If you have introverted tendencies like me, you detest small talk. Sure, there’s always a place for it. A casual chit-chat in the office, catching up with someone you know, or just killing time. Small talk is suitable for all these occasions. But there are some friends with whom you want to discuss the deep thoughts and questions that make you think about things you never would have bothered with otherwise.
You want to have thought-provoking conversations, dig deeper, and spark a dialogue on heavy topics. Besides, it’s a great way to enjoy your free time and also gain a fresh perspective on things. And who knows – you might end up learning a thing or two. So, without much ado, let’s take a deep dive and explore some of the most mind-boggling questions you will ever come across
Questions that make you think & ask when you want to know someone
These questions are great when you want to start a conversation with someone you know but aren’t friends with yet. They can help you get the dialogue flowing without any awkward pauses.
- What do you find beautiful? What inspires you?
This question looks very simple on the surface. But it will force the other person to dig deeper. You will soon realize that beauty is all around you, and that you only need to look to find it. You can find inspiration from the simplest of creatures, and even learn something from people you don’t like. Who knows – it just might change your life.
- Was there a point when your life changed forever? Was it a good change or an adverse change? How did you react to it?
This is a good question if you are getting to know someone you have just met. You can follow up with graver questions – was it a single turning point? Or was it a slow change? Did they know then that their life was going to change forever? Or are they still waiting for that moment?
- What stands between who you are now and who you want to be?
This will help you learn what makes the other person tick. What are their deepest desires, and how do they see the future? You can also follow up by asking what hurdles do they expect in their path, and how do they plan to overcome them?
- What’s your idea of heaven?
This one is a thinker. Everyone has an ideal scenario in their minds. To truly understand what motivates someone, ask them this question. It will reveal everything they love about life and more.
- What helps you stay calm when you are stressed or depressed? Are there any coping techniques you use? What makes you upset in the first place?
On the surface, these questions sound very simple. The truth is, we all have our own demons. Things we find hard to deal with. Maybe you’ll find something familiar that bothers both of you. Perhaps you can find the solution together. And if nothing else, you will find out what to avoid so that your new friend feels comfortable with you.
It’s worth asking yourself these questions too. Listening to the other person and their experiences can also help you on your journey of self-growth.
Questions that make you think hard
Frank dialogues and deep questions are what make our connections with those around us more meaningful, while also contributing to our subjective well-being. So, it is clear that one should never stop asking questions. Here are some thought-provoking questions that will make you lose the track of time and think hard about the things around you:
- What does it mean to accept and love ourselves for who we are? Does this mean we stop thinking of personal growth? Does accepting the status quo mean we abandon self-improvement?
This is a great question – one I have often spent time discussing and agonizing over with my friends. It will spark a conversation about the journey we call life, what our personal values are, and what do we define as success.
- If you could travel to another planet, and you could never come back, would you do it?
This question explores the possibility of space travel, colonizing other planets, and what it means for humanity in the long term. Where will it be like in the next 100 years? Is Mars our next home? Can we terraform it enough to make it habitable? These are all follow up questions that will spark an in-depth discussion.
- What’s the one thing everyone should do once in their life?
Focus on the word one. This is a great question when several friends are gathered, and you are all talking about random things. It will start an in-depth discussion on things you’d never have thought of. Different people find different things enjoyable. Maybe you’ll even find out something you can add to your bucket list.
- What can we do as individual human beings to save the environment?
Climate change affects everyone – rich or poor, first-world or third-world, man or woman. Discussing the various ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint on an individual, community, and city-level can help you figure out some tangible steps towards this issue. And who knows – maybe you’ll create a revolution with these good deeds. All it takes is one human to create a snowball effect.
- Do you think there are aliens?
It’s outdated, I know. But how do you not find this the most intriguing thing ever? Maybe some of your friends will roll your eyes at you, but it will surely be a fun conversation starter. Talk about the Fermi paradox and what it could mean to have another intelligent species in some parts of the galaxy. It doesn’t have to be about conspiracy theories and UFOs only.
Be open when discussing these questions. There are no wrong answers or the right answers here; it’s all subjective.
Questions that make you think about the absurdity of the English language.
The English language is full of peculiarities and strange and long words that will make you scratch your head. After the deep, weighty questions about life and all that it entails, these silly, but valid queries will make you wonder about the origins of the most popular language in the world.
- Why is it called a building if it’s already built?
- Why does your nose run, but your feet smell?
- Why is geese the plural of goose, but meese is not the plural of moose?
- Why do you chop down a tree but chop up firewood?
- Why is the ‘‘ough” sound different in all these words – cough, though, through, thorough, thought, bough?
All these questions are just conversation starters and only meant for having fun. You can use them simply to break the ice.
