We’ve all been in that situation where you are talking to someone, the conversation dies down, and you are both just sitting there as you try to think of a topic to talk about.
Definitely awkward. But hopefully these topics to talk about will help you avoid that situation in the future. You can commit some of them to memory and you’ll always have something to talk about.
List of topics to talk about
I’ve separated the topics into sections (topics to get the conversation started, topics to get to know someone, tech topics, personal history, and random topics).
Under each topic are a few sample questions to get you started and to help you think of other questions. But remember that these are just the beginning of the questions you can ask. There are many more possible questions for each topic. Come up with your own questions based on their answers or from your own creativity.
First though, here are some general tips for a good conversation.
Make sure to ask lots of follow up questions related to their answers. But remember it’s a conversation, not an interrogation. So when they ask you a question, make sure to give a long detailed answer and answer any follow up questions they ask you. Every conversation should be a give and take of talking and listening.
Two topics that you WON’T find on this list are religion and politics. And that is because you probably shouldn’t discuss these topics unless you want to get into an argument with the person or make the person uncomfortable. Seriously, just don’t.
And of course there are some people who might just not feel like talking. Remember, if someone gives you a lot of one word answers, doesn’t make eye contact, and doesn’t ask you any questions; that probably means they aren’t in the mood for a conversation. In that case it’s better to just end the conversation and leave them to their own thoughts.
Okay, enough with the introduction and tips. Here we go, topics to talk about. Enjoy!
Topics to get the conversation started
These are your run of the mill, first meeting someone, topics to talk about. You’ll find that most people will have at least some things to say about each of these topics.
Once you stumble upon something interesting or something they are interested in, keep talking about that for a while. Branch off from your initial topic and ask follow up questions about whatever they seem interested in. Usually people like talking about themselves, so it’s usually good to focus on them and be a good listener with occasional prompting follow up questions.
1. Current situation
Usually the best way to start a conversation is to talk about your current situation. The questions you’ll ask vary greatly on where you are and what you are doing.
So for example, if you are waiting for something you might ask how long they’ve been waiting. Or if you are at a show or an event you might ask if they’ve seen the performer or speaker before. If you are traveling somewhere you might ask where the other person is headed. If you are at place that is serving food, talk about the food. If there is music playing, talk about the music.
2. Job / Work
What do you do?
How long have you worked there?
Do you like it?
How are your coworkers?
What’s the best / worst thing about being a (their job)?
This one works best if you talk about what they are wearing. Maybe try complementing a piece of clothing they are wearing that you like and ask where they got it.
What do you think about (current news story)?
Did you hear about (news story)?
How much do you follow the news?
What do you think doesn’t get enough news coverage?
What gets too much attention in the news?
How do you get your news?
Do you like (sport you like)?
What teams do you follow?
What was the last game you went to?
What do you think about (popular player / team that is doing well)?
Do you play any sports?
Who do you think will win the (major sports event)?
6. Where they are living
Avoid asking exactly where they live. You don’t need to know their address. Just keep it to general areas.
What part of (city you are in) do you live in?
How do you like your neighborhood?
When did you move there?
What’s the best thing about living in that part of town
7. Not too distant future
Just a heads up, this can sometimes make the person you are talking to think you want to make plans with / date them.
What are your plans for the weekend?
Where are you planning to go for your next vacation?
Anything exciting going on this week?
Topics to get to know someone
These topics to talk about are great for getting to know someone better. They are great for when you’ve gone past the friendly introductory small talk and feel like you’ve made connection with the person.
8. Free time
What do you do in your free time?
How much free time do you have?
What do you wish you had more time for?
What kind of music are you into?
What music did you like when you were younger?
What’s your favorite band / singer?
Have you been to any concerts recently?
What’s your favorite album?
What type of movies do you like?
What’s your favorite movie?
Who’s your favorite actor / actress / director?
What’s the last movie you saw?
What’s your favorite food / ethnic food / restaurant / thing to cook / seasonal food?
Do you like cooking?
How do you usually find good restaurants?
What weird foods have you tried?
Do you like reading books?
What types of books do you like?
