How To Skip The Small Talk And Get To Know Someone On A Deeper Level

Life is all about choices and decisions. One way to have a more beautiful time in life is to have close friends by our side. Friends are people to share our experiences with. They make life sweet. This world is full of people; we just need to meet the ones who fit in our particular boat. One way to do this is to ask questions of new potential friends and partners. The more questions we ask, the more we can get to know the other person. Small talk, a comfortable way to pass the time while in the grocery store line, is great. But it's really only in these kinds of situations that small talk is useful. 


To really get to know someone on a deeper level, we need to spend time in their company and ask some pertinent questions. According to Psych Central, we need to really know our significant other inside and out to truly love them. "How can we love someone we don't know?" asks Lily Zehner, EdD, MFT-C, a Denver-based therapist. "To love your partner is to truly know them."

Ask open-ended questions and don't worry

Dating can be a challenge. We all know it. But being vulnerable allows us to really find out who someone is and whether they may work for us. Try not to let your nerves get the best of you. Remember, you're awesome! You would be bringing in as much as they would in a potential relationship.


When you first start dating, and frankly anytime you want to keep communication open and fluid, remember to ask open-ended questions. These kinds of questions require an answer with some thought and not just a "yes" or "no" response. To make this possible, ask questions that go under the skin a bit and necessitate reflection. So, instead of asking whether your date likes traveling, you could ask what their favorite destinations have been and what made them unique. Perhaps while discussing food, instead of asking if they like to dine out or stay home for dinner, you could ask if they have any favorite dishes or recipes and what about them makes them delicious. 

Remember, this is your time to figure out if this person could be in a potential relationship. Healthline reports that really listening to the other person's responses matters too. Why? Well, if you're paying attention, then you'll know what kind of follow-up questions to ask. The result could be an easy and relaxing discussion.


Be careful to not just talk about yourself

We may not want to admit it but boy do we love to talk about ourselves. Why? According to PNAS, multiple studies show that discussing ourselves brings about feelings of happiness and reward. Perhaps this rush of positivity makes the reason easier to digest. We are creatures of communication, after all, and we find common ground with others by talking. But the secret to success is not to talk about just yourself but to also simply be a great listener and follow-up-question asker. But this means you need to listen to what was said in the first place.


Instead of simply asking questions about someone else when your real intention is to only get back around to discussing yourself again, do your best to be interested in what your date has to say. If you're only interested in yourself, you will never learn if someone else is right for you anyway.

Be your real self in order for someone else to feel comfortable being genuine

You know how you can just kind of tell when someone is faking it? Well, they can probably tell when you're not being genuine as well. It's hard to truly get to know someone if you're wearing a mask. It's hard enough for a healthy relationship to work without the definite fizzle that'll happen if you only put on airs and don't act like yourself. So be real and let the inner you shine!


See, being authentic allows those around you to feel like they can be themselves too. Being vulnerable shows you are trustworthy and worthy of opening up to. Being genuine to the real you means you're honest and don't have a difficult time sharing your true opinions on things. And again, this lets your company know they're safe to share their real thoughts. All around, being the real you is a win-win. The worst that can happen is you and the person you're talking to don't click. This is okay! There are millions of personalities out there. Eventually, you'll find the right ones for you.

Discussing their childhood is a good place to start

Keep in mind that most people do like to talk about themselves and will surely open up if you show you're trustworthy. That being said, let's begin at the beginning in order to start an impactful discussion. This would be a discussion of their childhood. It's often fun to recall our childhood antics and reflect on who we were then, what our dreams were, and what happened to them all.


Thought Catalog has some interesting questions that touch on someone's childhood. One question that could really turn into a deep discussion (ideal for getting to know someone) is whether they are actually doing today what they thought they'd be doing when they were younger. We know how this goes, don't we? We plan to be x, y, and z when we're in high school and suddenly we look in the mirror and realize we're in a totally different career and phase of life than we ever could have imagined. This is what keeps things interesting in this thing called life!

