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34 Excellent Open-Ended Questions and the Best Way to Use Them

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Jasper is our expert conversationalist and wordsmith. He loves coming up with questions, jokes, and topics designed to create natural conversation. His work has been featured on Marriage.com, iHeart Media, Elite Dai ...
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by | | November 12, 2021


This is a guide about open ended questions.

I love meaningful conversations. Being an expert conversationalist, I've come to realize that open ended questions are the perfect questions to ask if you don't want to run out of things to talk about. And if you're new to dating, you got to know how to keep a conversation going with a girl.

This guide is all you need to keep the ball rolling.

Read on!

Contents

What is an Open-Ended Question? Are They Important?

An open-ended question is a free-form question that allows a person to answer in their own words rather than choosing from a pre-selected set of responses. A good open ended question asks people to provide answers based on their knowledge, opinions, or experiences.

In a conversation, an open ended question encourages a person to give a more genuine and more thorough response, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into the person you're talking to.

Ultimate List of Open-Ended Questions

Now that you know what open ended questions are and why they're important in social interactions, you might be wondering about the right questions to ask when in a conversation. Well, it's a good thing I'm way ahead of you. Below is a list of open-ended questions to help you break the ice.

Question Categories

7 Best Open-Ended Questions To Avoid Any Static Response

Awkward silences and one-liner answers are the two recipes for bad dialogues. If you want to avoid boring small talks, these conversation starters are your best bet.

Here are the 7 best open-ended questions to avoid any static response:

1. What makes you who you are?

Author BJ Neblett once said, "We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives."

If you're trying to make a new friend or get to know someone better, this is definitely a good question to ask.

2. What are you passionate about?

This open ended question always makes a meaningful conversation. Everyone's passionate about something, and people are always excited to talk about their passions in life! Plus, it's always inspiring to hear other people's stories. We all could use inspiration.

3. Do you think people deserve second chances?

We've all been disappointed or hurt by the people closest to us, and we all deal with it differently. The possible answers to this question are yes, no, and "it depends." I'm sure each person has an interesting reason to back up their answer.

4. What do you do when you hang out with your friends?

Whether it's hanging out in a coffee shop or going hiking on weekends, we all have a favorite thing to do with our friends. If you're running out of activities to do with your gang, answers to this open question will give you a lot of good ideas.

5. What is something you are obsessed with?

If you really must know about someone's guilty pleasure, brace yourself because it can get weird. Believe it or not, some people have bizarre obsessions. I once asked this to a guy, and he gave me a very specific answer- nose-picking. Yup.

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6. Are compliments really genuine?

It may seem like a simple question, but this one's a real thinker. I mean, how could you possibly know whether or not a compliment is sincere? Maybe a friend has an interesting insight they can share.

7. What is the best pizza topping combination?

This is probably one of the most controversial questions you could ask in the 21st century. I mean, pineapples on pizzas? That debate hasn't even ended yet! If you think it's the only strange topping people put on pizzas, think again.

4 Funny Questions To Ask That Make Any Conversation Going

Banters without humor is just plain boring talk. These funny questions to ask and funny hypothetical questions are perfect for a relaxing afternoon chat over coffee or a nightcap over a beer or two.

Here are 4 funny questions to ask that make any conversation going:

8. What was the most awesome excuse you have ever made?

Sometimes telling white lies is necessary, especially when you're trying to get out of a sticky situation. Take a fake emergency call, for example. We've all heard of that one. You may even be duped with one. I mean, the possible answers are endless. Not to mention hilarious!

9. Why is life so hard?

Tell me about it! This might sound like a topic for a more serious talk, but if you've been adulting for a while now, you'll understand how this could be funny. Such is life. It's a constant roller-coaster ride.

10. What is the worst thing your mom caught you doing as a kid?

Tell me about it! This might sound like a topic for a more serious talk, but if you've been adulting for a while now, you'll understand how this could be funny. Such is life. It's a constant roller-coaster ride.

11. Is the present better than the future?

Do you know what's funny about living in the present? Celebrities in politics, anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers, and influencers random-dancing their way to fame. I sure hope we don't have to laugh about those in the future.

4 Interesting Questions to Ask to Get New Insights

Sometimes the best way to gain a deeper insight into a certain topic is to keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say. Asking these interesting questions is like getting a fresh pair of eyes.

