140 Conversation Starters to Help Beat Any Awkward Silence
These conversation starters will help you break the ice and befriend those around you.
You never know when you'll be called on to kick off a conversation. Whether your boss decides to organize an in-person gathering for the virtual team or you're heading into a party packed with folks you don't know, it's always best to arrive armed with some conversational ammo. Unfortunately, it's also easy to plow through those reserves, leaving you with little to say and nothing left to go on. To spare you the misfortune, we've put together an original list of conversation starters that you can use with friends, co-workers, and even total strangers. Read on to get started!
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Conversation Starters That Are Work-Appropriate
- What's your favorite season?
- What's your favorite sports team?
- Do you ever go to any of the happy hours around here?
- Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
- How do you think AI is going to impact our industry?
- What's the best way to discover new music?
- What's your favorite restaurant around here?
- Did you do anything fun this past weekend?
- What's your favorite food?
- Where's the nearest coffee shop?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
- Are you a soda drinker?
- Do you have a green thumb?
- What was the last concert you went to?
- How do you feel about musicals?
- Have you ever been out of the country?
- What's your favorite TV show?
- What was the last book you read?
- What's your favorite song?
- Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?
Funny Conversation Starters
- What's your most embarrassing moment from elementary school?
- If you could befriend one cartoon character, who would you choose and why?
- What was your last fashion disaster?
- What's one thing that everyone looks stupid doing?
- If they made a reality show about your life, what would you want the theme song to be?
- What would your plan be if there was a zombie apocalypse?
- What's the worst thing about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
- What was your favorite restaurant as a kid?
- What's the best excuse you've ever given to get out of doing something?
- Which of the seven dwarves most accurately represents who you are?
- What's one movie that if you changed just one letter in its title would have a totally different plot?
- Would you be happy to hear that someone has been named after you?
- What website do you waste most of your time on?
- Do you have any strange collections?
- Who was the last person you stalked on social media?
- Would you cut off your little toe for one million dollars?
- What are the two weirdest items to purchase together?
- What was the most embarrassing phase you've ever gone through?
- What's one thing that hasn't happened yet, but would break the internet if it did?
- What's the goofiest way you've ever been injured?
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Conversation Topics for Friends
- What's your favorite reality TV moment?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- What's the most controversial opinion you stand behind?
- What's your most annoying habit?
- What was your first car?
- Oceans or lakes?
- What's a weird tick or behavior you do when you feel awkward?
- Have you ever had a job where you had to wear a uniform?
- Do you get motion sickness?
- Would you ever go by an alias or a stage name?
- Do you believe in past lives?
- What smell brings back good memories?
- If you could have one superpower, what would you want?
- What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
- What's your favorite reality TV show?
- What was your favorite game to play as a kid?
- What language do you like listening to most, even if you can't understand what's being said?
- If you could live in any state other than where you currently reside, where would you go?
- What's one food you would never eat?
- What's the worst advice you've ever been given?
- When was the last time you faked being sick?
- If you got a free pass to do anything—legal or illegal—what would you do?
Birthday Party Conversation Starters
- What's the best birthday gift you've ever received?
- What was your biggest highlight from the past year?
- How do you usually celebrate your birthday?
- Have you ever taken a birthday trip?
- Have you ever gotten really sick on your birthday?
- What celebrity do you share a birthday with?
- Do you like when people sing "Happy Birthday" to you in public?
- Do you think your astrological sign accurately represents you?
- If you could swap birthdays, which month would you want to be born in?
- How do you think you want to celebrate your birthday next year?
- Do you share a birthday with any close friends or family?
- How did you meet the birthday boy/girl?
- What's your favorite kind of birthday cake?
- If you had to celebrate your birthday in the same way for the rest of your life, what would you choose to do?
- If you had to share a birthday with someone else, who would you choose?
- What's the next big birthday you're looking forward to?
- When you look back on your life, what age do you think you'll have enjoyed most?
- Has anyone ever thrown you a surprise party?
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Deep Conversation Starters
- What's your dream job?
- Which of your family members are you closest with?
- Are you happy with your current job?
- What's the fondest memory you have of your favorite teacher?
- What brings you the most joy in life?
- What's your earliest memory?
- What makes you nervous?
