Relationships need you to ask meaningful conversation questions that show you care. They can show your partner your involvement and interest in what’s going on in their life. It’s very important to not only have interest in your partner, their joys, troubles, and interests but to convey that interest and value to them.
Caring can be shown really well with the types of questions and conversations you bring up and encourage. Here are some conversation topics and more specific questions to bring further clarity to how to begin and elaborate upon meaningful conversation questions.
What was the highlight of your day?
Asking your partner initial, open-ended questions about how their day went physically and emotionally can really help to show you care and open them up to further conversation and relation. Something more in the format of this given question or similar can come across as less generic and thus disingenuous than something like, “how was your day today?” It will also allow more specific and elaborate responses about the positive aspects of their day.
What is something that made your day or made you laugh today?
This question is an example of an elaboration question based on the previous question about the positive aspects of their day. It is an opportunity to hear stories or stand-out moments of their day, the things that stood out. Meaningful conversation questions such as these are also an important opportunity to relay your own personal experiences and anything of your day and past memories that their responses bring up in your mind.
You should toe the line, however, and not overwhelm or overshadow their relation of their day by discussing your own. These moments are about them and showing them you care. Conversation of your own should be kept in the perspective of allowing equal relation of experiences and connections between the two of you and as further encouragement to their sharing.
Don’t take meaningful conversation questions and elaboration as opportunities to simply talk about yourself to them as opposed to getting to know them and allowing them to bond to you and share their life experiences. Do things such as this routinely and their behavior will often be similar back toward you anyway.
What upset you today or has been frustrating you?
Relaying the hardships and frustrations of their day is also highly important for you to show value for, interest in hearing, and knowing about. Ask about any frustrations of their day and invite elaboration with body language and specific follow-up questions. Make sure in your conversations that your body language conveys the value and interest you are working to show. Maintain eye contact, don’t be doing other tasks, and make sure you’re facing them.
Has anything been ongoingly frustrating for you in your job/life?
Letting your partner relieve the stresses and tensions of their daily life can be important to your relationship and the mental health of your partner. Sometimes it can be a lot easier to work through or even let go of frustrations if done through the invitation of someone else to talk about it. It shows you are there for whatever is bothering them when it comes up.
Regularly asking these questions and previous ones can also set up important cycles for positive habit-forming behavior both from yourself toward them and them toward you. As their partner or friend, you want to be the person they come to most with their joys and pains. Show sympathy without immediately going into problem-solving mode for them. Remember it’s just as important to simply be heard in what you’re going through as it is to be helped through a situation or circumstance.
Has there been anything rewarding in your job and/life recently?
It is important to separate positive and negative questions and resulting responses like this prompt and the previous so as to give individual value to their experiences and be able to give equal, substantial treatment to all sides. You will also get more in-depth, elaborated responses from them through more focused, individualized questions. A question that asks too much about too many things at once doesn’t necessarily show value in what they actually have to say and can often come across as you just trying to check a relationship behavior box so to speak.
How is your relationship with ______ going?
You can tune this question more specific to who you are asking meaningful conversation questions to and their closest relationships. This includes who you are interested in hearing about the state of their relationship to and the relationships you know are hard or difficult for one or more people. “Have you talked to ___ recently?” such as their mom, dad, stepdad, other close family members, and past or present friends.
Allow them to elaborate what they wish naturally without aggressive pressing. With a difficult topic area such as this, it’s a key time to share about one or more of your own difficult relationships in the past or currently and how that went or is going in order to encourage conversation and discussion. To encourage vulnerability, it’s very effective to show some vulnerability yourself.
How are your career goals going?
This question can be guided by how often you see the other person. If they are someone you see often or every day, you are able to keep up and continue daily with more specific, in-depth questions than this. However, the general topic and its effectiveness remain the same. Keeping up with the career patterns, goals, and interests of the people you care about shows you care.
Encourage their sharing but also contribute to how your own career goals are currently going. Help them with any clarity or ideas they might desire or you find helpful to them. Knowing their career goals, and definitely life goals, as well as their current progress or hardships toward can help you learn more about them. This includes their personality and perspectives. You are also showing you care by allowing them to share their joys and struggles in another area.