was your best friend at school?”

Learning new skills

Talking about new things you’re trying out or planning to do is a great way to feel like you and your friends are progressing through life together.

“Decided to set myself a daily goal of spending 30 minutes learning Japanese…”

“How’s that course coming along?”

Monthly expenses

Similar to the topic above, talking about your expenses can bring about some positive revelations, and sharing your thoughts with your friends can also give you some additional accountability.

“I’ve been counting my expenses lately, and it turns out I’ve been spending around 100$ per month on coffee to go. Now I want to set a hard monthly limit on certain spending categories.”

Podcasts

Themed podcasts are a great side-topic to common interests. You could also discuss something generally interesting that you’ve heard on a podcast, or ask for recommendations on what podcast to listen to.

“What activity do you usually combine with listening to podcasts?”

Perfectionism

On one side, there’s striving for improvement and on the other is not being able to accept anything less than perfect. You could discuss the situations in which perfectionism is beneficial, and in which situations it can be a hindrance, your past experiences, and ways to deal with it.

“Did you ever have to deal with paralyzing perfectionism, when you’d rather not do something at all if you’re not sure you can do it perfectly?”

Tourism

Some things to talk about are: how you feel about tourism in general, your own preferences, or even the impact that tourism has on your city.

“Do you prefer going to the most popular touristy places, or “traveling like a local”, looking for more obscure spots in a city?”

“Do tourists ever annoy you?”

Army

The army is a major chapter of many people’s lives. For some, it’s the most character-defining one of them all. If both people in the conversation experienced the army, it’s a way to bond over something common. But even if only one person was in the army and the other one is simply curious, it’s a great topic to explore.

“Was the army a good experience for you?”

“I’m kinda glad I never got drafted, but sometimes I can’t help wondering – how would life turn out if I went, you know?”

Trends

Whatever is “in” at the time, whether you get it or not. Discussing new things can broaden our horizons, change our perspective, or even just be fun. If you don’t “get” a new trend, try to avoid bashing it.

“I don’t understand the point of half the new social media platforms…”

Cards

Two main topics to talk about would be card tricks and card games. Some things to talk about could be the different types of games and how they differ from each other, the famous card players or magicians, card game scenes in cinema, or even talking about what makes a person get into doing card tricks. Poker is a pretty big theme, with a lot of potential subtopics.

“What’s the most action-packed card game you know?”

Fame

The idea of fame – is it appealing at all, how would it be beneficial to be famous, and what would be the downsides? Is it really worth it?

“Have you ever felt any amount of fame, even if local or minor?”

Proudest moments

It’s okay to talk about something you’re proud of but try to avoid coming off as a braggart.

“What’s your biggest source of pride in life?”

Favorite apps

Sharing the cool new app you’ve found is not only a topic of discussion but can also be helpful to the other person, be it a productivity app, some kind of local events list or a better offline map solution.

“I started using a special timer app for my morning stretches to make sure I don’t slack off and actually go the full length…”

“What language learning app would you recommend?”

Dreams

Sharing the dreams you had last night may feel pointless unless the dream was funny or was of strong emotional significance.

“As a kid, I had a dream that progressed a little bit further each night, ending on kind of a literal cliffhanger… there were about six of them, and the reveal in the last one really shocked me…”

“Did you have any weird dreams lately?”

Life topics

Phases of life

Not necessarily limited to stages of life such as baby, infant, toddler, child, etc. A new phase in life can also mean deciding to quit drinking, death of a loved one, or getting a job position that you’ve always wanted.

“Do you ever break up your life into phases? What are they divided by?”

“…at this point in my life, I’m all about chilling…”

Change

Change is often difficult to accept, and people deal with it in different ways. You could talk about the shifts of your perception of the world, the change in your sleeping habits or even more obvious things, like break-ups and deaths in the family, and how all those things affect you.

“Do you welcome change?”

“Do you have any tips on how to cope with big changes in life?”

Problems

Talking about one’s problems can be a great way to get something off your chest. While it is okay to admit that you’re having a hard time, as with other “negative” topics, try to not come across as someone who’s just complaining all the time without actually trying to change anything.

“I feel like my biggest problem is lack of awareness… I don’t even seem to notice how I feel half the time…”

“I still didn’t pay back my credit card bill. I think I might only use debit cards from now on.”

Influences

We’re constantly influenced by everything around us, to differing degrees. The people around us, the weather, the news on TV, the quality of the air outside our windows and so on. An influence could also be a particular event from our past that left a great impression on us.

“What influenced you to get into writing music?”

“In your youth, did you ever hang around the kids who were “a bad influence” on you, according to your parents?”

Parenthood

A very rich topic, even if you’re not a parent yet.

“Thinking back to your youth, can you imagine how it would be, being your own parent?”

“Do you think you’d make a good dad?”

Minimalist living

Some of the things to talk about concerning minimalist living could be: not getting attached to your physical possessions, the idea that less is more, and the phenomenon of tiny-house movement.

“Is there anything that you currently own that you wouldn’t miss after selling?”

Stress

Dealing with stress: the ways that work, and the ones that aren’t that great. How to find a perfect balance between too much and too little.

“Does meditation really help with stress?”

Motivation

Motivation is a great positive topic to talk about. It can be inspiring and motivational in itself to talk about what motivates other people.

“What helps you to set goals and stay on target?”

Habits

People often don’t think about their habits, rituals, and routines at all because those are so ingrained into our personalities. But when you discover those little things that you happen to do similarly, it can bring you together, because they make you feel alike in some way.

For example, are you into fitness? Do you read every night before going to bed?

Do you talk to your plants? Do you whisper Wed-nes-day to help you spell it?

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself every once in a while. I make sure to share a little bit about my habits because it shows who I am and helps find interesting commonalities.

It doesn’t have to be anything weird or amazing. For example…

  • I take a morning walk in my nearby park every morning to see some nature and say hi to the squirrels.
  • I try to eat a big bowl of veggies each day. (A friend named it a “Rainbowl” because of all the different colors.)
  • I have to watch something on Youtube as soon as my morning alarm goes off to not fall asleep again.

Did you notice how I suddenly became a bit more interesting; a real person instead of an anonymous writer on the internet? Habits are interesting.

Read more: How to be a more interesting person to talk to.

Work-Life balance

With this topic, you could discuss what constitutes a healthy balance, some ways to switch off the working mode when the time for work is over. This is a topic that is particularly important to working moms, workaholics, and those that work at home.

“I constantly keep thinking about my job…”

“If you had a perfect family and a perfect job, which would you prioritize?”

Luck

Good or bad luck, sharing your experiences can be pretty fun, and admitting that you’re actually quite a lucky person can be a way to increase your appreciation for what you have.

“If someone constantly has awful things happen to them but they make it out okay, are they lucky?”