What’s the last book you read?
What’s your favorite book?
What book is overrated?
Are there any books you would really recommend I read?
What shows do you watch?
What do you think about (popular TV show)?
Have you seen (TV show you like)?
What are some shows that ended that you were really into?
What show do I really need to check out?
Where have you been on vacation?
What did you like / dislike about (place they traveled)?
Where do you wish you could go?
What place do I really need to see?
What’s your favorite place you’ve been?
Do you have any hobbies?
How long have you been doing them?
How did you get started?
What common misconceptions do people have about your hobby?
What hobbies did you have when you were younger?
This topic usually only works if you both have children. So you have something in common to talk about. If one of you doesn’t have children, you might want to skip this topic.
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
What do you think about (animal) as a pet?
What pets have you had?
What pet would you like to have?
What good restaurants do you know of around here?
What’s your go to restaurant when you want to eat out but can’t decide where to go?
What’s your favorite (Mexican/ Thai / Vietnamese / etc.) restaurant around here?
What’s your favorite pizza place near here?
19. Current trends
What are some current trends you just can’t get behind?
What current trend is going to look the silliest in 10 years?
Do you usually follow trends or just do your own thing?
20. Comedy / Humor
What kind of sense of humor do you have?
Are there any comedians you really like?
What are some of your favorite comedies?
21. Actors / Actresses
Who are some of your favorite actors or actresses?
What actor or actress will you watch no matter how bad the ratings for the movie are?
Which actor or actress used to be really popular but has fallen off the radar?
What actors or actresses only play one character in every movie they are in?
22. Learning / Studies
What kinds of things do you pick up easily?
What subjects were hardest for you in school?
What kinds of things are you interested in learning more about?
Tech topics to talk about
Our lives are filled with tech. We are surrounded by it. So these tech topics to talk about will probably appeal to whoever you are talking with even if they aren’t super into tech.
That being said, if the person you are talking to seems a bit clueless about tech, you might want to switch to another topic.
What’s your favorite app on your phone?
What app do you spend the most time on?
What app would you suggest everyone get?
What app do you wish you didn’t have to use?
What do direction do you think the internet is headed in?
What is the longest you’ve been offline?
What’s on the internet that you couldn’t live without?
What game on your phone or tablet are you really into now?
What was the best mobile game you’ve played?
Do you like board or card games?
How about console or PC games?
26. Virtual reality
What do you think would be the most useful thing you could do with virtual reality?
What would be the most entertaining or interesting thing you could do with VR?
Do you think that VR will become mainstream in the near future?
What phone do you have?
How do you like your phone?
How often do you get a new phone?
What do you look for when you get a new phone?
How many phones have you lost or broken?
How concerned about privacy are you?
Do you think all the hype about privacy is warranted?
29. Self-driving cars
Would you buy a self-driving car if it was affordable?
Are you concerned about the rise of self-driving cars?
What will be some of the benefits of self-driving cars?
Will there be any drawbacks of self-driving cars?
This only works if they or you are into Podcasts. But if they aren’t you can introduce them to some cool ones. If they are you can compare and make recommendations / talk about the ones you have in common. If you don’t know about podcasts, you should check them out. Whatever you are into, there is probably a podcast about it.
What podcast do you always start up as soon as it hits your feed?
What are some podcasts that you used to be into but you don’t listen do anymore?
What kind of podcast would you start if you were given the chance?
31. Following on Social Media
What social media platform do you spend the most time on?
Who is the most interesting person you follow?
What kinds of people do you follow?
Who sometimes annoys you but you still follow them because they occasional put out something amazing?
What websites do you spend the most time on?
What are some truly bizarre websites you’ve been to?
What is the most useful site you’ve used?
Personal history topics to talk about
These can be great “get to know you” topics to talk about, but they can also get very personal. So you might want to save most of these for when you know a person a little bit better.
33. Where they grew up
What was your hometown like?
Did you enjoy where you grew up?
How much did where you grew up shape you?
What were some of the best and worst things about where you grew up?
34. Things they were into
What games did you play as a child?
What kind of hobbies did you have when you were growing up?
