We can all agree that meeting new people is one of the greatest thrills in life. Every single friend, lover, coworker, neighbor, acquaintance was once a stranger.What if you knew which psychological questions to ask them to determine whether they were compatible with you or not?
While it’s difficult to learn ALL you need to know about someone the first time you meet them, there are certain questions you can ask that give you a deeper insight into the nature of their character, according to psychologists.
And let’s be honest, simple questions like, “How is your day?” or “What’s on for the rest of the week”, aren’t exactly going to give you insight into who they truly are.
But the following questions are different.
They’re designed to give you a more accurate and deeper insight into a stranger you’ve just met so you can work out whether you two will get along in the future.
1) How would you describe yourself?
This question might seem like it’s nothing special in particular, but its ambiguous nature will reveal a lot about their personality.
Because you can answer this question in many different ways. They might talk about their personality, their job, their family. Whatever they answer will generally show their priorities in life.
For instance, if someone identified first as a dancer, then a singer, and lastly as a librarian, then you know that to this particular individual, being a librarian is just a job, while being a dancer and singer holds more significance.
If someone self-described as a world traveler, then you know this is a person that is serious about traveling.
Also pay attention to the type of words they use. If they use words like “observant” or “recreational” they’re more likely to be humble, whereas if they use words like “smart” or “athletic” they might be extroverted.
2) What is your biggest accomplishment?
This will give a critical insight into a person’s past, and will also reveal two subtle things about their personality.
Once again, it shows where a person’s interests lie as it’s an ambiguous question. Is it a sporting accomplishment? Professional? Personal? You will then see what areas in their life that they take pride in.
Also, how long did it take them to come up with this accomplishment? If it was a long time, it could be they have lots of accomplishments or few. You’ll have to use your sixth sense to find out.
3) Have you read any good books?
This is a great question and the answers will vary wildly. You will quickly be able to see whether you share the same interests.
First, you’ll easily be able to work out the non-readers from the readers. Some will be honest and say “they don’t read”. Other non-readers will take ages to work out what their last book was. This also shows they’re trying to impress you by searching for a book to say.
Among readers, you’ll find people who either prefer business or self-help books, or novels or science. Perhaps you can find someone who shares an interest in books about mindfulness.
4) What is your dream job?
Another ambiguous question that will reveal a lot.
Some will show they’re the creative type by highlighting creative pursuits. Some will try to be funny and describe jobs that don’t exist like “beer taster” or “puppy cuddler”.
Whatever they respond with, it will reveal whether they’ve thought about this question a lot or not at all.
Interestingly, this question gets asked a lot in real life job interviews.
5) Who is your personal hero?
Quite a meaningful question to ask. You’ll find some will describe a family member, while others will describe an athlete or pop culture celebrity. You’ll learn a lot about their values here. You can probe these questions by asking “what is it that makes this ‘hero’ stand out?”
Usually they’ll mention traits and characteristics that they aspire to have in themselves.
Do they look up to the civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr.? Or do they look up to Donald Trump? The answer to this question can send warning signals.
Here are 5 more questions whose answers will be truly revealing:
6) Do you have a life philosophy that you live by?
Although this question masquerades as a casual question, it is actually quite a personal one. The answer to this question will help you learn about this person’s perspective on life, their world view, and the values that they hope to adhere to. You will also be able to get a glimpse into what their morals are, or whether they have any.
For example, if someone says that their life philosophy is to make as much money as possible, you will know that their priority is making money, at any cost. Knowing their life philosophy soon after meeting them can save you a lot of time if their philosophy is incongruent with yours.
7) What do you like most about yourself?
Here, you will see this person reveal what their values and priorities are. Of course, it is all very subtle. If you see a person bragging, you will know that this person is either very insecure, or they may even have a narcissistic personality disorder. No one likes a braggart, so if you see this, the suggestion is that you move on from there.
A lot of the time, it is what they don’t reveal that tells you a lot. If their answer seems insincere and contrived, they could be manipulating you to like them. Trust your intuition.