Sleep

You could talk about whatever affects your sleeping schedule, whether you get enough sleep or you’d like a little bit more, the effects of sleep deprivation, and tips on how to keep your eyes shut tight every night. You could also simply talk about how good it feels to lie down in a soft bed after a particularly exhausting day.

“…I think I might have to give up on caffeine… I still love it, but sleeping well is more important…”

Financial stability

This topic includes things like paying the bills on time, having a steady job, self-employment, risky business decisions, investments, savings, and many others.

“Could you handle living paycheck to paycheck and in debt on top of that?”

“Have you ever felt like your financial situation might collapse at any moment, but still thought – hey, come what may?”

Aging

A topic that’s relevant for everyone, no matter what number you’re currently at.

“Did you ever get that moment when you notice something about your body not working quite as it used to, and you’re like – well, I guess that’s how it is FROM NOW ON..?”

“How long do you want to live for?”

Retirement

Depending on how much you like to plan ahead and what stage of life you’re at, this could be a way to fantasize or actually share solid plans.

“Would you still work after you retire?”

“Do you think it’s okay to have absolutely no plan for retirement?”

School topics

Studying

A universal school topic. You could talk about the teachers, the homework, ways to study more efficiently or your favorite subjects.

“You seem to be really good at retaining information. How do you do it?”

Homelife

As with studying, this topic is universal, as everyone has a life away from school. Though, if the other person doesn’t seem to be too eager about opening up, don’t pry.

“We share a house with my uncle, and he’s really into making furniture, so… yeah, that’s why I’ve got sawdust in my clothes…”

Parents

The relationship with the parents is something you should only bring up if you’re somewhat close to the other person.

“Is your dad cool?”

Foods you never tried

You could talk about things that seem appealing or off-putting, local delicacies you’ve heard about that are not available where you live or things that are a bit out of your budget. And most of us have a few foods that we have done our best to avoid on purpose, for whatever reason.

“I avoided mushrooms, olives and sour cream for so many years, only to be shocked at all of those things being quite good once I actually tried them…”

Hidden talents

Many people have talents they either don’t value or simply don’t advertise to the world. Talking about them can steer the conversation in a positive direction.

“Is there something that comes kinda effortlessly to you?”

Virtual reality

Some things to talk about could be the past and the potential future of VR, funny VR chat stories, your favorite games, or local city spots where you can play them.

“Does VR make you sick?”

Superheroes

For most people, it’s a take it or leave it topic. Starting a conversation about it with those who are into the topic, though, could potentially lead to a rather long conversation.

“Why are those superhero stories so popular these days? Do you think it’s gonna die down soon?””

“Have you ever wanted to be a vigilante?”

Favorite websites

You don’t necessarily have to talk about the obvious stuff like Youtube or Reddit. A more interesting discussion would be about niche or not very well-known sites that you like.

“I recently found a treasure trove of a forum! It’s not very well known but it’s populated mostly by professionals in their field who really know their stuff. I think it’s been online since the late 90s…”

Outdoor activities

You could talk about things that you like to do after school or cool things you’ve done on the summer vacation when your family took a trip to a new place you’ve never visited before.

“I’m thinking of playing some volleyball after school, you’re welcome to join.”

Cheating in video games

Using cheats in single- and multi-player games. Why do developers put cheats in the games, when is it fun and when is it not.

“Doesn’t cheating in online games take the fun out of it for both parties involved?”

Cool topics

Free thinking

Questioning authority, using your own logical reasoning to make decisions.

“Have you ever had to prove to your teacher that they’re wrong and you’re right?”

Driving

Owning a car and everything that goes with it: favorite destinations to just drive around, the pros and cons of owning and renting, pet peeves, and favorite brands or kinds of cars just to name a few.

“I know it’s not economical for one person, but I prefer driving super heavy cars, they handle so much nicer…”

“What do you think about electric cars and Tesla in particular?”

Jazz

You don’t have to be a musician to be able to talk about Jazz. You could talk about the culture around it, your favorite songs and artists, the clubs, the showmanship, or imagine how life on the road would be.

“Jazz is not my favorite genre, but it’s one of the liveliest ones because of the improvisational aspect.”

“There’s kind of an aura of cool around jazz musicians, isn’t there?”

Sense of humor

You could talk about the things that you find funny in everyday life or human behavior, what should be off-limits as far as joking goes, tell funny stories about your past or discuss your favorite comedies and comics. Having a sense of humor can also mean being able to laugh at a bad situation or even yourself.

“Is it okay to joke about tragic events?”

Instagram

What you like about Instagram and what do you get out of using it, the presentation vs reality, favorite things to post or follow.

“Do you ever interact on Instagram, or you just browse stuff you like?”

Youtubers

Being a YouTuber has become the new cool profession in recent years. You could talk about your favorite channels, what kind of YouTuber you can imagine yourself being if you had made it big and meeting your favorite YouTubers in real life or interacting with them online.

“Have you ever seen a YouTuber grow up together with his audience?”

Skateboarding

Skate culture, movies and music, famous skaters, impressive or terrible skating videos, cruising, skateboard as a way to get around, electric boards, favorite skate parks or hangouts, and tricks.

“Do you think vert or street skating is more impressive?”

Rebellion

Going against the established social norms, in any part of life.

“Have you ever had a problem with authority?”

“Are there any generally accepted rules in the society that you strongly disagree with?”

Sunglasses

Technically a form of protection, sunglasses are often more of a cool accessory than a practical item.

“Are aviators ever going to become uncool?”

“Have you ever worn sunglasses at night?”

Street art

Murals, graffiti, balance sculptures, and more. You could talk about your favorite styles, artists and pieces, or discuss the ethical and legal aspects of street art.

“Is defacing public property ever OK if the end result is really really beautiful?”

Sneakers

You could talk about new or rare and old-school models, what they go with and how to wear them.

“What’s the weirdest pair you ever found second-hand?”

Exciting topics

Falling in love

One of the most exciting things in life is that period when you’re just starting to fall in love. A good, supportive friend will share some of that excitement with you, regardless of their relationship situation. You could also talk about some of the times you’ve fallen in love in the past – how it felt then, how the memory of it feels now, or the idea in general.

“Have you ever done something stupid because you fell in love?”

“He called me up at night again, and I didn’t even mind losing some sleep over it. I can’t wait to hear his voice, dude!”

Dreams and aspirations

Some things to talk about are: how seriously do you treat your dreams, the current dreams you have, dreams you had as a kid, and how your view on them changed over the years.

“I’d love to move to the USA one day…”

“Do you use your dreams as kind of a compass?”

New inventions

Some of the most exciting things are new inventions, especially the ones that have the potential of changing our lives in major ways. You could talk about your favorite recent inventions, things you didn’t know you wanted but couldn’t live for once you got them, or what kind of stuff you just can’t wait for that is still in the realm of dreams or sci-fi.