- What are you best at?
- What kind of rules have you established for your household?
- Are you close with your grandparents?
- Do you enjoy working or are you just there to make money?
- Do you think it's possible for people who are attracted to one another to remain just friends?
- What's your favorite form of self-expression?
- If you were to have kids, what do you think they would like most about their uncles/aunts?
- What's something you remember that you would rather forget?
- Describe your life 10 years from now.
- What's the hardest thing about being your age right now?
- What worries you most?
- What makes you unique?
- Have you ever had to cut off a family member?
Conversation Starters for Your Crush
- Do you consider yourself a jealous person?
- Where did you meet your best friend?
- Do you have a favorite charity?
- Do you believe in ghosts?
- How many times a day do you brush your teeth?
- What's one thing you can't live without?
- If you could spend the entire day doing one specific activity, what would you want to do?
- Where did you grow up?
- Did you ever get detention at school?
- What was your longest relationship?
- What's one thing that instantly puts you in a good mood?
- What's your favorite thing about meeting new people?
- How would you describe your perfect weekend?
- Did you make a New Year's resolution?
- Have you ever cheated on a partner?
- What do you usually do when you're bored?
- What does your before-bed routine look like?
- If you could afford to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What three words would you use to describe yourself?
- What's your favorite drink to order at the bar?
READ THIS NEXT: 206 Important Questions to Ask Your Crush.
Random Conversation Starters About Movies
- What was the last movie you saw in theaters?
- What's your favorite movie theme?
- What's your favorite movie genre?
- Which scene gets you choked up every time?
- How do you feel about adaptations?
- Do you like documentaries?
- What's your favorite black-and-white film?
- What movie character can you relate to most?
- What movie had a great surprise ending that you didn't see coming?
- Do you think they rushed the Harry Potter series?
- What is the best movie of the past 10 years?
- What movies are you looking forward to seeing in theaters?
- What's the worst movie you've seen in the past year?
- What's your favorite Claire Danes flick?
- Streaming at home or going to the theater on opening day?
- What's the worst spoiler you've ever encountered?
- What's the most torturous cliffhanger you've ever seen?
- What's the strangest movie you've ever seen?
- Do you think movies have as big an impact as books do?
- What's one movie you could watch over and over again and never get sick of?
4 Tips for Finding a Great Conversation Starter
Not all conversations are created equal. Some require a little more mindfulness while others afford us the ability to be open and carefree. Below, you'll find a few tips not just for kicking off the conversation but setting yourself up for success throughout.
1. Consider your audience.
This goes without saying, but talking to your best friend is not like talking to your boss. Certain questions will always be off-limits, no matter how desperate you are to get the conversation started. Standard small talk may seem trivial, but it's a much safer bet than throwing around more personal questions at work or other types of networking events. Save that kind of material for when you're at home and with your friends.
2. Pay attention to non-verbal cues.
A lot of conversation tips revolve around what to say, but it's just as important to clock those non-verbal cues taking place. If a certain subject causes someone to start fidgeting, cross their arms, or start moving farther away, chances are they're uncomfortable with what's being discussed. Someone who is engaged in a conversation will typically welcome it with a big smile and open arms—literally.
3. Don't go too outside of the box.
A good conversation doesn't just materialize out of thin air. It's important to find some kind of common ground before diving in—especially if you're trying to do so in a more formal setting. If you're in the office, maybe start by asking about the closest place to get a good cup of coffee. You might find that to go a bit further than asking everyone about their favorite cartoon character or if they've ever been scuba diving.
4. Think of ways to keep the conversation flowing.
While ice-breakers are allowed to be short and sweet, conversation starters should really cater toward more lengthy exchanges. Try to introduce subjects associated with easy and obvious follow-up questions. Or, if you're hoping for a more casual flow, try throwing some open-ended questions into the mix.
If you don't know where to start, think about ways you can appeal to their interests. Use what you already know about them to get them talking. It's not true of everyone you'll encounter, but typically, people can go on for quite some time when talking about themselves.
That's it for our list of conversation starters, but be sure to check back in with us soon for more fun life advice! You can also sign up for our newsletter to enjoy similar kinds of content, as well as hit pieces on health, entertainment, and travel.