Fire Up Those Conversation Skills With 100+ Conversation Starters

Meeting new people can be a lot of fun, but getting the conversation started? That’s a different story. Whether you’re at a wedding, the festive family Thanksgiving, or just chatting up some new neighbors, knowing the right words to break the ice and keep the conversation flowing is no easy task. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get people talking and sharing interesting things about themselves. They’re called conversation starters.

When you go to new places or are expecting to need to chat with new people, having a few conversation starters memorized is a must. A good conversation starter might be asking a question, telling a joke, or even revealing something silly or embarrassing about yourself. There are dozens of innovative ways to jumpstart the conversation no matter the time or place. To make things even easier on you, we’ve put together a handy list. Here are more than 100 unique conversation starters to use in every situation.

Good conversation starters

1. Ask them questions about themselves.

  • Do you know a lot of people here?
  • Do you have anything exciting going on this weekend?
  • How did you meet the host?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • Did you grow up here?
  • What was the last great thing you watched?
  • What’s your favorite sport?
  • Do you have any hobbies?
  • What are you reading or watching right now?

2. Pay a compliment.

  • I love that necklace. Where did you get it?
  • That speech was amazing! I’d love to talk more about [topic].
  • Have you ever heard of [brand]? You have really great style, and I think you would like their stuff.
  • I heard you mention you’re running a marathon. That’s so inspiring! How’s the training going?

3. Ask for their opinion.

  • Have you tried the hors d’oeuvres yet? What did you think?
  • I’m so excited for the new [artist] album. Are you a fan?
  • Do you listen to any podcasts? Which one is your favorite?
  • Have you ever been to [restaurant, place, business]? How was it?
  • This venue is lovely. Have you been here before?
  • (If you’re joining a group) I couldn’t help overhearing, but I’m interested in knowing more about [topic].

Do you say opinion on, about, or of something?

4. Talk about current events or pop culture.

  • Did you catch the Grammy Awards last night?
  • What albums are you obsessed with right now?
  • Are you watching the new Idris Elba show on Apple TV?
  • What’s your favorite form of social media to use?
  • Do you have a favorite celebrity couple?
  • Did you catch the game last night?
  • Did you see the new pictures from the James Webb telescope?

Funny conversation starters

1. Ask an off-the-wall question.

  • Will you tell me your cheesiest joke?
  • What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
  • I have to ask you a serious question: do you sing in the shower?
  • Do you want to hear about the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me?
  • What’s the most ridiculous thing that you can’t live without?
  • Settle a debate for me: is a hot dog a sandwich? (We’ve got some thoughts on that right here. If you want to start a great food debate, we’ve got plenty to pick from.)
  • What do you do for a living? Fake answers only.
  • Do you have any hidden talents?
  • How many emails have you avoided answering this week?
  • Tell me two truths and one lie about you.

2. Tell a joke.

  • This is such an emotional wedding. Even the cake is in tiers.
  • Fun fact: the person who invented the umbrella was just going to call it a brella, but then he hesitated.
  • Did you hear about the explosion at the cheese factory? ’Da brie was everywhere.
  • Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice.
  • So far, we have one thing in common: you don’t know what you’re going to say and neither do I.

3. Talk about something comedy-adjacent.

  • Who’s your favorite comedian?
  • What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
  • Can you do any impressions?
  • What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Sometimes your new neighbors or acquaintances are on the younger side: they’re teens or kids. Don’t worry. If you’ve been nervous about talking to the younger people in your life, we’ve got some suggestions for starting a chat. These can also be used to spark conversation with the children in your own family. (Go ahead and upgrade from the age-old “How was school today?”—especially if it’s being met with a stony silence!)

Conversation starters for teens

1. Ask about after school jobs and extracurriculars.

  • Do you have a favorite teacher?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do outside of school?
  • Do you have a summer job?
  • Are you working to save up for anything?
  • Do you play sports?
  • What’s your favorite subject in school?
  • What’s one thing you’ve learned this year that really surprised you?

2. Talk about likes and dislikes.

  • Do you have a favorite movie?
  • Tell me about the last book you read.
  • Pick one: Harry Styles or Justin Bieber?
  • What’s your favorite thing to put on French fries?
  • TikTok or Instagram: which one is better?

3. Ask about their future plans.

  • What do you want to do after you graduate?
  • What’s your biggest passion?
  • Do you plan on moving somewhere else when you’re older?
  • Five years from now, what do you want to be doing?
  • Do you think growing up feels like it’s going by fast or slow?

4. Talk about best friends.

  • Do you prefer a big group of friends or a few close ones?
  • Do you have a best friend?
  • Which friend has impacted you the most?
  • Who’s your funniest friend?
  • Who is someone you can always count on?
  • What’s your favorite memory with your friends?

Conversation starters for kids

1. Have fun with hypotheticals.

  • If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  • If you could be any animal, which one would you be?
  • What is your secret agent code name?
  • Do you believe in fairies?
  • You get one afternoon to do anything you want. What would you do?
  • If you could have dinner with one cartoon character, which one would it be?

If you’ve graduated from our basic conversation starters, we’re here to offer 23 surefire questions to nurture a deeper connection.

2. Ask about hobbies and interests.

  • What’s your favorite kind of book to read?
  • What are you reading right now?
  • Do you like to play outside?
  • What’s your favorite sport or game to play in P.E.?
  • When was the last time you went somewhere adventurous?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re bored?
  • What would you do if you had no electronics?
  • Would you say you have a favorite hobby?
  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • Do you have a favorite color?
  • What is one food you totally hate?

3. Talk about school.

  • What’s your favorite subject to learn about?
  • Do you have a favorite teacher?
  • If you could eliminate one subject from school forever, which would it be?
  • What’s your favorite part of the school day?
  • Do you think it’s fun to be a teacher?
  • Would you send your parents back to school for one day?
  • Do you think homework is fun sometimes?
  • What’s the best part of going to your school?
  • What was the funniest thing that happened today?

4. Ask about favorites.

  • Pick one: tacos or pizza?
  • What’s your favorite color?
  • Do you have a favorite toy?
  • What’s one TV show you’ve watched a bunch of times?
  • Do you have a favorite movie?
  • What’s the weirdest kind of food you like?
  • What would your dream summer day look like?
  • What is your favorite season?

Get more help with your conversation by reading these tips for making small talk.

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