Funny questions that make you think
Again, those profound questions can be a bit of a party killer. No worries. Use these goofy brain-trails to lighten up the mood. They are sure to make you chuckle, or at least crack a smile.
- How do you know if sour cream is expired? Does it taste normal then? Or does it get sourer? What exactly is sourer? How do you know if it’s not sour because it is expired, but because it is getting better?
As you can probably tell, I have given it a lot of thought.
- Why is the rider awarded in horse races, but the poor horse only gets nothing?
Seems awful, especially considering that the horse did most of the work.
- Do news anchors bother to wear pants behind their desks? Or is it just pajamas? Or nothing at all?
Do they even have legs?
- If psychics can tell the future, wouldn’t they know you were going to call them already?
And if so, why didn’t they call first? Seems rude.
- Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, and all beans are vegetables. Does that mean chocolate is a vegetable?
And most importantly – can I add it to my salad?
- Why did they make the spelling of dyslexia so hard?
Did they not know that dyslexic people are… well, dyslexic?
- Why is it that when we want to focus on the road, we turn down the volume of the music on our radio?
I mean, it’s not like we listen with our eyes so they are getting distracted, or see with our ears and turning down the music will help us look clearer.
- If wild cats like to eat mice, why is there not a brand out there that makes mice flavored cat food?
It just sounds like a missed opportunity.
- If Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, how come one of them stands on two feet and is erect, while the other walks on all fours?
What is going on here, Disney? We demand answers!
- Why do they call the third and the fastest hand on the clock the second hand?
With the speed at which it is going, it should be the first hand!
Questions that make you think about who you are
Exploring your personality and being more self-aware is never a bad idea. Use these questions to find out what makes you tick, what are your motivations, and what are you heading towards in the future.
- Describe who you are in one sentence.
This question will force you and your friends to think hard and long about how you see yourself. What are your best traits? How do you define yourself? Do you judge yourself by your actions? Do you think your value lies in what you can do for others? Or is it what you admire about yourself?
The brevity of this question will force you to really evaluate your personality and spend some time thinking about your principles and values – things that you often take for granted.
- What do you live for?
It’s worth spending time thinking about the purpose of your life. Do you have one? Are you just hurtling through space and time with no goal? And if you do have a goal, are you always working towards it?
- Who are the most significant people in your life?
And do you make enough time for them? Do they know you love them?
Often, in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to pay attention to those who matter the most to us. Whether it is our parents, children, spouse, or friends that have helped us in tough times. A conversation about them will make you want to pick up the phone and give them a call. And that’s always a good thing.
- What areas of your life can you pay more attention to?
Are you focusing on work too much? Do you take care of yourself? Are you taking care of your body and health? Do you indulge in any hobbies? Do you travel?
Modern lifestyles are hectic, and often, we get too lost in the race to get to the front. But balance is important. And this question will force you to re-evaluate your daily choices.
- Are you being your authentic self around others?
Why? Why not? Are you allowing yourself the freedom to express your thoughts and exercise your right to free speech? Or are you wearing a mask? Why do you feel the need to? Should you change that? How would you change that if you wanted to?
Peer pressure can force us to smother our real self and pretend to be someone else. This question will help you explore if you are letting it affect you, or if any other factors are preventing your self-expression. Then, you can work on solving these problems.
Questions that make you think deeply about the universe
If you are like me, you must spend a great deal of time thinking about the universe and the nature of time. Pondering about the state of the universe is a great way to expand your horizons and learn something new. Here are some questions to get your started on this journey:
- What is time? On what plane does it exist?
Is time a higher dimension we cannot perceive? Or is this a concept Science made up to explain our lives? How did time exist before the big bang? If the beginning of the Big Bang began time as we know it, what was the universe like before time? And if there was no time… what exactly distinguishes that ‘time’ from this time?
- If the universe is constantly expanding, what is it expanding into?
What lies beyond the edge or the boundary of the universe? What happens if you reach the edge? Will you be able to slide over into nothingness, or would something stop you from going over the edge? This is a question that has plagued the scientific world for years, and maybe we will never know the answer.
- If the universe came into existence almost 14 billion years ago, and there are other sentient beings somewhere, in some corner of the universe, and we happen to stumble upon them, what should we do?
Should we say hello? What if they decide to annihilate our species? The general consensus in the world is that the distance between the planets and galaxies is so big, that it would be impossible for an alien species to destroy us.
On the other hand, other people believe that it is possible that they may have overcome the limit of travelling below the speed of light, so they could hurt us. The question remains, though. The world does not have a strategic plan on how to deal with an alien species, and maybe we should.
- Where is the missing 96% of the universe?