Ask about their life dreams

What we dream of seems to change throughout our lives. For example, when we're infants, we often dream of getting older, or at least old enough to decide when we go to bed. And so it goes. .. We get to different points in our life and change what is most important to us. These are all wonderfully interesting things to discuss with someone new (or old).


Did the person we're talking to end up following their childhood dreams or did they totally change their dynamics? Did they stay with their first major in college? Why or why not? When did they realize they didn't want to follow their original "life plan?" If you dig a little, you might just find out that inside the person you're talking to is a dynamic individual who has gone through plenty of fascinating twists and turns in life the same way you have.

Time and money questions matter

You may be happy living paycheck to paycheck, but many people would prefer to save for the future, which most likely means they're going to be working hard for a long time. It's important to cover certain financial topics with a partner or potential partner to really get to know them. Figure this out in the beginning because this is most likely a lifelong condition. Some people want to work diligently in their younger years so they may enjoy their later years, while others believe they should enjoy their younger years by traveling and exploring and seeing what happens later on. For one person, the idea of backpacking across Asia is the dream, while for others think spending as much time as they can at the office is the goal. These are infinite different philosophies of how to live.


However, the most important thing is that the person you're with respects your views and is empathetic. As Psych Central notes, empathetic people tend to be more fulfilled in relationships. "Having an empathetic partner helps us feel more heard and understood in the relationship," reports Parisa Ghanbari, a registered psychotherapist in Toronto, Canada.

Find out if they want or already have kids

This one is so important. We can't stress it enough. While getting to know someone, you should discover their goals for life, and this is certainly a major one of them. You may already have children or hope to have them one day, but there's an equal chance you don't want kids at all.


Don't make the mistake so many people commit by thinking that "they'll change their mind" about kids. Chances are very good you, or they, will not change their mind. Get the important topics out in the open as soon as you can so neither of you waste time with someone who has different life goals than you.

Kids are a major deal and a huge part of what makes a relationship beautiful and special. But they can also be the reason a relationship grows apart. This is why it's essential you are aware of your feelings about having kids before getting serious with someone. This is another human being we're talking about after all, and it may be the most crucial decision you make in your entire life.

Be sure to talk about bucket lists

This is an important one because it helps reveal what makes them tick. If their bucket list dreams include hitchhiking across Europe, you should figure it out. Some people won't be happy until they realize their bucket lists. While other people would like to experience their bucket lists with a partner. All this being said, be aware of your own bucket lists. What do you want to do before you die? This is the concept. It can make life interesting to desire to fulfill your bucket list of goals.


For many people, this includes things like traveling to a particular spot; meeting a certain person; experiencing various thrills; or perhaps it may be as easy as learning how to cook an incredible lasagna with homemade pasta. The variables of bucket lists are endless.

However, some goals on a bucket list can reveal something within a person that may not mesh with who you are or your values. For example, if they're obsessed with meeting a certain celebrity and won't be happy until they've accomplished it, you may see this as someone who is a little "out there." Or, perhaps you may have your own meet-a-certain-celebrity list and want a partner to come with you to fulfill it. In this case, you'd make an ideal match. The idea, again, is to get to know someone, along with what excites them and perhaps keeps them awake at night fantasizing.


Where do they see themselves in another five to 10 years?

Many of us have various life goals. Many people tell themselves that when they're a certain age, they will graduate college and begin their illustrious careers. And then by a certain age, they'll get married and so on. But then life happens, doesn't it? Somehow all these innocent-enough life plans don't quite pan out as we had imagined. And that's okay.


What's not okay is to drift on without asking deep questions of your significant other. Now, keep in mind that your partner may truly not know what they have planned in five to 10 years, but it's wise to inquire anyway because you'll want to know if their plans line up with yours. Why? Because if their idea of success 10 years from now is to be living in Fiji teaching how to scuba dive, and yours is to be settled down with two kids in the countryside, it's probably best you don't get into a long-term relationship.

Do they ever see themselves married?

This question matters because some people never want to get married and others have been dreaming about their wedding day since childhood. In today's modern world, there are many people who simply don't believe in marriage and have no plans to tie the knot. Where are you with this important part of life? Like the question about children, this is another essential question because it's a massive part of life.


