17 unique conversation starters that are better than “what do you do?”

Tired of the predictable conversation starters and boring small talk?

Looking for some unique icebreakers that will make you stand out?

Well then, you’ve come to the right place!

I’m about to share with you a list of some truly original conversation starters that are not only better than, “What do you do?” but will also leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet.

Say goodbye to boring clichés and read on!

1) “If you could invite any three people – living or dead – to dinner, who would it be and why?”

This is a great way to get a conversation going!

It gets the other person thinking about their ultimate guest list and their answer will give you insight into who they are and what they’re interested in.

And guess what – that will inspire you with follow-up questions that will keep the conversation going.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the three people I’d invite to dinner are Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, and Stanley Kubrick. Look them up!

2) “What’s the most unforgettable positive experience you’ve ever had?”

Be sure that you include the word “positive”, you don’t want to get the person to start thinking about some traumatic experience, like that time they got mugged!

This question will get them thinking about the good times they’ve had and could start a discussion about the various adventures and travel experiences you’ve had.

3) “If you could magically wake up tomorrow with a new skill or talent, what would it be?”

I love this question!

I’d definitely want to wake up knowing how to play the piano. I really think that being able to play an instrument is a great skill to have.

Not only will this question get the other person thinking about skills they admire and possibly aspire to have, but it’s also something you can think about to share with them.

Think about it, what skill or talent would it be?

4) “What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?”

This thought-provoking question is definitely not what I’d call small talk and is definitely better than “What do you do?”

It’s sure to give you insight into the kind of person they are and if their answer is interesting, the conversation will flow naturally from there on.

5) “If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?”

Forget about money, work, and responsibilities – you want the other person to find themselves in front of a teleportation machine.

Ask them his question and you’ll have them in a sci-fi scenario where anything is possible.

Talk about an icebreaker!

6) “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and how has it influenced your life?”

This is another thought-provoking question that will get the other person to think about valuable lessons learned and guidance they’ve received.

It may not be something you want to ask at a party, but it would be great for some kind of work function or seminar or when you approach someone you really admire. 

7) “If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be and why?”

What a fun question!

It’s a great way to start up a conversation with someone at a party or club – and if you’re looking to ask someone out, it’s definitely an original pickup line!

It will get the other person thinking about what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes and could lead to a very entertaining and insightful talk.

I can’t even think of the answer right at the top of my head!

8) “What’s your favorite book or movie?”

So, this question may seem like a fun and light question – which it is – but it’s also a good way to get to know someone.

You see, the type of movie or book they’re into will reveal a lot about someone’s personality.

Maybe you’ll find out that the person doesn’t really like to read, or on the contrary, that they’re a total bookworm and that they can’t pick just one book.

And when it comes to movies, you’ll find out if they’re into adventures or romance, or intellectual indie flicks.

All in all, it’s a way better conversation starter than “What do you do?”

Wouldn’t you agree?

9) “If you could spend a day doing anything without any limitations, what would you do?”

Here’s another fun and somewhat unusual question… anything and without limitations… hmm

Well, it sure gets one thinking, doesn’t it?

Do you know what it would be for you? I’m thinking I’d probably want to eat Italian gelato all day without getting sick from all the sugar.

It sure is a good icebreaker.

10) “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”

Another fun and interesting question for a party or another fun event where you want to start up a conversation with something better than “What do you do?”

There’s a lot to consider when answering, I mean they could pick anything from flying to having x-ray vision to superhuman strength.

You’ll probably end up laughing together a few minutes into your conversation.

11) “What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever learned about a different culture?”

This is another “deep” and thought-provoking question that you may want to use in a more serious setting – like a work thing.

It’s a really good question if you know that person has done quite a bit of traveling for example and you’d like to get to know them and find out about their experiences.

12) “What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing you’ve ever discovered about yourself?”

Here’s the thing about this question – it goes straight to the point and lets the other person know you’re really interested in learning about who they are.

And yup, you’ve guessed it, it’s a great way to start talking to someone you really like and are thinking of asking out.

It shows you’re interested, it gets them thinking, and it definitely beats, “What do you do?”

13) “If you could relive one day of your life, which day would you choose and why?”

Trust me, this is a great way to get someone to talk to you and reveal a little something about themselves.

It’s one of those icebreakers that nobody expects and one which will definitely make you stand out from the crowd.

Be ready to have an answer to this question yourself, because once they answer, they’re bound to ask you, “What about you?”

14) “If you could invent a brand new holiday, what would it be and how would it be celebrated?”

Now, my holiday would be, First snow of the season, and it would be celebrated in countries where – duh – it snows. Obviously, the date would vary each year which I think will make it an extra fun and special holiday.

It would be a public holiday celebrated outdoors making snow angels and snowballs.

All in all, there’s no doubt that this is a unique conversation starter.

15) “What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?”

There’s something flirtatious about this question which is why I think it should be used when you’re trying to ask someone out.

It will get them excited to talk about some of their thrilling experiences and provide a glimpse into their appetite for adventure and risk-taking, and lead to captivating tales of adrenaline-fueled moments.

16) “If you could have a dream job, completely unrelated to your current field, what would it be?”

Maybe you’ll find out that they’ve already got their dream job or the question will spark a conversation about passions, dreams, and alternate career paths.

It’s a good alternative to the boring old, “What do you do?”

17) “Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had a chance to yet?”

Finally, this question about unfulfilled desires is a great way to start up a conversation and get to know someone – especially if you have a bit of a crush on them.

It will show them that you’re really interested in getting to know them and hopefully, you’ll create an atmosphere of excitement and possibility.

How does that sound?

And there you have it folks, the next time you want to approach someone and talk to them, forget about, “What do you do?” and instead use one of these 17 unique conversation starters that you can use in a variety of settings.

Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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