What cartoons or shows did you watch when you were a kid?
What fads or interests were you really into when you were younger?
Image source: The Pigeon Gazette
What was your elementary / junior high / high school like?
Did you go to college? What did you major in?
Where did you go to college / high school?
What kind of kid were you when you were in high school?
Do you stay in touch with your old childhood friends?
What do you usually do when you hang out with your friends?
Do you prefer having a lot of friends or just a few close ones?
How long have you known your best friend?
How did you and your best friend meet?
How many siblings do you have?
Do you live close to your family?
Do you still go to a lot of family gatherings?
What family traditions do you have?
38. Previous jobs
What kind of jobs have you worked at?
What’s the best / worst / most interesting job you’ve had?
What’s the longest you’ve worked at a job?
39. Where they have lived
Where’s the best / worst place you’ve lived?
What was your college apartment / dorm like?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
What awards or trophies have you won?
What is the next big thing you want to accomplish?
I’m going to go with clubs you join. But if the person you are talking to is into clubbing you can talk about clubs they like to go to.
What clubs have you been a part of?
Where there any clubs you joined but then immediately realized it wasn’t what you expected?
If you were to start a club, what kind of club would it be?
Random topics to talk about
These are topics that might seem a little weird to ask someone you just met or to ask someone out of the blue. But they are great topics to talk about for friends or people you’ve gotten to know well. They also work well if a person shows an interest in the topic.
What was the first car you owned?
What car would you like to have?
Do you like the car you have now?
How long have you had your current car?
What were your favorite holidays when you were a child?
How about now, what are your favorite holidays now that you are older?
What holiday do you wish existed?
What are your plans for (upcoming holiday)?
Do you like coffee?
How many cups do you usually drink a day?
How do you take your coffee?
Where do you usually get your coffee fix?
What kind of coffee do you usually order at a café?
How often do you go to a café?
Do you take a lot of pictures?
What do you usually take pictures of?
Do you have a stand-alone camera or do you usually just use your phone?
Do you use a selfie stick?
What are some of your favorite photos you’ve taken?
46. The beach
Do you like going to beaches?
How often do you go to a beach?
What good / bad memories of beaches do you have?
When was the last time you went to a beach?
What was the best / worst beach you’ve been do?
What’s your favorite thing to do at the beach?
How often do you go on hikes?
Do you like hiking?
What was the most beautiful hike you’ve been on?
What was the longest hike you’ve done?
Where is the best place to go hiking near you?
Do you think alien life exists?
How about intelligent alien life?
Do you think we’ll find microscopic alien life in our own solar system?
Do you think that intelligent aliens have ever or will ever visit earth?
How different will alien life be to life on Earth?
How comfortable are you with change?
Do you think a lot of change is healthy or unhealthy for a person?
What do you think about the speed of change happening in the world today?
What do you think has been the biggest change that has happened in the last 50 years?
What still needs to be changed?
Are you good at cooking?
What are you the best at cooking?
What are you the worst at cooking?
What was your most epic cooking failure?
Who is the best cook you know?
51. Talents and Skills
Is there anything you are naturally good at?
What do you wish you were better at?
What are the most useful skills you have?
What skills would you like to learn?
What are some skills that you think everyone should learn?
Do you have any unusual skills or talents?
What do you like / hate shopping for?
Where do you usually shop for clothes / shoes / groceries?
How often do you window shop?
Do you prefer shopping online or in person?
When shopping for clothes / shoes, do you prefer to shop alone or with other people?
What’s your best / worst habit?
Have you ever succeeded in breaking a bad habit?
What’s a good habit you’d like to start?
What’s a bad habit that you just can’t seem to break?
What are some things you want to achieve before you die?
What is the silliest goal you have?
What goals have you achieved so far?
How good are you at finishing what you start?
What goals have you realized just aren’t going to happen?
55. Social media
Image source: Sarah Candersen
What social media platform do you use most often?
Which social media platforms do you not get?
Are there any social media outlets that you don’t like but have to be on them because of friends or family?
How much time do you spend on social media?
56. Charity / Volunteering
Have you done any volunteering?
How did you like it?
