The phrase ‘small talk’, can initiate an instant cringe-worthy response. The idea of being in a room with virtual strangers and forced to engage in a repertoire of surface-level topics is enough to make you want to run the other way. A Harvard study, which analyzed over 300 online conversations, found that when you followed the classic small-talk opener “how are you?” with more meaningful questions, you were found to be far more likable, and the relationships you formed had greater longevity. 


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On his most recent episode of “On Purpose”, the number one rated Health podcast in the world, former monk Jay Shetty talks about why small talk should be banned, and questions you can ask instead. With the Holiday party’s at their peak right now, it’s the perfect time to try a new approach with these 9 questions.


(sourced from “On Purpose with Jay Shetty – Why Small Talk Should Be Banned & 9 Questions That Go Deeper”

  1. What was the last lie you told, and would you tell it again?
  2. If your younger self met you now, what would make them happy, and what would make them sad about you today?
  3. What situations make you feel awkward and why?
  4. What did you buy recently that you now regret?
  5. Have you ever been to jail, been arrested, or gotten away with something of the like?
  6. What do you think makes a person most attractive, and how attractive are you on that scale?
  7. Complete this sentence. If you really, really knew me, you would know that…
  8. What is the one thing you fight about most in your romantic relationship?
  9. What would you talk about the most in a one-hour therapy session?

Shetty suggests answering these questions for yourself and asking them to others. Have fun with it, and stay open to what you hear! 



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