If you’ve tried to start a conversation with an introvert and only received one-word replies, you might be asking the wrong questions. We have 30 “instead of this, try this” conversation starters to work some magic on the introverts among us. 

Why Are Conversation Starters For Introverts Different?

Conversation starters for introverts are different because introverts often struggle with small talk. They value genuine connections and can find small talk draining. For an introvert, relationships take time to build, so don’t expect every introvert to answer deep and personal questions if they don’t trust you already. 

Quick Tips for Extroverts

  • Talking louder and pushing for answers may give you the opposite result than you’re looking for. If an introvert feels pressured or bullied, they might withdraw.
  • Be patient. If an introvert is quiet, they may think deeply about the conversation. Or, they may not trust you yet. 
  • Include introverts in conversation by asking directly for their input.
  • Introverts often need time to respond; asking quickfire questions can make them feel overwhelmed and pressured. 
  • Introversion ≠ shyness. Don’t assume all individuals like a conversation.

How To Lead Into a Conversation Starter

Some of these questions can feel random and out of the blue, so acknowledge that before asking the question. Preface these questions with: 

  • Here’s a fun question….
  • I was wondering…
  • Someone asked me this question the other day, which was so interesting. I wanted to ask you also… 

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Whether you’re at work or talking about work, skip the boring questions! Introverts may tend to be awkward, but they also love stimulating conversation. You can help set them (and you!) up for conversation success by asking these questions. 

  1. Instead of: What do you do? Say: What’s been interesting to you recently?
  2. Instead of: We’re all going to grab lunch. Are you coming? Say: We’re all going to grab lunch; want me to hold you something? If your coworker regularly says no to group lunches, offer to bring something back for them.
  3. Instead of: What do you like to do? Say: Have you been learning anything new lately?
  4. Instead of: What do you like about your job? Say: Working on anything exciting these days? 
  5. Instead of: Do you like your job? Say: How long have you been with your company?

Hobbies and Interests to Spark Conversation

Why asking an introvert about their plans stresses them out:

  • You might be about to ask them to do something, and they’ve already planned to stay home and recharge.
  • They don’t want to look like they have no life beyond their cat and couch. 

Give all the homebody introverts in the world a break by asking better questions than, “What are your plans for the weekend?”. 

Meme with the text:

"Yeah I can't come out tonight. Super busy." But laying on the bed with a cat.
  1. Instead of: Any fun plans this weekend? Say: Reading anything interesting?
  2. Instead of: What’s your sign? Say: Do you have a pet? 
  3. Instead of: What’s your secret skill or hobby most people don’t know about? Say: What are your holiday plans? 
  4. Instead of: What did you do over the weekend? Say: What’s something you are really into right now?
  5. Instead of: Going out tonight? Say: Watching any good shows on Netflix?

Passions and Beliefs

Ask questions that are structured and even include examples in the question. Introverts often go blank when asked questions.

Offering structure around the question can help them think of something to reply to.

Pro Tip: Introverts are often thinkers, so give them a minute to respond. Please resist the urge to fill the silence; wait patiently and look at them with interest. 

  1. Instead of: Tell me about you. Say: What’s something recently that inspired you?
  2. Instead of: What’s your biggest regret? Say: What’s a lesson you learned that’s been important to you?
  3. Instead of: How are you doing? Say: What’s going on in your life lately? 
  4. Instead of: What are your views on politics and religion? Say: How have your beliefs changed as you’ve gotten older?
  5. Instead of: What’s your story? Say: Working on anything exciting?

Travel Conversation Starters

Asking too many questions can make an introvert shut down. Instead of always starting with a question, try prefacing it with a short comment. This also shows you’re not going to interrogate them or dominate the conversation with all of your stories. 

  1. Instead of: Don’t you get lonely as an introvert? Say: I love traveling, but I usually go with a group of friends. I’ve never gone solo-traveling, have you? (If yes, affirm how cool that is and ask what it’s like. If no, ask them what they think the significant differences are between solo travel and traveling with a group)
  2. Instead of: Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Say: I’ve always wanted to go to ___. Where have you always wanted to travel to? 
  3. Instead of: What’s your favorite country? Say: I’ve always wanted to live in ___. What about you? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  4. Instead of: What did you do over the summer? Say: I just went to ___, and I love/hated it. Have you been there? If yes, ask what they thought of it. If not, ask if they recommend another place to visit. 

Ask These Conversations Starters At Parties or Events

Instead of asking these common (sometimes annoying) questions, try flipping your perspective and use these unique conversation starters.

  1. Instead of: Why are you so quiet? Say, Have you ever attended a silent retreat? I’m curious what it’s like.
  2. Instead of: Are you sad? Say: What’s been keeping you busy lately?
  3. Instead of: Have you always been this shy? Say: Do you enjoy events like these?
  4. Instead of: What are you doing with your life now? Say: What habits or improvements are you working on?
  5. Instead of: How do you spend your days? Say: What’s your favorite splurge when you are having a bad day?

Family Life Conversation Starters

Talking about family can be risky, so pay attention to the nonverbals. If it looks like they feel uncomfortable, hedge on their answers, or even have a total lack of emotion, change the topic. Even better, ask them their opinion about family-related issues rather than asking about their personal experiences. 

  1. Instead of: Tell me about your family, Say: What is your birth order? 
  2. Instead of: Where did you grow up? Say: What did you like about where you grew up?
  3. Instead of: What was your favorite toy growing up? Say: Do you remember _____ (furbies, beanie babies, nerfs)? (If they don’t volunteer a story about the toy, launch into your account and ask them follow-up questions like how old they were when that toy was popular if they still have that toy, etc.)
  4. Instead of: Do you have kids? Say: What’s your family like?
  5. Instead of: Do you have a partner? Say: Have you ever been on a blind date? 
  6. Instead of: What’s your best childhood memory? Say: Where did you grow up–did you like it?

Learn more about what it means to be extroverted, What is Extroversion and the Advantages of Being an Extrovert.

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