Do you ever contribute to charities?
What charities do you think are most worthwhile?
Do you think any charities aren’t worth supporting?
What kind of volunteer would you like to try?
When was the last time you went fishing?
Do you like fishing?
What was the biggest fish you have ever caught?
Who do you go fishing with or do you go alone?
Where is your favorite place to fish?
Do you know any other languages?
What words do you know in other languages?
What language do you wish you could learn?
What is the most useful language to know?
What do you think about English becoming the default language?
What do you think would be the hardest language to learn?
59. Online dating
Have you ever tried a dating site or app? How did it go?
Do you think that online / app dating or more traditional ways of dating are better?
What do you think could be done to improve online dating and dating apps?
60. Super heroes
What do you think about the flood of super hero movies and TV shows?
Which super hero movie / TV show is your favorite?
Did you read comics when you were a kid?
Who is your favorite / least favorite super hero?
What super power would you like to have?
What stresses you out the most?
How stressed are you on a daily basis?
What’s the best way to relieve stress?
What’s stressing you out these days?
What stresses you out but really shouldn’t?
How creative are you?
What do you do that requires you to be creative?
Is creativity something that can be learned?
Who is the most creative person you know?
How important is creativity for your job?
What profession requires the most creativity?
Who did you look up to as a child?
Who do you look up to now?
Did you have any of your role models let you down?
What is the most heroic profession?
What makes a person a good role model?
When are you happiest?
What do you think leads to long term happiness?
Can a person learn to be happier?
What do you do that makes you happy in the short term but makes you unhappy in the long term?
Do you think people are happier on average now than they were in the past?
What ads annoy you the most?
Do you think that advertising affects your buying choices?
What ads are the most effective?
What are some clever or funny ads you have seen?
Do you think the internet would survive without advertising?
Which celebrities do you like / dislike?
How much do you follow news about celebrities?
Would you ever want to be famous?
Which celebrity has done the most good for society?
Which celebrity has done the most harm to society?
What makes you like / dislike a celebrity?
At what age would you like to retire?
What would you like to do once you retire?
How do you think you’ll adapt to retirement?
Where would you like settle down after you retire?
How has retirement changed over the years?
How accurate do you think stereotypes are?
What stereotypes apply to you? Do you think they are accurate?
What are some positive stereotypes?
Why do you think stereotypes are so common?
What stereotypes are the most hurtful?
How widespread is corruption in your country / state / city / job?
What do you think is the most common type of corruption?
What is the most dangerous type of corruption?
What are some of the worst instances of corruption you’ve heard about?
Yeah, it’s a bit cliche but sometimes it works well!
What’s your favorite type of weather?
What do you like to do on rainy days?
What is the best thing do on hot / cold / sunny / windy days?
What’s the worst storm you’ve been through?
Where do you think the best place to live is for the type of weather you like?
71. The distant future
What do you think life will be like in 10 / 25 / 50 / 100 years?
Do you think humanity is headed in a good direction?
What discovery could be made that would completely change the course of humanity?
How long would you like to live?
What’s your favorite / least favorite place to drive?
How is your commute?
Do you usually listen to music, talk radio, podcasts, or silence while driving?
What’s the best road trip you’ve been on?
73. Parks / National Parks
You can make this one about neighborhood parks or national parks, whatever works best for your situation.
How often do you go to parks?
Are there a lot of parks around where you live?
Where is the best park you’ve been to?
What do you usually do when you are at a park?
Given the chance, would you go to colonize Mars if you knew you would never be coming back to Earth?
Do you think there are intelligent aliens in our galaxy?
If you could have a faster than light space ship and could go anywhere in space, where would you go?
What is your spirit animal?
Besides dogs or domestic cats do you have any favorite animals?
What is the coolest thing you’ve seen an animal do?
How old do you want to live to?
Do you think younger or older people are happier? Why?
What is the perfect age to be?
What kind of crafts have you done?
Are you good with your hands?
What home improvement project would you like to attempt?
What is the coolest thing you’ve made?
78. Exercise / Being active
This topic might go over better if the person you are talking to looks like they live an active lifestyle.
