Whether you’re interested in starting a romantic relationship or interviewing candidates for a job opening, getting to know someone is crucial.
The problem is sometimes, that process can take a long time. Too long.
And there’s always the fear that, after months of interaction, they turn out not to be a great fit for you.
What a waste of time.
So what can you do instead?
It all starts with asking the right questions.
With the right questions, you can learn about a person’s true personality, worldview, values, and their outlook on life.
The best part?
You don’t need a psychology background to ask them.
So if you want to learn more about someone within a matter of minutes, here are 15 psychologically revealing questions to ask them.
1. Who Are Your Role Models in Life?
Role models are people we aspire to be.
They have qualities that we want ourselves to have.
That’s why who one admires tells you what someone wants to become, and even how they structure their views on life.
On your first meeting with them, they seem like very kind and gentle people.
But if you ask them who they admire and they reply with well-known dictators or infamous convicted murderers, those already might signal wild red flags.
In contrast, if they’re aggressive but they admire someone like Gandhi, that might also give you an insight into their personality.
2. What Do You Think is The Meaning of Life?
If you ask 5 different people what they think the meaning of life is, you might receive 5 distinct answers.
That’s because how someone sees meaning in life is personal.
One might say the meaning is to live in the moment and enjoy.
That tells you they’re a more relaxed, easy-going individual.
On the other hand, if they say the meaning is to chase your dreams and make them come true, it’s a different story.
It could mean they’re ambitious and hustle hard towards their goals.
3. What has been Your Greatest Accomplishment So Far?
Everyone has a different metric for what they consider to be a success or a failure.
To someone whose family has not been able to complete college, graduating could be their greatest accomplishment; they might value education and making their family proud.
If it’s to buy a car with their own money, it could mean they value their independence and hard work.
4. What Did You Want to Be When You Were A Child?
Some of us wished to be firefighters, police officers, or astronauts.
The dream jobs we had as a child can give some insight into a person’s personality.
Contrasting the answer and their current job as an adult can already be the start of a good “getting to know you” conversation.
If they work as an accountant now but dreamt of being an artist before, that already tells you there’s a creative side to them.
It also means there’s an entire story in between that you can explore as your conversation goes on.
5. What Was The Most Difficult Thing You’ve Had to Go Through?
A study suggests that traumatic events can have positive effects on the way someone develops their identity.
For instance, if the person had to struggle through years of hardships, whether it be at a job they don’t enjoy or with people that don’t treat them well, it could help develop resilience within them.
This is why understanding what they had to go through will help you get a clearer picture of who they really are.
But this isn’t always easy; people aren’t often open to sharing their past traumas with people they’ve just met.
So this question is best saved once you’ve gotten to know each other better.
6. How Would Others Describe You?
Asking this question is a test to gauge their self-awareness and how they interact with others.
If they say other people tell them they’re a good friend, but they themselves don’t feel that way, it could mean they’re being humble.
If others describe them as being blunt, but they only think they’re telling the truth and doing the right thing, it might cause miscommunication problems down the line.
7. Would You Want to Know When You Were Going to Die?
This question might be a little morbid for some; people don’t often want to talk about dying.
How they react to the question already tells you about their personality.
If they’re shocked, it might mean they aren’t prepared for it and still figuring things out.
If they aren’t, it might mean they’ve proactively planned their life and are motivated to keep moving forward.
8. If Someone Stole Bread to Feed Their Family, Would You Consider Them A Bad Person?
The classic Robin Hood question; do the ends justify the means?
There is no objectively right or wrong answer, only different perspectives. Asking this question will reveal to you the person’s moral stance.
A study suggested that how one views topics of morality, justice, and fairness has an impact on their psychology.
This will then tell you more about who this person is, whether they’re strict or relaxed, for instance. It may also show you what they value in others.
9. What Would You Want To Change In Yourself?
Since some people may not be comfortable sharing their weaknesses (or they don’t realize that a trait they’re proud of is even a weakness), this question is a way to get around that.
You aren’t exactly asking them what their flaws are – just the parts of themselves they wish were better.
Maybe it’s their height.
In that case, they might be conscious about their appearance. Maybe it’s their time management.
That might mean their work ethic may need improvement but they understand the value of working hard.
10. If You Had The Chance To Change The World, What Would You Do?
Asking this question will let you know what they value and what they first see as a problem in the world.
Maybe there are social injustices being committed in remote countries that haven’t made the news, but they’d want to do something about it.
That might mean they’re sensitive to social issues and have strong advocates.
Maybe they want to improve the way we connect online.
That could mean they’re interested in technical innovation and human connections.
11. What’s Your Dream Job?
They might be working in a bank now, but secretly dream of being a writer.
They might work at a corporate job, but wish to live a simple life on the farm.
This question reveals to you where their passions lie, and what kind of person they actually want to be. If they want to write, it might mean they’re more creative than you first thought.
Or if they want to work on a farm, it might mean they want to move their body more and get their hands dirty.
12. What’s The Best Book You Read Recently?
The book they tell you will give you much insight into their personality.
If it’s a book about physics and astronomy, that might tell you they are curious individuals.
If it’s a book about theology that teaches good morals, that may let you know that they are deeply connected with their spirituality.
13. What Do You Do To Relax?
If they answer that they like to have a drink with their friends, that might tell you that they can build strong relationships with others, or they’re more extroverted.
If they say they’d rather spend the evening with a good book, it could mean they’re more introverted and prefer their own solitude.
14. Who Knows You The Most?
This is a gauge to see how they form relationships with others.
If they say it’s their mother and siblings, it could mean that family is very important to them.
If it’s their spouse, that could tell you they value loyalty and honesty in their relationships.
If it’s their friends, it could mean they’re more extroverted and can connect with different groups of people.
15. What Do You Wish You Could Redo?
It could be a relationship they knew should’ve worked if they were only a better listener.
Or their college life, if they had only said yes to their studies more and to parties less.
A study found that what a person regrets the most reflects the parts of their life where they see potential for growth, change and improvement.
Besides that, sharing their regrets and being vulnerable allows you both to connect with each other in a deeper way.
Moving Forward with The Relationship
These may not be your typical small talk questions, but that’s the point.
They’re meant to reveal a deeper side of someone, of who they are, not what they do.
Knowing who someone truly is will help you both form a better relationship with one another.
If you’re a hiring manager and you’ve realized they’re very collaborative, you now know it might be ideal to give them solo assignments
. If you’re looking for a romantic partner and you learn they’re ambitious, it could help you feel secure knowing they actually have plans for their life, and they aren’t being aimless.
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