“Virtual Reality goggles that actually work is probably the best gaming invention of the last few decades…”

Music festivals

You could talk about your favorite type of festival, what you like about going the most, share stories from the festivals you’ve been to or make plans to visit new ones.

“Isn’t it weird how on metal festivals most people are drunk beyond belief, the music is insane, but everyone acts in the nicest way possible?”

Independence

This can mean independence from many things: being free from work obligations, not depending on the opinions of others, or even choosing not to have a home to pay rent for.

“Do you think it’s important to be able to depend on others?”

Skydiving

Even if you’ve never done it, just the thought of jumping out of a plane and freefalling is pretty exciting to most people, even if a bit scary.

“How often would you jump if money was no object?”

Cave exploration

Dark, at times tight spaces that are often very dangerous.

“Have you ever been in an underwater cave?”

Public speaking

Presenting something before a crowd can be either nerve-racking or exciting, depending on your outlook. You could talk about your past public appearances – how they went, what you’ve learned from them, and what you’d do differently.

“I’m gonna be talking to a couple hundred people next month. Do you have any tips on keeping calm during my talk?”

Motorcycles

Even if you never had a motorcycle, riding on one as a passenger is still pretty exciting, especially if you go fast and have some loud music blaring in your ears. You could talk about different aspects of the biker culture, such as motorcycle clubs, gangs, bars and music, or the vehicles themselves, their maintenance and modification.

“Aren’t you afraid of falling off that thing?”

“How do you pick a cheap but decent off-road bike?”

Crazy topics

Freighthopping

Illegal in some countries and dangerous in all of them, freighthopping is a form of transportation that involves literally hopping onto a moving freight train.

“Have you ever seen videos of people doing freighthopping?”

Urban exploration

Dangerous and potentially illegal, urbex is a hobby that consists of exploring manmade structures, often abandoned or partially collapsing. Urban climbing – climbing on buildings or other artificial structures such as huge antenna dishes – can also be a part of urban exploration.

“This unfinished building stood there for a couple of decades, and whenever I walk by it I wonder how it looks on the inside…”

Body modification

You could talk about the most and least aesthetically pleasing types of body modification, prejudice that people with extreme body modifications face, what seems appealing about it to you, pros and cons, or swap recommendations about your favorite shops or artists.

“Piercings are pretty cool, but it’s like adding extra vulnerability to your body… I’d love to get piercings but then getting into a fight would feel extra dangerous, I’d constantly think about getting hit there…”

Hitchhiking

Another form of transportation. While legal in more places than freighthopping, it still can be dangerous since you never know what kind of person will pick you up, or if you will be picked up at all. You could talk about your hitchhiking stories, ask people for advice or just generally talk about the idea itself.

“Isn’t hitchhiking romantic?”

Extreme music shows

Musical acts that play in genres such as extreme metal often have very intense, potentially dangerous concerts.

“What’s the most time you’ve ever continuously spent in a mosh pit?”

“I’ve seen a video on youtube of a dude crowd surfing in a wheelchair…”

The multiverse

Not crazy in the sense that other topics on the list are, but rather in a “how do you wrap your head around that” kind of way.

“Are there more universes? What is pointing for and against?”

Japanese commercials

Also a slightly different type of “crazy” from the other topics in this category. The Japanese TV ads are notorious for their weirdness.

“What big-name actor would you use if you had to make an insane over-the-top Japanese-style TV advertisement?”

Swimming with sharks

Cage diving, snorkeling, and hypothetical scenarios or actual experiences.

“What’s the appeal of swimming with sharks?”

“How much would you need to get paid to go swimming in a pool with a great white shark for five minutes?”

Cute topics

Animals

There are many things that our pets and wild animals do which are very cute. And some of them don’t even have to try, they’re just cute on sight. You could talk about your cute pet stories or share some pictures and videos.

“When my dog realizes that I’m going downstairs it can mean one of two things: feeding time or walking time. It invariably gets very excited and slips while following me down the steps. I can’t help but laugh every time.”

“Which animal would look the cutest when dressed as a human?”

Babies

Similarly to animals, babies are full of cuteness. You could tell stories or share cute photos or videos.

Caught in the act

It can be the cutest thing to catch someone doing something while they think they are alone.

“I once caught my girlfriend dancing in the kitchen with her eyes closed and a cookie in her hand.”

Sock prints

Silly prints on socks, featuring images of food, characters, or even famous paintings.

“Is wearing mismatched socks ever even slightly OK?”

Toys

Plushies, Tamagotchi, action or inaction figures.

“Have you ever slept with a plushie?”

Mascots

Product or brand mascots, Japanese mascots, sports team mascots, or even software mascots.

“Have you seen Chiitan on John Oliver’s show?”

Things that look like other things

Pareidolia is a phenomenon that can make you see patterns “in a random stimulus”, often leading to seeing human features in inanimate objects. Try letting your friends know the next time it happens.

“My pancake kinda looks like it has a face that is sadly looking up at me…”

Miniatures

Small versions of big things are very cute. Miniature model kits, figures and dollhouses.

“Imagine building a miniature of your own house… and inside that, an even smaller miniature of your own house…”

Kawaii

Kawaii is a Japanese subculture that means “cute”.

“What’s your favorite kawaii item?”

Relationship topics

Balance in relationships

Striking up a good balance is important in different aspects of the relationship: how much time you spend together, sharing responsibilities, and finding compromise where it’s necessary.

“Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt like you’re giving it your all, but you’re the only one doing it?”

Respect

Respecting the fact that your significant other is more than just that role, being mindful of the way you speak to them, being reliable when they need you, trusting them, and respecting their opinions.

“Is there anything worse than being with someone who doesn’t respect you?”

Needs

If one or both people in a relationship are not getting what they need from it, it’s sure to create problems. Talking about your needs is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy relationship.

“Do I ever come across as needy?”

“Is there anything you’d want from me that you’re not getting?”

Budgeting and money

Whether you’re married or not, this can mean figuring out who pays for the rent, discussing ways to cut back on certain spendings, planning vacations, and discussing whether everyone is happy with the current state of things. Or, even something as simple as figuring out whether you want to split the bill at the restaurant.

“I like to pay for myself, so I’d rather split the bill for that pizza if you don’t mind…”

Shared habits

Purposefully creating new healthy habits together can strengthen the relationship and improve our lives in general. Talking about the habits you already share can be a good way to reevaluate or even just appreciate the way things are going now.

“What’s your favorite thing that we always do together?”

Shared hobbies or interests

A topic similar to shared habits, but a much deeper and wider one. It could be anything from playing music together to cooking or watching a particular TV show you’re both really into.

“Is it time to start rewatching Star Trek again?”

