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Let’s Talk: Dinner Conversation Starters

People gathering together to share in the bonds of friendship and family can contribute to deeper relationships and understandings, but that type of evening takes preparation that goes beyond meal planning and ambiance. Whether you’re having your first family meal in your new apartment or trying to have one meal that doesn’t erupt into raised voices and hurt feelings, dinner conversation starters can help develop a meaningful dialogue that contributes to shared opinions and understanding with minimal hostility or empty chit-chat.

What Do You Think About That?

Asking opinions can be a dangerous rabbit hole because questions about thoughts and views can be deep-seated, leading to vigorous defense if challenged. The general rule is to stay away from politics and religion, and it’s a rule for a reason. When discussing opinions, try to focus conversations on less volatile topics like life, love, hobbies and interests.

  • How have you changed over this last (year, month, week)?
  • What are the most important aspects of a relationship?
  • If you could have any job, what would it be and why?

What Inspires You?

Motivation is unique to every individual, and understanding that can broaden relationships and foster trust. The key to asking about goals and motivation is to suspend bias and connect with someone on his or her level. Ask questions that are open-ended and really focus on the response: What is your proudest moment of the last (year, month, week)? If you could have any new skill, what would it be? What do you daydream about?

sk questions that are open-ended and focus on the response:

: What is your proudest moment of the last (year, month, week)? If you could have any new skill, what would it be? What do you daydream about?

Are You an Exclamation Point or a Period?

Not all dinner conversation has to be serious or rooted in deep, meaningful connection. Having fun is equally important to a successful dinner party. Be willing to ask ridiculous questions and laugh.

  • If you were a season, what season would you be?
  • What’s the most creative thing you could do with a coconut?
  • Would you rather be Ahab or Moby Dick?

Dinner parties are more than food and chats about the weather. Take the opportunity to fill your home, old or new, with laughter and meaningful relationships.

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