What do you do to stay active?
Do you like exercising or lifting weights?
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
These questions are about alcoholic drinks, but if the person you are talking about doesn’t drink I guess you could still talk about non-alcoholic drinks.
What’s your favorite drink?
Do you usually go out or have friends over when you have a few drinks?
Do you like beer or cocktails more? What types?
What comes up when you Google your name?
What is the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?
How bad would it be if you Google search results were made public?
How often do you go camping?
Where have you been camping?
What was your best / worst camping trip?
What do you usually take with you when you go camping?
82. Ice cream
What’s your favorite flavor?
What’s your favorite ice cream brand or shop?
Where was your best ice cream experience?
Do you try to keep up with the latest fashion?
Where do you usually shop for clothes at? Why there?
How would you describe your look?
Who is the luckiest / unluckiest person you know?
Do you think some people are born lucky or do you think people make their own luck?
What was the luckiest thing that happened to you?
Do you have any good luck charms or rituals?
How much sleep do you need to function? Do you usually get more or less than that?
What’s your secret for getting a good night’s sleep?
What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleeping?
How good of a dancer are you?
Where do you usually dance?
If you could master any form of dancing, what type of dancing would you master?
Have you ever done karaoke? What’s your go to song?
Do you sing in the car while you are listening to music?
How good of a singer are you?
Do you think people are born good singers or can someone learn to be a good singer?
88. Fixing things
What was the last thing you fixed?
How good are you at fixing things?
What did you try to fix but it ended up just making it worse?
89. Culture / Sub cultures
What culture do you identify most with?
What’s the best and worst thing about popular culture?
What kind of culture did you grow up in?
What kind of art do you like?
Do you ever go to art museums?
What do you think of modern art?
What is the coolest piece of art you’ve seen?
Do you like playing cards? What kind of games do you know how to play?
Have you ever won money playing cards?
How often do you play cards?
Do you have any brands that you are really loyal to?
What brands are not worth the extra money they charge? What brands are worth the extra money?
What brand has seriously gone downhill?
What’s your favorite natural setting to be in?
How often do you get out into nature?
What’s the farthest you’ve been from civilization?
What’s your favorite / least favorite fruit?
What fruit flavor do you love but aren’t crazy about the actual fruit?
What fruit is the biggest pain to eat?
95. Plants / gardening
How good are you at taking care of plants?
Have you ever had a garden? Would you like to have a garden?
What’s the coolest looking plant you’ve seen?
How often do you go to botanical gardens?
Can you swim? How did you learn?
Do you go swimming often? Where do you usually go swimming?
Where is the most beautiful / dirtiest place you’ve swum?
What’s the most interesting fact you know?
Are there any facts you learned that caused you to change how you lived your life?
What are some things that are bandied about as facts but aren’t true?
98. Pet peeves
What kind of things get on your nerves more than they should?
What small things do you consider rude?
What does your friend / coworker / roommate that bugs you to no end?
99. Musical instruments
Can you play any musical instruments?
What musical instruments have you tried playing?
If you could play any musical instrument like a master without any effort, what instrument would you choose?
Would you want to be famous?
What level of popularity do people have to have to be considered famous?
What are the biggest upsides and downsides of being famous?
How long do you think you would have survived in prehistoric times?
What is the most interesting period of history?
What’s the most important lesson people can learn from history?
What historical figure was not as great as people think they are?
If you’d like some tips on starting and maintaining a conversation, here is a good conversation guide. They have a paid course as well, not sure how good it is since I haven’t tried it, but the free guide I linked to is pretty good.
Need even more topics to talk about?
Interesting conversation topics – More topics to talk about and these have a lot more questions for each topic.
Trivia questions – Sometimes some fun trivia can get a conversation going.
Conversation starters – More than 250 conversation questions to get your conversation going.
Questions to ask a girl – Are you talking with a girl? Well, these questions are perfect for getting a good conversation going!
Questions to ask a guy – The questions on this page really good for starting a conversation with a guy. Have a look there are plenty to choose from!
350 Questions to ask – Need some questions? With so many you’ll be able to find that perfect question.