8) If you could change the world, what would you change?
For most of us, our everyday lives are so individually focused, so it is not often that we think about how the world can change for the better. The answer to this question will reveal not only how much a person pays attention to current events, politics, and policies, but also the person’s values.
Is their answer selfish, or do they show a genuine concern for the well being of others and the planet?
9) What do you think is the meaning of life?
Here you will see whether this person has a religion or a particular spiritual view. You can also get a hint at what their values are here too. If they believe that the meaning of life is to learn as much as possible while on this planet, then you know that learning is a high priority in their life.
The answers to this question will be extremely interesting, and it is always nice when a potential friend shares similar religious or spiritual views.
10) Do you prefer working alone, or do you like working with others?
Some people work better alone. Others thrive when working with a group. If this potential friend is a co-worker or could be a potential partner, this question can give you a hint as to whether they can play nice with others. If they prefer to work alone, it could be because they don’t cooperate well in a team.
11) Tell me something about yourself that nobody would know
Because we spend so much time online these days, our knack for conversation is kind of going to the wayside. We don’t the chance to have deep, meaningful conversations anymore and when we do, they are usually rushed and high-level conversations.
We miss opportunities to talk about ourselves and ask others about themselves. It’s interesting to see what people miss talking about and this question will help you find out about the person sitting in front of you in a really in-your-face kind of way.
12) What is your deepest belief about life?
We all do things, but we rarely stop to think about where those actions or feelings come from. When you ask someone about their deepest belief, you’ll be able to quickly trace back the origin of other responses to other questions based on those beliefs.
For example, if they say that their deepest belief about life is something negative, you might be able to understand why they don’t ask for a raise at work or why they haven’t found love that lasts.
13) If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
This is a fun question that will tell you a lot of your conversation partner’s dreams and hopes. People who say things such as “a beach” or something less specific might be secretly telling you they don’t have any ambitions or maybe they don’t want to work.
Or, if they say they would love to wake up in their Grandmother’s house because they haven’t been there since they were a kid, it’s a good sign that they are sentimental and have good reflection skills.
14) What’s the one thing you wish you could have a do-over for?
You’ll get all kinds of answers for this question and in fact, you could spend an entire evening talking about this one question.
Everyone has multiple answers and each answer has its own unique backstory that allows for lots of probing and follow-up questions.
15) How do you work on yourself?
If this is a question you ask someone you are dating, you want them to give you a good answer such as “go to the gym”, “read a book a week”, or “take classes.” You don’t want to be dating someone who has peaked. Nobody likes people without ambition.
16) What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been through?
This is a gut-wrenching question and a lot of people might not like talking about their bad experiences but if you can get someone to open up about their worst experiences, you can trust that they’ll basically tell you anything whenever you ask in the future.
17) Who is the most important person in your life?
Sometimes, this question elicits interesting answers. Don’t expect everyone to say their mother is the most important person in their life. Not everyone loves their mother.
Some people are going to say they really looked up to a coach or friend or parent of a friend. It’s very telling about the kind of people that influence your conversation partner.
18) What did you discover about yourself when your last relationship ended?
A lot of relationships leave people feeling burned and bitter. If your conversations lead you to believe that your partner is feeling this way, you’ll want to ask yourself how they have tried to help themselves get over those feelings.
Are they playing the victim or did they learn to overcome those feelings and get on with their life?
19) How does anger manifest itself in your body?
You want to know how people let anger come about in their bodies so you can recognize it if it happens. This isn’t for you, so much as it is to help them figure out when something is bothering them. Some people will get red in the face, others will feel shaky or weak.
20) What question do you always want people to ask you about yourself?
We love to talk about ourselves, don’t we? Have you ever been at a party dying for someone to ask you something about yourself? Sure you have. It happens to everyone. Ask someone what kinds of questions they want to answer and then let them talk while you take it all in.
Have Fun With These Questions
Once you spend a little bit of time with someone, these questions are perfect to get to know this person a little (or a lot) better. How they react and how they answer them will reveal a lot about their personality.