Monogamy

Only having one partner at a time. Discussing monogamy and setting clear boundaries with your partner instead of assumed ones can help you know exactly where you stand, as people may have expectations or ideas of what’s morally wrong that differ from ours.

“Do you think monogamy makes sense in the long run?”

“As long as we are together, I’d like it to be just us. If you get involved with another person, our relationship will end.”

Infidelity

Also known as cheating. Being unfaithful to one’s partner, breaking the trust that was built on either an assumed or a stated agreement between the two. Infidelity can be either physical or emotional.

“Has anyone ever cheated on you?”

The perfect relationship

The idea of your perfect relationship. Talking about it with your significant other or even your friends can give you a better understanding of what you want for yourself.

“My idea of a perfect relationship is two people doing their own thing, not getting in the way of each others’ dreams but being there to support each other when needed.”

Abusive relationships

Abuse in a relationship can be physical or psychological. If you feel like you might be in an abusive relationship, it might be a good idea to talk to someone about it.

“I’m always doubting my own memory when we start arguing… am I going crazy?”

Online dating

Something to talk about with your friends rather than your significant other. You could talk about your opinions on online dating and your favorite sites and apps or share tips to make online dating more successful.

“Having a good but also honest profile is definitely important, do you know of any other tips I could use?”

With your crush

Online personalities

You could discuss the people you follow or find annoying and what value you find in following a specific person online.

“If you were a social media person, what would your “thing” be?”

Movies

You could talk about the recent trends in cinema, the movie theater experience, the history of it all, the new trailer that just came out, or that one favorite movie you’ve seen way too many times.

“Have you ever seen a movie that was shown with a real film projector?”

Books

You could talk about the preference in genres, books that you’ve read or planning to, favorite childhood books, or even school textbooks. You could also talk about what goes into making books: making a living as a writer, coming up with ideas and developing them, or trying to get your book published.

“What’s the first book you remember reading?”

“Have you ever wanted to write a book?”

Music

A great topic to explore if you’re both into music. Even better if you like the same kind of music. But even if you like different styles, it can be fun to explore each others’ musical tastes if you go into it with an open mind, and can potentially broaden your horizons.

“Is music important to you?”

TV Shows

A TV show can mean not only a serialized scripted drama or comedy show, it can also be reality TV, documentaries, or even newscasts.

“What kind of TV shows do you like?”

Achievements

Mentioning something you might be proud of that is relevant to the conversation is totally fine, but don’t bring up every single thing that you think might leave a good impression.

“What’s your number one, most important personal achievement?”

Board games

With this, you could obviously talk about your favorite games and make plans to try out some new ones, but also about things around board games – favorite spots to play at and what goes well along with playing them.

“If you had your own board game, what would the theme of it be?”

“Is there a board game that never gets old for you?”

“Do you prefer playing at home or getting together at a pub?”

Clubs (associations)

There are many different kinds of clubs: dedicated to sports, hobbies, social activities, books, chess, politics, religion, and fan clubs among others. Try asking your crush if they’re a part of any club, or have been in the past.

“Were you ever a member of any club?”

Art

A great broad topic to start with that you could later narrow down to a more precise list of interests.

“Are you into art?”

“If you chose art as a profession, what path would you take?”

Sports

It’s been said that people who sweat together stick together, so we can assume this applies to talking about the art of sweating as well. Sports can be anything from which gym you visit to your favorite team.

Try out these questions:

  • “What type of live sporting event is your favorite one?”
  • “If you had to pick one sport to never watch again, which would it be and why?”
  • “Who’s your favorite player in [team]?”

Once you’ve discussed sports and found a shared interest, don’t hesitate to suggest meeting up for watching your team together, or playing your sport together. This is an activity that bonds people together, and it’s fun too!

Clothing and fashion

While not everyone has a clothing-wearing philosophy or a dress code with a story behind it, wearing clothes is a bit like eating. It’s (mostly) universal. It can also be very interesting to talk about.

You could talk about anything from trying to balance comfort and appearance to how your mood might affect what you’re wearing or exchange epic tales of your second-hand store hunts.

Another thing to do is to find something you truly appreciate in the other person’s style and offer a genuine compliment. Do this with people you’ve already gotten to know a little as it can come off as too intense with someone you just met.

  • “I like your shoes, where did you buy them?” (And then you can talk about shoes you like, where you like to shop, and also ask them the same question.)
  • “I like your street outfit, are you into fashion?
  • “Have you always had the same style or do you change over time?”

On a date

Dream places to live

Talking about it on a date wouldn’t be with the intent of making such hasty plans, of course, but just as a way to get to know each other’s dreams and aspirations.

“I’d give any country a fair try as long as it was safe, what about you?”

Short- and long-term goals

Knowing someone’s goals can tell us a lot about a person’s situation and values. Even if your goals are different, sharing them with each other can be a way to bond, as you will feel like you’re both aiming upward.

“What do you think about doing after you quit the job?”

“How do you think it would feel to have a lifelong goal?”

“Do you ever set yourself weekly goals?”

Life after death

Can be either a deep or a surface-level topic, depending on how much you want to go into it. Talking about it can help you discover more about your date’s outlook on life.

“If there’s life after death, then what’s the point in dying?”

“Which is more appealing to you: reincarnation or heaven?”

Alcohol

Some things to talk about are: favorite drinks, when is it appropriate to drink and when is it not, abstinence, dependency and addiction.

“What’s the strongest beer you ever had?”

“Do you think alcohol makes people stupid in the long run?”

Languages

You could talk about the idea of languages, discuss your favorite or least favorite sounding ones, discuss language learning apps or share plans and tips for learning new languages.

“I’ve actually been trying to boost up my NATIVE language skills if you can believe that…”

“Which language sounds the funniest to you?”

Past jobs

The places a person has worked at and how often they change jobs can be telling of the way they approach life.

“Which of your past jobs did you find the most enjoyable? What was good about them?”

“Do you ever miss any of your past colleagues?”

Bucket list

Another great topic to quickly gauge what kind of person you’re with. You could talk about the idea of the bucket list, things you’re planning to do or have already crossed off.

“How do you decide what goes onto your bucket list?”

Authenticity

Talking about authenticity could mean discussing living by your own principles and beliefs, or “feeling like a fraud”, the imposter syndrome.

“Do you ever pretend to be someone you’re not to avoid judgment?”

“Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? When you feel like you don’t deserve getting this far, and you don’t really have any special knowledge or skills, and you’re about to be outed as a fraud in some way?”

Family

It might be a fine topic for later, but don’t bring up your family history on your first date, especially if you had a difficult upbringing. Wait until you get to know each other a little bit better.

“Were you and your brother close back when you were kids?”

“How frequent is too frequent when it comes to spending time with the family?”

Internet

The way you interact with the internet, what you get out of it, how much you use it, and for what purposes.

