Developing Real Relationships
I want to create a relationship with you.
This is how some emails I receive begin. Because they’re from spammers who think this opening line will motivate me to contact them for some business opportunities.
Therefore, I want to scream at my laptop, “Well you don’t get everything you want!” Then, in my mind, I question their use of the word “create.” It’s just wrong. Then I hit “delete.”
We do want relationships. So do our teens and children.
Relationships, which can mature to friendships, start with noticing the people around us and engaging them in conversations. But, that’s a dying art because of texting, social media, and self-centeredness.
So how do we engage people and get to know them? We can ask better questions. We can be fully present to listen to people’s answers and ask follow-up questions that honor them. We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people. Right? Let me write that again: We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people.
Ask These Questions
Here are my favorite questions to ask when wanting to get to know someone better. Some of them I ask during my first encounter. And others I ask after we have gotten to know each other a bit.
- What would you like me to know about you? (This is my all-time favorite because it honors them. They can decide whether to share about family, career, their past, their passion, or something else. As a result, I often learn about their priorities by what they choose to talk about.)
- What are you passionate about? Why?
- What fascinates you? Why?
- What concerns you? Why?
- What’s important to you?
- What you are most grateful for?
- What breaks your heart? Why?
- What brings you great joy?
- What has been one of your greatest victories?
- If you could give advice to people, what would you share?
- Who are some of your favorite people? Why?
More Questions That Will Help You Get to Know Others
I love my Facebook communities so I asked them, “What’s a unique question we could ask someone we wanted to get to know better?” There are some great questions here. I’ve printed this out so I remember these. I want to honor people and get to know them better.
- What makes you have joy in the midst of a crisis? I am just curious because I see how well you manage your family and your life.
- What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever faced and walked through?
- When do you see yourself as the best version of you? (Ex: in a deadline crunch I am my best driven self.)
- What inspires you? And why?
- I am intrigued by you. I would love to hear your story.
- What is one occasion when it was undeniable that Jesus was present and at work in a situation?
- What is your biggest dream? Why? Are you taking steps to accomplish that dream?
- What’s the hardest part of your job (or if there’s no ‘job’ insert the words “typical day.”) Or what part do you like doing the least? You could ask the opposite too. What’s your favorite part of your job.
- What is your passion? What motivates and moves you?
- Whom do you most admire and why? What character qualities do you most admire in your spouse /or best friend /or child?
- What is your life motto or favorite Bible verse?
- If I wanted to get to know you better what kinds of questions would I ask you?
And A Few Fun Questions
- Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
- What makes you smile?
- What book has influenced you the most and why?
- Do you have any pets? Why did you choose them?
- What has your favorite vacation been?
- Can you picture an elephant in your mind? Describe your elephant to me.
(This helps to learn how the person thinks/processes/learns.)
- What is your least favorite food?
- If you have a few hours of down time to do whatever you want to do to recharge, what would you do?
- What is the wildest adventure you’ve ever had?
- Tell me four things about yourself, with a catch. One of them has to be a lie. I will then guess which is the false answer.
- When I hear someone has gone on a trip I like to ask, “What was your favorite thing?” I prefer that over, “Did you have a good time?” I get more than just a casual ‘yes’ answer.
- If you could only have one, would you choose salsa or guacamole, and why?
- When was the last time you cried and why?
- What’s the neatest thing you ever made?
- Tell me your story.
- If you could buy a ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
- What is your favorite place in the whole world?
- So far, what month has been your favorite this year? Then, what happened?
- Say you’re arrested. Who’s the first person you’d call to bail you out?
- What is your favorite food and how do you fix it?
A Little More Personal
- You have died and come to heaven. In heaven there is all understanding and completion, but before you step through those gates to become whole, you have an opportunity. A question. Just one question. Anything your heart has most desired to know. What do you ask?
- How can I pray for you?
- Who took a chance on you and offered you an opportunity to do something meaningful — even if you, or they, didn’t feel you were totally ready for it yet — and what happened?
- Hi, you look like a very interesting person. I’d love to hear your story.
- If you could spend a few hours with anyone who has ever lived in history, who would that be? Why?
- What are you excited about?
- What are you hoping for today?
- If you save one photo from your life what would it be of?
- What fact most surprised you when you learned it?
- If you weren’t here, what would you normally be doing this time of day, this day of the week?
- What circumstance in your life has caused you to grow the most?
- Who was the person that changed your life and how did they do that?
- If you could know anything about anything, what would you want to know?
- How would you like to change the world?
- What’s on the top of your bucket list?
- What is your biggest fear? And what do you love most?
- Can you talk freely about your past? What are your aspirations for the future?
- What is the one thing you are most passionate about and why.
- If money wasn’t a problem what would you like to do and why?
Or These Personal Questions
- What are passionate about? What sets you ablaze? A certain kind of movie, a certain kind of food, a certain kind outdoor activity… like surfing or jet skiing?
- If you could trade places with another person, who would it be and why?
- In what ways are you smart?
- What’s the hardest situation you feel like God bailed you out of in a really cool way?
- What keeps you busy during the week?
- What’s your greatest fear?
- If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Getting To Know Their Background A Little More
- Tell me a story of your name and how you got it.
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What did you like about the place where you grew up? What things did your parents do when you were young that you really appreciate now?
- Where did you grow up?
- What truth has most impacted the way you live? How?
- What’s the most heroic thing someone did for you and who did it?
- How did you come to know Christ?
- What are the top 3 most significant events in your life that changed you as a person?
- If you could live in a different city, where would that be and why?
- What’s on your bucket list?
- What made you giggle as a child?
- What book are you reading or what kind of music do you listen to?
- How do you like to spend your time?
- What do you love most about your life?
- When do you feel the most alive?
- What is a personal goal you have set or achieved?
- What are you good at?
- If you could do one thing and be guaranteed not to fail, what would you do?
Will You Use These Questions?
So, what do you think? Will you use some of these? Will you share some with your teens so they can get to know peers in unique ways? Maybe some would be fun to ask our teens. Let me know how the questions work. I’d love to know!