Here are 4 interesting questions to ask to get new insights:

12. What would you do if you had two hours left on Earth?

Have you seen the movie "In Time"? Boy, that movie had me looking back on all the things I've done in my life. Time is precious. Waste it wisely.

13. How would you prepare for a zombie apocalypse?

Could a zombie apocalypse really happen? I mean, even the billionaires of the world are preparing doomsday bunkers. They must know something. Maybe all those movies and series about zombies are actually warnings?

14. If you could custom blend a perfume or cologne, what would it include?

Here's a fun fact- a master perfumer is called a "Nez." That's French for "nose." These guys are fascinating! They can recognize a scent from memory and even distinguish between ingredients that would otherwise stay undetected to an untrained nose. If you're a perfume enthusiast, this is a good interview question to ask the next time you run into a Nez.

15. If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?

Thanks to Stan Lee, every child's dream of becoming a superhero will live on for generations. I'm a grown-ass man, and I still can't get over Captain America lifting Thor's Mjolnir. Man, that was epic!

6 Why Questions That Are Perfect for an Open-Ended Conversation

Don't you just love it when you can talk about anything with someone, especially if it's someone you love spending time with? I know I do—these why questions will have you talking for hours.

Here are 6 why questions that are perfect for an open ended conversation:

16. Why do you waste your time with someone who doesn't care about you?

Shout out to my fellow hopeless romantics out there! Seriously, guys. Why do we do it? If they can figure it out, maybe you can get back to me and help a brother out? I could use an intervention.

17. Why do we need to grow up?

Growing up is inevitable. Unless the person you're talking to is Peter Pan or one of the lost boys, growing up is a part of life. I believe it's a privilege. But that's just me. I'm sure every person has a different insight about it.

18. Why do girls like tall guys?

The short answer to this is evolutionary biology. A woman's primal instinct is to choose a guy who they think can protect them. In one survey, many interviewed women explained that tall guys seem stronger and that being with them makes them feel safer.

19. Why are stars so far away?

There are about six thousand or so stars visible to the naked eye, and most of them are a thousand light-years away from the sun. That's a thousand years from Earth. So technically speaking, when looking at stars, you're actually looking into the past. The more you know!

20. Why must everyone choose a career over love?

Imagine if they ask you this at a job interview! Having to choose between love or career is a tough spot to be in. Would you move for a job or stay for love?

21. Why do you like spicy food?

If you're a foodie like me, you probably know that any food tastes better when it's spicy. This is a good open ended question to ask any food enthusiast. Maybe they grew up eating spicy food, or perhaps it was an acquired taste.

5 Questions To Ask A New Friend To Get To Know Them Better

Not sure what questions to ask a new friend? Open ended questions are perfect for getting to know a person you just met. The following getting to know you questions should help you get acquainted with anyone.

Here are 5 questions to ask a new friend to get to know them better:

22. What is your favorite hobby?

This classic open question is a classic for a reason. I mean, how else do you expect to bond with your new friend if you don't even know the activities they enjoy?

23. What's been the best concert you've attended?

Concerts are the bomb! I believe going to a concert at least once in your life should be on everyone's bucket list. Singing along to Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars" while actually being under a sky full of stars is amazing!

24. Where do you like to go to have fun?

We all have a favorite place to go when we're stressed or trying to blow off some steam. Maybe you and your newfound friend can go there together someday.

25. What is something you refuse to share?

We all have a dirty little secret. Good luck trying to get them to admit it!

26. What would your parents or friends warn me about you?

Unless, of course, the person you're talking to is Beyonce, no one's perfect. After all, we all come with baggage. But a genuine friend should be able to take the bad with the good.

4 Questions To Ask A Girl Over Text That Are Not Answerable By Yes or No

If you're new to dating, then you've probably wondered what to text a girl far too many times. These questions to ask a girl over text are nothing short of engaging.

Here are 4 questions to ask a girl over text that are not answerable by yes or no:

27. What are you going to do this weekend?

Are you planning a surprise weekend getaway for your crush? Asking this simple question should make it easier. Imagine the number of boyfriend points you'll get if you nail it!

28. What makes you laugh the most?

You know what they say, if you can make a girl laugh, then you're halfway to winning her heart over.