“Do you spend much time reading random interesting stuff online?”

“What’s the biggest downside of the internet?”

“How would you feel if it disappeared forever?”

With your girlfriend or boyfriend

Youtube

Pretty much everyone watches some Youtube once in a while, so it’s an easy topic to briefly chat about.

“See anything cool on Youtube lately?”

Cooking

Food brings people together, and so does cooking. You could talk about your cooking experiences, favorite cooking shows, share tips, or even plan to cook something together.

“Have you ever cooked over a campfire?”

Exercise

Like cooking, a topic that can bring people together. Talk about what you like or dislike about exercise and make plans to do it together.

“What would motivate you to exercise regularly?”

Children

Talking about kids with your significant other is very important if you want to have a lasting relationship. It doesn’t necessarily need to be straight-up planning like “Hey, I think we should have two kids in five years”. You could simply talk about the way you see children, whether you think you’d be a good parent, what kind of life you’d want your children to have, your thoughts on adoption, ideas for how to raise them, what you would do differently learning from the mistakes of your parents and much more.

Smartphone screen time

A simple but curious topic. Keep in mind to not be pushy – many people consider phones their personal space that they’d rather keep totally private.

“Does your screen time change much from day to day throughout the week?”

Childhood memories

When it comes to being a small child, events sad and happy or even random first impressions of the world hold a lot of emotional power. If your relationship is on a level of openness where it makes sense, sharing those memories with your significant other can be a big display of trust.

“I was around five… I asked my mom if she’s going to cry when she buries me… she told me that I’ll be the one burying her, and that really shook my world – surely, I thought, she’s always been around, so she always will be…”

“One of my best memories from childhood is being half asleep and thinking about condensed milk…”

Guilty pleasures

Things that you like but perhaps feel a little bit embarrassed by or feel as if they’re “uncool”. Talking about them can be fun, but try not to put down someone else’s interests.

“I love watching reality TV, it’s so bad…”

Proudest moments

What are some things that you or your partner feel proud of? They can be the proudest moments of the lifetime or just the most recent thing that one is really proud of.

“Right now I’m most proud of finally making the decision to start practicing guitar daily.”

“I’m really proud of breaking through the fear and getting my driver’s license.”

Friends

You could talk about the idea of friendship, something interesting that a particular friend has shared with you, briefly mention something cool that you’ve done while hanging out with someone or even make plans for a double date.

“Would you rank friendship above or below family in terms of importance?”

Past pets

This topic can be painful, so if you ask a question and the response is not very enthusiastic, it’s better to leave it alone.

“Did you have pets as a kid?”

Flirty topics

Temptations

Talking about topics that are a little bit risqué is a way to transition into a more sexual conversation, especially if you use some innuendos along the way.

Sex

How much this topic should be pursued would depend on how at ease you feel around each other. It’s often not the best idea to say something like “I want sex” straight out. Instead try to approach the topic subtly, switching to it when appropriate, or talking about the general idea, instead of applying it to your particular situation.

Kissing

A topic similar to sex, but basically a lighter version.

“Do you think guys like to kiss as much as girls do?”

Closeness

Physical or emotional closeness is another topic similar to sex, but lighter. It’s something you can bring up to get the conversation moving in a more intimate direction.

“Do you think girls usually value physical closeness as much as they value emotional closeness?”

Love at first sight

The idea of instantly falling in love with a stranger, either in fiction or real life.

“Do you know anyone who actually fell in love at first sight, even if it didn’t lead to anything?”

Beauty

You could start by talking about the general idea of beauty, standards of beauty across the world or in social media, and the idea of “beauty vs hotness”. Once you’re on that topic, a little genuine compliment wouldn’t be out of place.

“How often do you see a strikingly beautiful person when you’re out and about?”

Tattoos

Tattoos are directly related to our bodies, so you can use this topic to lead the conversation in a more flirty direction. You could start out by talking about the styles you prefer, why people get tattoos, show off your own tattoos or talk about ideas for future ones.

“Is there any body part you definitely wouldn’t wanna tattoo?”

Fitness

Similar to tattoos, this is a topic that is closely related to our bodies. You could start by talking about your fitness goals or a gym you go to and invite the other person to work out together or compliment the results of their work thus far.

“Do you work out often?”

Clothing

Similar to tattoos and fitness, clothing is a topic that is closely related to our bodies, and starting a conversation about it can make it easier to give someone a compliment.

“Do you have a go-to clothing store?”

Partying

A casual topic that can be a good starting point to drive the conversation into the more playful territory. Talking about a party you both have been at would be even better.

“Do you often go to house parties? Do you like to have fun?”

Sex & gender topics

Pregnancy

Some things to talk about are: planned and unplanned pregnancies, the way the experience feels, or the changes the body and the mind goes through while a person is pregnant. Even if you’re a guy, pregnancy can be an interesting topic to talk about to get a woman’s perspective on something you don’t understand that well.

Abortion

An important and at times very controversial topic. Abortion laws in different countries and how they’re enforced, the morality of abortion and its psychological aftermath and the right to life vs the right to choose.

“My mom told me that she had a few abortions before me. Boy, do I feel lucky.”

Contraception

Different types of birth control, their success rates, and side-effects.

“Would you ever consider using birth control pills?”

Gender identity

The general idea of gender identity, the social issues surrounding it or personal struggles and

stories.

Sexual orientation

Similarly to gender identity, you could talk about the general idea of different sexual orientations, the social issues surrounding it, or personal struggles and stories.

Sexual preferences

The things we like and don’t like to do in bed or preferences in potential partners. Openly talking about your preferences with your partner is an important asset to having a healthy relationship.

Kinks

Sexual practices that fall outside of what is considered “normal” by most of society. You could talk about the idea in general, explore some new ideas or talk about your own kinks, which can be fun and at times liberating.

Casual sex

Sexual activity without commitment or attachment: the morality of it, potential risks vs benefits, and past experiences.

“I guess I’m not very macho, haha… sex with a stranger always brings me down.”

Sex and marriage

Maintaining a healthy sexual relationship after years of marriage as well as the practice of premarital sex and the connection that it has with religion.

“Do you have any tips for keeping it lively in the bedroom?”

Sexually transmitted diseases

This topic touches on casual sex, having multiple partners, getting tested regularly, not endangering others knowingly, and using proper protection.

Intelligent topics

Human evolution

The history and potential future of the human species, including sci-fi depictions. On a more controversial side is the argument between proponents of creationism and human evolution.

“How do you think humans are going to look in a few thousand years if we keep spending this much time at our desks?”

Stereotypes

An overgeneralization of a particular group of people, often bordering with prejudice. You could talk about your own stereotypical thinking that you’ve noticed, whether breaking stereotypes on purpose is worth it or the ways to think past them.

