Meeting new people can be exciting, but it can also be difficult to tell who is genuinely interested in getting to know you.
Some people may simply be going through the motions, while others truly want to connect on a deeper level. So how can you tell who is truly interested?
I’ve had my share of failed attempts at friendships, as well as friendships that came from people who truly surprised me.
And thinking back on it all, I realize that people who were genuinely interested in my life tend to use specific questions to show their genuine curiosity.
So let’s have a look at what they are.
1) What are your plans for today / this evening / this weekend?
This is probably the most commonly asked question of this list, and something you may even hear on a daily basis.
To be fair, not everyone who asks this will do so because they truly want to get to know you. In fact, most of the time I find people ask me this without even truly listening to what I say, or just to pass the time.
But honestly, if someone has just met you, they need to start somewhere. They can’t get to the deeper questions without knowing the basics about you first.
So even people who truly want to get to know you start with questions like these. The difference is in how they listen to your answer.
In particular, they’ll actually remember what you say, and with each time you talk you’ll know each other a little better every time.
2) How do you spend your time?
You must have heard people ask you “What do you do for a living?” or “What are your hobbies?” about a million and twelve times.
(Personally, I find it one of the most annoying aspects of meeting someone new.)
But here’s an interesting variation I learned from a communication expert recently.
The thing is, those questions can be a bit uncomfortable for someone who, for example, has recently lost their job or is so stressed and busy that they have no time for hobbies.
So by phrasing your question “How do you spend your time?” you take any pressure and expectations off them and give them the freedom to share what their life is like at the moment.
3) What do you think about XYZ?
After questions like the two above, a person can start to get to know you with slightly deeper questions, such as asking for your opinions.
Obviously, people can do this superficially too. But you can easily tell if that’s the case by the way they listen to your answer.
Do they pause and turn their full attention to you, giving you space to express your response? Do they listen actively by nodding, asking follow-up questions, and mirroring what you say?
That’s what people do when they’re truly interested.
On the other hand, people who are asking just out of politeness or habit will often glance away, fidget, or seem anxious to have their turn at speaking again.
They may also give superficial answers like “Oh I see” and turn the conversation back to themselves or another topic as soon as you’re done talking.
Another sign is the way this question is phrased itself. People who really want to hear you out often ask open-ended questions.
Compare that to a yes/no question like “Did you like it?” and it’s clear what kind of question invites you to share more of yourself.
4) What led you to this decision?
More concisely, this question can be summarized with one word: “why?”
Basically, anytime someone wonders about the reasoning behind a decision of yours, they’re interested in your thought process.
And even that one word — “why” — already conveys that, if the person truly listens to your answer as I explained above.
But people who truly want to get to know you often put more thought into the question as well, and make it more specific for the context.
It could be “What led you to this decision?”, or something like “What factors did you consider while deciding?” or even “What convinced you that this was the right decision?”
This is a great question to ask because it helps a person uncover not just your final decision, but also your values and hesitations that contributed to it.
5) What was the highlight of your week?
Here’s a question that I actually learned from relationship experts — but you can easily apply it to any kind of platonic or professional relationship as well. (And the best conversationalists do!)
If a person asks you about the highlight of your week, they are inviting you to think about the most positive thing in your recent memory.
Therefore, they are reinforcing optimism and joy in your life by helping you focus on the best things in it.
And at the same time, they have the opportunity to learn what you value the most, and what brings you the most happiness.
This is some of the most valuable things a person can learn about you, because they may be able to use it to reinforce their relationship with you or create more of those great memories for you.
Or if nothing else, they’ll know what to ask you about the next time you speak.
6) What’s something you’re looking forward to in the coming weeks?
This question is very similar to the one above, in the sense that it makes people hone in on the most positive aspects of their lives.
But this time, rather than the past, you’re asked to think about the future.
It’s also a great question for someone who truly wants to get to know you, because they can learn more about your hopes and dreams, and what you’d like to shape your life into.
If you’re looking forward to something, chances are you want more of that in your life, and so the person is learning what they can expect your life to look like more and more as you continue on your personal growth journey.
It’s also deeper than the most typical questions like “What are you doing this weekend?”, although that can also be a great question to ask if you genuinely listen to the answer.
However, this variation is something that only someone who’s really interested in getting to know you would think to ask.
7) How’s [your hobby/side project] coming along?
Another great strategy for someone who wants to get to know you is asking about progress for things you’re working on.
Simpler and even more commonly used variations are “How’s it going?” or “How are things?”
But I’d argue that those show only superficial interest because the person doesn’t put in enough effort to specify something they know you’re engaged in.
Or perhaps they don’t know you well enough to do so — but in that case, they would probably ask you about your interests first to find out.
That’s why this question tends to show a person really wants to get to know you, because it means they already took the effort to find out about your hobbies, remember them, and formulate a personalized question for them.
As I mentioned above, how they react to your answer is key. A person who really wants to build a bond with you will listen attentively, and will likely also remember your answer for the next time they ask.
8) Have you tried anything new recently?
Whenever I ask this question, I find people often have to take a few moments to think.
Because modern life often gets us into a routine – which is great for staying on track with your goals and creating comfort in your life.
But it can also feel like we just do the same things over and over again, without trying anything new.
And that’s why I love this question so much. When someone asks you this, they give you the chance to remember the new and exciting things in your life, even if you would have forgotten them otherwise.
At the same time, they get to learn about what’s outside your comfort zone, and what sort of experiences you’re open to trying.
You might discover an interest in common, or even be able to get some advice from them for a new skill you’re trying to gain.
9) How did that make you feel?
Feelings run our lives, so it’s no surprise that so many questions revolve around them.
But most people may resort to simpler variations like “did you like it?” where even just a “yes” or “no” would suffice.
I once gave a long and well thought-out answer to that question and saw the person’s eyes glaze over after my second sentence — definitely didn’t make me feel heard!
On the other hand, when someone asks about my feelings in an open-ended way such as “How did you feel about that?”, I normally find that they actually want to get to know me.
This question isn’t just a binary choice between “like” and “didn’t like”, but allows you to answer from an endless array of emotional possibilities.
You may have been surprised, or elated, or nervous, or indifferent — all of those are fair answers, and invite further meaningful conversation.
Deepening your connections with the right people
Now you know 9 questions that a person may ask you when they genuinely want to get to know you.
This will help you tell when a person is really trying to develop a relationship with you — and therefore, you’ll know which relationships may be worth you investing your own energy into as well.
Hopefully, this will help you build new connections with some awesome people around you. And when you see someone interesting, don’t hesitate to try using these questions yourself!