Introverts don’t particularly like small talk. It’s not because we are snobby or stand-offish, it’s just that we like our conversations deep and meaningful. And there are some conversation questions we genuinely dread. So, if you meet an introvert, be careful what you ask them.
Here are five conversation questions you should definitely avoid asking introverts. There are some conversation questions that are good bets below.
1. How much do you earn?
Introverts rarely like talking about money or material possessions. They are usually much more interested in how other people feel than what they earn or spend. So avoid asking introverts anything about money – unless you want to see them squirm! So avoid asking questions about how much introvert’s earn or what things cost.
2. Who’s your favorite celebrity?
Most introverts find the lives of celebrity a bit boring. After all, we can only go on hearsay and don’t really know how celebrities really feel. Introverts hate to judge others, especially without knowing them, so this is a subject to avoid.
3. Have you heard that Jim from accounts is having an affair/mid-life crisis/filing for bankruptcy?
Most introverts aren’t keen on personal gossip either, for similar reasons. Gossip doesn’t allow the other person to get their opinion across so most introverts would rather steer clear of this.
4. What on earth is she wearing?
Many introverts find discussing the appearance of others a bit weird. They are more interested in the person than their clothes!
5. Don’t you think our new boss is wonderful? (while standing within earshot)
In a group conversation, introverts don’t like it when others suck up to someone in a position of authority. In fact, any kind of fake behaviour makes them feel queasy.
6. Don’t you just hate…?
Introverts are usually quite reflective and open-minded. This is why they hate talking to anyone with narrow-minded views. If you want to get to know an introvert, try to keep an open mind.
7. Did you watch the latest celebrity show?
It’s not that introverts are snobbish about culture, some aspects of popular culture they might love. Just avoid anything bitchy, materialistic or that features a bunch of celebrities who just want to show off. Booooooring!
8. What do you do for a living?
Work is a tricky one. If an introvert does meaningful work they love, then they might be happy to talk about it. If you have a meaningful, interesting job, then they will love to hear about it. But please don’t talk about office pranks or the minutiae of legal cases.
So, these are all conversation questions that should be avoided. If you are not sure how to start a conversation with an introvert, try one of these questions instead.
1. Where are you from?
Most introverts are happy to talk about where they were born and grew up and what their families were like. These subjects are quite personal and help people to get to know each other quickly.
However, if you notice they look awkward, then change the subject. If their personal history has been difficult, then they might not want to reveal anything about their past just yet.
2. Have you visited anywhere interesting lately?
Asking about travel is usually a safe bet. Most people love to travel and share their stories about the places they have been.
Introverts will be fascinated to hear about other’s adventures, too. If they haven’t travelled much recently, ask them the coolest places to visit in their hometown.
3. What is your favorite food?
Food is another safe topic. Most people love food and are happy to talk for hours about their favourite cuisines, recipes and restaurants. This is another topic that helps people to get to know one another without getting too personal too quickly.
4. What is your favorite book/movie/TV show?
This one can work well if you find you have a similar taste in these arts. However, it can get a bit difficult if you haven’t read any of the same books or seen the same movies.
Try to start with TV shows that are universally popular without being too celebrity-focused. Animated movies are often a good bet, especially if the person has children, in which case they will probably have seen them all many times.
The good thing about children’s books and movies is that there is usually more going on than children realise, so you can discuss hidden themes and ideas.
5. What do you like to do in your free time?
This is my all-time favourite conversation question. It’s got everything. It’s personal but not too personal and it gives the other person an opportunity to talk about things they love to do. Perfect!
6. Have you got any pets?
If you are having a hard time finding something in common, ask about their pets or tell them about yours. Most people love animals and this can at least break any awkward silences. If you have photos of your furry friend on your phone that you can show them, so much the better.
7. Have you seen the video about…?
If you don’t have pets, then try showing them a funny meme or video or sharing a joke. Humour is a great ice breaker and usually leads on to some other topic of conversation.
Of course, all introverts are different. Some introverts might love talking about their work, especially if they find it meaningful and fulfilling.
Just as in all conversations, we need to pay attention to the other person so we know what subjects they feel comfortable with and can quickly change the subject if they seem unhappy. You can adapt your conversation questions as you go so that you find out more about each other and hopefully begin to develop a great new friendship.