“Are stereotypes always bad?”

Internet privacy

User data collection and trading, the idea of things seemingly staying online “forever” and people willingly sharing their private lives with the entire world. The life before the internet, the effect that it had on our lives so far and the potential effects it might have in the future.

“Do you think internet privacy should be a topic of discussion in youth’s education?”

Science

A very broad topic. You could talk about the general idea of science and the effect it has on human lives, a particular branch of science that you find the most fascinating, discuss a good scientific book you’ve read, or talk about a famous scientist and their achievements.

“Do you think the scientific progress will ever stagnate?”

Creativity

You could talk about the importance of creativity, ways to nourish and encourage it, what gets you feeling creative, or how you use it in your life.

“Nothing makes me more creative than boredom. Cutting out all the unnecessary noise and distractions.”

Risk-taking

The ability to correctly weigh the pros and cons of taking a risk, ways to separate risk-taking from recklessness, and the idea of living a risky lifestyle.

“Beyond the concept of good and bad, do you think successful daredevils and criminals are comparable in the sense of constantly living in danger and defying the odds?”

History

From more recent decades to ancient times, history is a complex subject that often requires being able to see events from multiple perspectives in order to have an in-depth discussion about.

“Which period of the modern era do you find the most fascinating?”

Globalization

The world is constantly becoming “smaller” in many ways: it’s becoming easier to travel or buy things from afar and the technology is spreading faster and faster. You could talk about the positives or the negatives you see in any particular aspect of globalization, compare life now to how it was even a few decades ago or theorize about how it might change in the future.

“Do you find it a little bit boring how most countries dress the same nowadays?”

Earth after humans

The idea of Earth continuing to exist after humans have either left it or have gone extinct. How would it look and what kind of life form would be the next big thing after humans?

“Do you see our planet as something of value if the humans were no more?”

Utopia

The idea of a perfect society: how would it look like, how could it be achieved, what would be lost in the process and whether it should ever be achieved at all.

“Do you know any examples of thought-provoking depictions of utopia in books or cinema?”

Introversion and extroversion

You could talk about how having these two types of different personalities affects the world we live in or which way you would prefer your personality to lean towards if you could choose.

“Do you find it equally easy to communicate with both extroverts and introverts?”

Deep topics

Meaning of life

Looking for meaning in life is one of the most daunting tasks, and can lead to some of the deepest discussions. You could talk about feeling like you have it vs feeling like you don’t, the search for it, and whether it should be found at all.

“Maybe the meaning of life is not looking for it?”

“Why do we want our lives to have meaning?”

Religion

Religion can be a controversial topic, depending on how it’s approached and who you’re talking to. When discussing religion, avoid pushing your beliefs onto other people. You can ask what religion someone belongs to, or if they’ve always had their current beliefs.

“What does religion mean to you?”

Spirituality

Everything that has to do with the mind and soul. Ways to nourish and explore them. Esoteric practices. Nowadays, spirituality is often considered separate from organized religion, though there is some overlap.

“…I once had a strong spiritual experience… before it, I thought I need more self-control… after it, I realized that what I need is self-love…”

“Would you consider yourself a spiritual person?”

“What does spirituality mean to you?”

“How did you get into spirituality?”

Morals

What’s okay and what’s not? As with religion, try not to force your beliefs onto others and go into the discussion with an open mind.

“When is it OK to lie?”

“What’s immoral to you?”

Love

Any of the many kinds of love: romantic love, maternal love, love of life, love for your homeland, love of a pet, or even love of oneself.

“What’s more important than love?”

Philosophy

You could talk about a personal philosophy, philosophical education, or one of the famous schools of philosophy that interests you personally or that you merely heard about; for example stoicism or nihilism.

“Did you notice philosophy becoming more popular lately?”

Role models

Who a person finds interesting or admirable says a lot about them. It can tell you what drives them, what values they have, and what they would like to pursue. I like to ask people what role models they have if we are on the topic of celebrities, thought leaders, influencers, or anyone who’s big in any industry.

An example could be “I think Elon Musk is so inspiring. Do you have someone that inspires you?”

Ditch the age-old question “If you could have dinner with any 5 people dead or alive” if you just met someone (Though works great for people you already know).

Home

You could talk about having to move often as a child, needing a solid “base” that you can always return to, or the idea of being a citizen of the world. What home is and how important it is can vary a lot from person to person.

“What does home mean to you”?

“What’s needed for you to call something home?”

Pride

Depending on your point of view, pride can be seen as something with either negative or positive connotations. It can be pride for our children, our achievements, our country, or a sense of attachment to one’s beliefs.

“Do you personally know anyone who would be too proud to beg even if their life depended on it?”

“I’ve made the right choice today and skipped the cookies. Really proud of myself.”

Regrets

Potentially a very painful topic, so approach with caution and don’t be pushy.

“…despite my many mistakes, I’ve always felt like I have no regrets, but lately I’m not so sure…”

“Do you have many regrets?”

Technology vs nature

A broad topic that includes the survival of our species, climate change, space travel, biodegradable packaging, and a lot more.

“Do you think that new technology will make life better or worse in a few hundred years?“

Serious topics

Fears

Everyone has social insecurities, which are often rooted in fear. Breaking down boundaries to really get to know someone and being vulnerable can be a very rewarding experience.

There are varying degrees of our fears, so it’s best to touch on something light that can be used as a joke later on. Like a fear of an overactive landlord, or spending too much time with friends and family during the holidays. Once the conversation unfolds, you can gauge how much you want to share, and how much the other person wants to give.

To start out, ask this question: “What is something that makes you nervous you’d like to overcome?”

Health

Some things to talk about are: healthy diets, different types of physical exercise, meditation or spiritual practices, and the importance of health education among children.

“What would you say is more important than health?”

Charity

If you’re going to talk about charity and you happen to donate, try to avoid bragging about it.

“I’ve heard that many charities aren’t very effective because the percentage of the money that goes to the actual cause is super small… do you know anything about that?”

Money

Similarly to charity, try to avoid bragging about your wealth. On the other hand, if your situation is unstable, try not to harp on it too much so you don’t come across as whiny.

“I’ve been thinking of writing down all my expenses to actually see where my money goes.”

“Have you ever thought of investing?”

Crime

A broad topic that includes many things, such as the idea of “an eye for an eye”, punishment, capital punishment, the justice system in your country, criminal life, life in prison, and many more.

“Is it ever justified to break the law?”

“Should non-violent criminals ever go to prison?”

Suicide

Suicide can be a very heavy topic, especially for someone who has lost a loved one to suicide or has attempted it themselves. It should definitely be approached with caution.

“Have you ever thought about suicide? If so, what stopped you?”

“Do you see suicide as a sign of weakness?”