When scientists calculated the total of all the energy and matter in the universe, they found that almost 96% of it is missing. Where is it? And do aliens live in it? How does one even search for something like this? The fact that we only occupy 4% of the universe also seems to have some significance, but we do not know what it means just yet.
- What is dark matter and dark energy?
Scientists have discovered that 74% of the universe is made of dark matter and dark energy, but we don’t know what exactly it is. Since it does not interact with the rest of the world as we know it in any way, it is impossible for scientists to detect its presence. We cannot even see it. That is why we still do not know what exactly it is and what are its properties.
Stupid questions that make you think about the absurdity of the world around you
There has been extensive research on why asking questions is generally a good idea for us, cognitively. Discussing answers to questions can help you strengthen your bond with other people. Here are some stupid questions I bet you never gave a thought to:
- If you get clean in the shower, what makes the towel that you use after showering dirty?
- What letter is silent in scent – S or C?
- Was sand called sand because it lies between land and sea?
- We all say life is unfair to everyone. Does that mean that if life is unfair to everyone, it is, actually, in a way, fair?
- If you hire a guy to kill you, will it be ruled as suicide or murder?
- If a man has only one arm, how would the police handcuff him?
- If bread is square, why does sandwich meat always come in round shapes?
- Can we daydream at night?
- Why do we press the buttons on the remote control harder when we realize that the battery is dead?
- What came first – the fruit orange or the color orange?
Questions that make you think about life
The nature of the human race and various issues it brings with it is an excellent way to deep dive into things that matter. Here are some questions about the human race and the nature of our reality that will blow your mind:
- What will happen if the machines gain sentience?
If our computers became conscious one day? How would that change human life? Would it be like the movies and they would become our biggest threats? Would we be their slaves? Or would we come to a peaceful agreement and live our lives separately? One thing is certain – we may no longer be able to depend on computers and mobiles to work for us.
- Where do our thoughts come from?
If all that humans are made of is meat and fat and bones, where is the boundary between consciousness and physical mass? What makes our thoughts spring from this loaf of meat called our brain? Scientists still have not discovered the physical basis of consciousness, known as the hard problem of consciousness.
- Does human life have a meaning in the long run?
If all we are doing is existing in this vast and empty universe all on our own, do our actions make any difference? Whether we do good or bad – what does it matter? We are all going to die anyway, so what is the point of doing anything?
- Are numbers real or did we make them up?
Similarly, is calculus real? How come it solves so many of the universe’s problems? If you think of numbers as some lines on the paper that we have given meaning to, how come they describe the universe around us so perfectly? Some people also think that it is strange that the numbers work so well for describing the laws of the universe.
- Is the world around us real?
Or is it a simulation? Are we stuck in the matrix? Even people like Tesla CEO Elon Musk are stumped by questions like this. The reasoning goes that if we have managed to make such dramatic changes in computer technology within the last 20 years only, isn’t it possible that some other species somewhere in the universe made a simulated universe that is now our universe?
Some people also think that the fact that Physics in our world has such clear laws that can be calculated means that we are a simulation. But who knows really? Maybe we will find out, maybe we never will.
Weird questions that make you think
Socrates believed in the power of questions so much so that he advocated using them as a tool for teaching effectively and efficiently. They can help you develop a holistic point of view and morph the way you see the world. Here are some weird questions that will make you scratch your head:
- Why is it called quicksand when it works so slowly?
- If an atheist goes to court, will they make him swear on a Bible too?
- If the vanilla extract is brown, how come vanilla ice cream is white?
- Do hospitals sterilize lethal injection too?
- What is the difference between noodles and spaghetti?
- Do blind people dream? What do their dreams look like?
- When someone says, “A penny for your thoughts?” and you give your two cents in, where does the second penny disappear?
- Do penguins have knees? What about elbows? What do they look like?
- When we waste time, where does that wasted time go exactly?
- Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? If yes, then why do we have beauty pageants?
Every single one of these questions has the potential to spark a conversation that will last for hours and make both the participants feel good. Pretty soon, you and your gang will be spending time talking until the wee hours in the morning, and it will strengthen your bond with each other. Studies have indicated that good social bonds are crucial for overall happiness in life.
Namrata is a Doctor i.e. dentist turned writer and a clinical researcher. Eager to learn about anything and everything, she is what you would call a jack of all trades and master of none. With a zeal for reading novels, books, and anything she could get her hands on ever since she was little, she embarked into a writing career purely out of luck. After indulging in a freelancing career for nearly two years, she can now write on anything - from dentistry to decor, travel to technology, medicine to management - but the psychology remains her first love. Having dealt with mental health issues in the past, she hopes to raise awareness for the same and help people with her work in association with The MindFool team