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‘What do you do for a living?’ is a conversation starter that I try to avoid asking whenever I meet someone new. I feel like it’s the boring, easy way out. Usually the answer is some pre-recorded speech: a script that the other person has already played 100 times at a party before. I don’t like being asked that question either.

Instead, I love to find topics that make the other person’s eyes light up; something the other is completely passionate about. Sometimes I can easily direct the conversation into that desired place, other times I feel like there is nothing I can do or say that will pull the conversation out of zombie mode. I do think that some questions are better at bringing out the best in others.

In my Instant Inspiration Kit, I added a poster with ’36 Questions to ask when you’re stuck in a boring conversation.’ With the holidays coming up (and thus potentially awkward conversations with distant relatives), it’s the perfect time to show how you can easily change any glass into a fun conversation starter.

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What question do you hate most being asked at social gatherings?


  • Reply


    December 5, 2015 at 16:14

    Love this idea for holiday parties! Thanks for sharing and making it pinnable!

  • Reply


    December 7, 2015 at 01:27

    I’m such a big fan of conversation starters. I brought a deck of conversation starters to Thanksgiving because I hadn’t met a lot of the folks that were at the gathering before, and it was a huge hit! Love the wine glass idea.

    I’m pretty over “What do you do?” as being the default conversation starter. The field that’s been my day job doesn’t exactly reflect my passions, and I don’t know how many times I’ve let it slip that “web developer” is my day job at a meetup or a party and then spent the next hour talking to somebody about what I do for work when it’s pretty much the last thing I want to talk about if I’m not being paid. I tend to like to substitute “What are you passionate about right now?” in it’s place.

    • Reply


      December 7, 2015 at 16:02

      Oh I love your substitute question. And I completely understand. An alternative I sometimes use is: what would you do as a job if money weren’t an issue? That usually also makes people talk about their dreams, and if they already do what they love than it’s still fine. But the one about passion is wonderful I think :)


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