If you’d like someone to talk to, give the crisis helpline a call. If you’re in the US, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You’ll find out more about them here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

If you’re not in the US, you’ll find the number to your country’s help line here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

If you’re not into talking on the phone, you can text with a crisis counselor. They are international. You’ll find more info here: https://www.crisistextline.org/

All these services are 100% free and confidential.

Gambling

This topic includes impulsivity, life after a huge win, morality of gambling establishments, and gambling elements found in many of the recent online games.

“Would you consider buying randomized items in an online game for real-life money a form of gambling?”

Corruption

Dishonest behavior of government officials or other positions of power.

“Can corruption ever go away completely?”

“Have you ever been straight up asked to pay a bribe?”

Global surveillance

Technology has been affecting privacy in our daily lives greatly, and different people may have different opinions on whether it’s good or bad.

“Does it bother you that you’re almost always on camera when you go out, or does it make you feel safer?”

Addiction

Addictions can vary widely in the object of addiction, the intensity, and the potential harm. If you suffer from addiction, speaking up about it honestly can be the first step towards a positive change. Be careful when asking others about this sensitive topic, as even people who admit that they might have a problem can often get defensive about it.

“Does your family have a history of addiction?”

“There are times when I can check my Youtube subscriptions ten times within five minutes. It’s such a big compulsion for me…”

If you’d like someone to talk to, give the crisis helpline a call. If you’re in the US, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You’ll find out more about them here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

If you’re not into talking on the phone, you can text with a crisis counselor. They are international. You’ll find more info here: https://www.crisistextline.org/

All these services are 100% free and confidential.

Revenge

Some ideas to explore are: the idea of revenge, the justification, and practicality of it, revenge in popular culture such as movies or books, and revenge stories from our own lives.

“Does it lead only to suffering?”

“Have you ever met a really vengeful person?”

Betrayal

Similarly to revenge, you could talk about the idea of betrayal, whether it’s ever justified or practical, betrayal stories in pop culture such as movies or books and betrayal that you have experienced in your own life.

“Have you ever been betrayed?”

Random topics

Ocean life

Things that live in the big water.

“Aquatic life is pretty awesome, but doesn’t it also kinda creep you out?”

The universe

The universe as a whole, an entity.

“Do you think there’s a universe in us all?”

Mimes and clowns

You could talk about the famous clowns and mimes in popular media, whether you like them or not, and why you think some people find them scary.

“I wonder how much it costs to go through clown school… not that I’d consider going…”

“I didn’t realize Charlie Chaplin was a mime.”

Conspiracy theories

Everything to do with conspiracy theories. Even if you don’t like them or don’t find them credible, it can be fun to talk about them or even make fun of some especially outlandish ones.

“What’s the stupidest conspiracy theory you’ve heard of being thrown around seriously?”

Famous assassinations

You could talk about historical assassinations such as JFK or Abraham Lincoln, fictional ones from your favorite movies or books, and, overlapping with the previous topic, even assassination conspiracy theories – for example, suicides that are sometimes regarded as potentially being assassinations.

“If you had to assassinate someone, what would be your weapon of choice?”

Hunting

Ethics of hunting vs farming, hunting in media, and personal stories.

“Do you think trophy hunting is OK?”

Archaeology

The reality of archaeology vs its fictional portrayal, its importance, and pseudoarchaeology (unfounded claims made by people outside of the archaeological scientific community).

“Is Indiana Jones really an archaeologist?”

“Have you ever visited a dig site?”

Sentimentality

You could talk about the idea of sentimentality or things that you’re most sentimental about.

“I actually fought with sentimentality since I was a kid, purposefully throwing away things I was attached to.”

Repairing stuff

Being able to fix small things around the house, dealing with bugs on your personal computer or even doing home renovation.

“My dad was very handy, I wish I was like that. Are you handy?”

Antiques

Collecting antiques, opinions on them, visiting antique shops, and antiquing – also known as distressing – the process of making an item look older on purpose.

“Do you ever feel creeped out by really old, well-used items?”

Teenage angst

The feelings of anxiety and insecurity that often occur during adolescence.

“Why do people make fun of “teenage angst” as if trying to invalidate those emotions?”

Weird topics

Beekeeping

A decidedly weird topic for two people who have absolutely no interest in beekeeping.

“So, bees make honey, right? How do they do it?”

“I’d get some bees, but I’m afraid my landlord might have a problem since I live in a one-room apartment…”

Toothbrush stiffness

A universally important topic that’s great to start a conversation with if you want to be perceived as a weirdo.

“Do you prefer stiff or soft toothbrushes?”

Treasure hunting

This could mean literally looking for treasure, but also just finding things at random.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to get a metal detector and search through a nearby forest for something old and valuable?”

“What’s the most money you ever found on the ground?”

Bottled water

Favorite brands, the difference between them, and whether it’s worth paying the extra price.

“Would the world be a worse place without bottled water in every store?”

Grammar and punctuation

Spelling things correctly.

“Do you take pride in knowing that you don’t even have to proofread your emails?”

Blue foods

Foods that are naturally blue.

“Let’s see… there’s blue cheese… but it’s not really blue, is it?”

Homebirth

Giving birth at home, possibly without the help of a trained professional.

“Doesn’t that sound like the scariest thing in the world?”

Calligraphy

Writing words in a pretty way.

“Have you ever spent time practicing writing a very obscene word to make it look as nice as possible?”

Cartography

All about making maps.

“Before the smartphones, I’d sometimes draw myself a map to get to a store I needed to find… I’d get lost every time, ask people for directions and different people would always point me in at least 2 different directions…”

Hermits

People who live in seclusion due to religious beliefs or other reasons, a type of a crab, a Canadian electronic music band, and a tarot card.

“Have you heard about hikikomori?”

Over text

Brand loyalty

Being dedicated to a particular brand of goods, often disregarding its shortcomings.

“Have you ever noticed yourself starting to follow a brand without looking at it critically?”

Subcultures

Some examples of different subcultures are hippies, punks, Trekkies, and metalheads, among many others.

“Which subculture do you think has the most unexpectedly cool people?”

“Did you ever feel like you belong to a subculture?”

“What’s the weirdest subculture quirk?”

Traveling

This topic includes tourism, business traveling, favorite forms of transportation, reasons for traveling and of course stories and plans.

“Travelling across Russia by train takes about a week… how would you feel about doing that?”

“Travelling on foot appeals the most to me, but it seems really difficult and dangerous…”

Technology

This point can be taken literally. You can ask the person how they feel about the concept of technology. Or you can talk about your phone, laptop, watch, car or any other piece of technology and how they compare or differ.

“How do you think life will change as technology develops?”

Gardening

Even if you don’t have a full-sized garden, growing certain flowers, herbs and vegetables can be done at home.

“What’s one thing you’d love to always have a fresh supply of at home?