29. What does a successful relationship look like to you?

Relationships take a lot of work. To keep the girl, you got to do more than making her laugh. Asking this question will come in handy. Trust me.

30. What would your ideal partner be like?

This is a great compatibility question to ask the girl you like. If you checked out all the traits she likes, then you're good to go. If you're far from it, move on- you've hit a dead end.

4 Powerful Questions That Will Make Anyone Pause, Think and Reflect

People who make a difference practice creative thinking and ask a lot of thought-provoking questions. These deep questions to ask are perfect for critical thinking.

Here are 4 powerful questions that will make anyone pause, think, and reflect:

31. If you could restart your life, what would you do differently?

This one's definitely a thinker. I mean, right now, I could think of a lot of decisions I could have done differently.

32. Given unlimited resources, how would you go about making the world a better place?

Mother Teresa couldn't have said it better- "We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Take Greta Thunberg, for example. Asking this simple question might just make someone the next Nobel Prize winner.

33. What movie best explains your current life situation?

You ever seen a movie that resonated with you? For me, it would be "When Harry Met Sally."

34. If you have a time machine and you could either go back in time to fix one thing or go to the future to see what it is like, what would you choose?

If I could go back in time, I would probably boycott Trump. If I can travel to the future, I would fast forward to when I'm finally married to my dream girl (and most likely stay there).

Downloadable and Printable List of Open-Ended Questions

Here is a downloadable and printable jpg/pdf list of open-ended questions (right-click the image and select Save Image As...):

Frequently Asked Questions

The key to becoming a lifelong learner is to ask a lot of questions. Here are more tips to follow:

What's the difference between open-ended and closed questions?

Unlike an open-ended question that enables a speaker to respond freely, a close-ended question only allows someone to answer with a yes or no, or choose from a limited set of possible answers. A good example of a close-ended question is a multiple-choice exam.

What words do open-ended questions begin with?

Open-ended questions often begin with the words why, how, and what. In focus groups or a job interview, this question type may also start with phrases such as can you describe..., what do you think about..., or tell me about...

When do you ask open-ended questions?

Ask an open-ended question when you want to elaborate on a certain topic. You can even use it as a follow-up question if you want to expand a conversation.

Why are open-ended questions good?

Whether it's qualitative research, a survey, or a simple interaction, the greatest advantage of using open-ended questions is that it always renders detailed explanations or answers from a respondent. Moreover, asking open-ended questions allows a person to express their own feelings, attitudes, and understanding about a subject.

How to Use Open-Ended Questions In A Conversation

If you want to be an expert conversationalist like me, you have to learn the art of asking open-ended questions. These pointers will make you king of social interactions.

Here's how to use open-ended questions in a conversation:

1. Turn your close-ended questions into open-ended questions.

From now on, the first thing you need to remember when making conversations is to pay attention to how you frame your questions. Whenever you ask a question, make sure that it doesn't give you static or a single word response.

So if you're wrapping up an important meeting with a client, instead of asking, "Did you find this meeting insightful?", ask, "What was the most insightful thing you found about today's meeting?"

If you're trying to get to know your date, instead of asking, "Where are you from?" say, "Tell me about your family." Doing this helps you avoid dead airs and awkward silences.

2. Ask open-ended follow-up questions.

Now that you know how to ask better questions, it's time you learn how to keep a conversation going. It's simple. Ask follow-up questions. But not random ones! Communication is a two-way process, so listening and being attentive to what the other person is saying is important.

For example, if you asked your date to tell you about her family, a good follow-up question may sound like, "What was it like growing up with your siblings?"

If you're catching up with a friend and you started with "How was your weekend?", follow it up with "What did you do?" or "What was the best part about your week?"

More Awesome Questions To Start A Conversation

Asking the right questions matters when you're trying to break the ice. These questions are fool-proof.

  1. Second-guessing everything you've done in your life? These existential questions might be your gateway to enlightenment.
  2. Whether you're out on a date or spending the night in, these would you rather questions for couples are anything but boring.
  3. Bored and got nothing better to do? If you're up for it, why not try answering these unanswerable questions?

In Conclusion

Open-ended questions are awesome!

If you've been trying to learn how to keep a conversation going with a girl, remember that having the right questions to ask is the key.

You'll never run out of things to talk about when you ask open ended questions.

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