It may be easier to ask these kinds of "deal breaker" questions over a dating app online. Of course, the security of a phone screen is a big comfort when you're asking difficult questions. But keep in mind that sometimes the protective screen isn't available. If you didn't meet each other online, then you're in a very different situation. The bottom line? Be ready to ask pertinent questions face to face. And get this one question out of the way.

Are they religious?

The importance of this one is obvious. If you're an atheist and they're quite religious, there will most likely be problems. However, if you're spiritual and they're religious, this may work out. The point is, do both of you believe in the concept of a higher power? It's a natural thing to discuss and one that may influence everything you do. A person who is religious often will have certain beliefs as to how life should be lived. A person who is an atheist will also have their own ideas of how life should be lived.


As long as both parties are treating their fellow human beings well and fairly, the belief system behind the behaviors doesn't make a difference. Where problems arise is when certain moral issues come up. These are things that should be figured out ahead of time. The Washington Times notes that asking various questions such as what movies or even music they like can give you hints as to their beliefs. For example, if their favorite band is a Christian band, this is a very good indicator that they're religious. 

Are they close to their family?

Family dynamics say a lot about a person and their beliefs. You may be someone who holds their family dear to them, but does your partner? Are family values truly something you value? Or are you more of a person who does things solo? Truth be told, families can make or break a relationship. So this is something to ask about as soon as you feel comfortable. As you may imagine, the relationship you had with your own family growing up will most likely greatly influence your own relationships in the future.


"The family relationship is the first intimate relationship of your life, and you apply what you learn to later relationships. It's also where you may learn how to constructively communicate — or perhaps the inverse, to yell and scream — when you have a disagreement," said Penn State graduate student Mengya Xia in a  National Institutes of Health blog.

What are their hobbies?

How someone spends their free time will tell you a lot about them. Be sure to ask about their hobbies. Do you and the person you're getting to know have shared interests? It matters because, for the vast majority of us, our lives are spent working so that we can pursue the very hobbies we love.


Plus, your partner's hobbies may very well become your own. For example, if someone you're dating loves hiking, there's a chance they'll invite you on a hike and you just may find out that you really enjoy being out in nature breathing in nature. But if you already know you hate the outdoors and would prefer to spend your free time inside a movie theater, chances are this person won't be a perfect match. But what about the age-old saying that "opposites attract?" Well, it seems to be wrong.

"The research is pretty clear, actually, that it's not true," reports California psychologist Ramani Durvasula to BBC. People who have shared interests, temperaments, and all that do tend to be more likely to date." So while opposites may attract initially, the question to ask yourself is whether they have the ability to stick it out over the long haul.


Do they have close friends?

Someone's friendships will likely reveal a ton about who they are. Are they an introvert or more of an extrovert? Or are they somewhere in the middle? These are important questions to ask. See, people who have dear friends clearly value their friendships and are most likely trustworthy and reliable. You'll know this because, generally speaking, people with good character are able to sustain close friendships.


It may be a red flag if someone you're getting to know mentions a lot of broken friendships throughout their life. Sure, a few lapses of friendships is normal in life but someone who seems to have considerable issues maintaining friendships may have problems with relationships. On the other hand, someone who has a close bunch of friends is likely someone who knows how to communicate on some level and can be trusted.

The American Survey Center study reports that more than half of people consider themselves to have more than three good friends they trust and rely on. An old adage says that if you can count your close friends on one hand, you're lucky. 

What's the most essential thing to them in life?

Find out their priorities in life. And while doing so, become aware of your own. What can't you go without? Truly. Don't stop at something surface such as double chocolate chip ice cream. Try to get deep. Is it a sense of peace that is essential to you? Is it money and financial security? Is it good health? Is it a faithful relationship with God?


Get to know what is most important to them in order to truly and more personally know them. And then think about whether both of your priorities line up together. Where do they spend most of their time? And will you become a priority in their life if a relationship emerges? Life offers a lot of choices to us. What we choose to do with our limited and precious time reveals what makes us who we are.