“I’ve been thinking about growing some thyme in my kitchen… not like it’s expensive to buy it, but I just thought it’d be pretty cool to have my own…”

Chess

Has it ever interested you even if you’ve never played it? What do you see in the game, and how do you see it? If both of you have never played it, you could invite the other person to try it out and learn together. Of course, if you’re into it, you could talk about tactics, tournaments, favorite players, or best personal plays.

“I’ve been thinking about learning chess for a while now, but I can never seem to get to it…”

Gym

You could talk about your favorite gym in town, gym pet peeves, whether the membership is worth it or it’s better to exercise at home, setting up a home gym, where you get your exercise information, the way you exercise, and how often you do it.

“I love the gym so much, I’d go 5-6 days a week, but I’d end up physically burning out really fast…”

Cuisines

You could talk about your favorite cuisines, things you still want to try, things you have experience cooking yourself, or the availability of ingredients.

“What do you think about fusion cuisines?”

Shopping

This could be anything from talking about the idea of shopping, consumer rights, or consumer culture to sending someone a link to some cool-looking pair of pants you found in an online store.

“It’s not really my style, but look at it… these sneakers look so 90’s…”

Video games

You could talk about the game dev industry, latest trends, console wars, past and future, favorite childhood games, genres you’ve been into lately, video game-related podcasts, and game soundtracks.

“I used to love quest games back in the ’90s, but they kinda died out since then and honestly I’m not into them anymore either.”

Weird dreams

Sharing the weirdest dreams you’ve had can be pretty fun or even funny if you can string them into a somewhat cohesive narrative.

“I had a dream that my dog was a caterpillar… slowly moving towards its bowl of food…”

Controversial topics

Gender issues

This topic includes differences between men and women, gender fluidity, the wage gap, sexism, and many others.

Race issues

Equality, discrimination, racism, hate speech, and many more subtopics.

Gun laws

Mass shootings, gang wars, lethal accidents, freedom, and self-defense are all topics related to gun control.

Animal rights

The meat industry, ethical veganism, zoos, circuses, poaching, extinction, small-scale animal farming, and much more.

Vaccination

Anti-vax has recently become somewhat of a big thing. There is a good chance of a heated discussion whenever two people of opposite views start talking about it.

Prison system

Many people disagree on whether imprisonment helps with the rehabilitation of criminals or actually makes the situation worse.

“I’ve never been to prison, but I feel like after serving a 10-year sentence I’d be even more violent than before…”

Death penalty

Should anything be punishable by death? If so, then what, and how much proof does one need to be absolutely sure?

“Would you rather live in a country that has the death penalty, or doesn’t?”

Meaning of the Bible or other scriptures

Whether you are religious or not, the bible contains many powerful passages. You could go into this topic even if you’re not religious or belong to a different religion, but keep in mind that many people can be easily offended by your interpretations, especially if you’re coming into it as “an outsider”

Illegal party drugs

The morality of using illegal substances, the war on drugs, risks vs benefits, past experiences.

“I’ve heard that countries that decriminalize drug possession usually don’t see an increased rate of use… why do you think that might be?”

Political views

Getting deep into anything political is one of those topics where people of opposing views can rarely have a civilized discussion for a long time. It’s a good idea to not bring up politics at all with someone you don’t really know, or in most group settings.

Flat earth

While not as controversial as most of the other topics on the list, the flat earth theory can nevertheless spark up a very heated discussion between a believer and a non-believer.

Awkward or annoying topics

Exes

If you constantly bring up your ex around your significant other, it can get weird. It can also get awkward if you obsess over your ex around your friends, whether you idealize or trash-talk your past lover.

“I’m pretty tense today… you know, my ex gave me back rubs all the time, and now…”

Complaining about work

It’s fine to let off some steam once in a while, but if you complain constantly and people start expecting to hear it every time they meet you, it might be a good idea to either suck it up or find a new job.

So, instead of something like this: “…and my boss just doesn’t get it, we only have one toilet in the office and women use it and he doesn’t even bother to put up the seat, he never listens and I think I just might be employed at the worst company in the city…”

It might be a good idea to try and opt for keeping it along these lines: “Had a tough day at work. Lots of miscommunication. Glad it’s over, man!”

Illness or other health issues

As with complaining about work, try not to be the person that only talks about how tough they’ve got it. It’s fine to admit that you’re having a tough time, but talking about yourself as if you’re the poorest person on the earth can turn people off. You also never know their situation – they may have a health issue that is far worse than yours is, which would definitely make you look foolish.

So instead of something like this: “… and my joints are shot, I can hardly fall asleep and when I wake up I feel so stiff like it’s not even worth getting out of the bed, I’d rather give my right arm than feel like this, so unbearable…”

Try to look on the bright side: “My back has been acting up again, but man, going for a walk always helps. Even if I’m still in pain, at least my mood improves every time!”

Serial killers

While it might be fine to mention a thing or two about a particular case, it’s best to keep in mind that most people don’t find this topic fascinating, and talking about it too much can be very off-putting.

“Isn’t it weird how serial killers get kinda romanticized with cool names like Zodiac Killer and such?”

Hobbies

Talking about hobbies and interests can get awkward if you get too bogged down in technical and intricate details that the other person might not be interested in or even understand, instead of talking about what you love about the hobby.

“…and any programmer worth his salt MUST write his own compiler, I’m telling you…”

Rape

There aren’t many social situations where this would be an appropriate topic for a chat, but can be an important topic in the proper settings.

Depression

Not necessarily always an awkward topic, but it easily can be if the person you’re talking to isn’t prepared for it.

If you’d like someone to talk to, give the crisis helpline a call. If you’re in the US, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You’ll find out more about them here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

If you’re not in the US, you’ll find the number to your country’s helpline here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

If you’re not into talking on the phone, you can text with a crisis counselor. They are international. You’ll find more info here: https://www.crisistextline.org/

All these services are 100% free and confidential.

Traumatic experiences

Most people wouldn’t be ready if you surprise them with this kind of topic out of nowhere. It’s definitely fine to bring up past trauma in situations where it’s appropriate, but try to not turn every other interaction into a therapy session. For example, if you’re having a heart-to-heart conversation with your friend, and it naturally goes in that direction, it’s okay to talk about it. On the other hand, if you just came over to a dinner party and people are getting seated and wine is being poured, it’s best to save those thoughts for your therapist.

We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy, since they offer unlimited messaging and a weekly session, and is much cheaper than going to an actual therapist's office. They are also cheaper than Talkspace for what you get. You can learn more about BetterHelp here.

Disgusting habits

People have different standards of what they consider disgusting, but talking about how you just can’t stop picking your nose might not be the best of ideas in most social situations.

Bodily functions

Health-related topics with too much unnecessary information can often be off-putting.

“…it didn’t stop leaking for a week, so horrible…”

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