3 Easy Questions Quickly Turn Strangers Into Friends

A Non-threatening Way to Break The Ice in Any Group

Making new friends or transitioning a group of unrelated relationships into a community can be a challenge. Or feel uncomfortable. However, people are all the same and desire growing connections within any circle of acquaintances. I want to show you how you can easily help facilitate this.

I have used these three questions many times to break the ice and kill the awkwardness of things. They lead to great conversation, a lot of laughs, and a pretty quickly turn strangers into friends.  [Be sure to get my 3 Easy Questions Cheat Sheet.]

How We Get Started

My wife Tina and I can always fill a room with food and fun, and we like to transition casual conversation toward these three questions by saying something like this:

“Excuse me…this so awesome, please help yourself to anything you want…more food, drinks…whatever you like. We want you to feel like family here.”

“We thought it would be fun to try something. We’ve got three questions that are super simple to answer, but will help us all get to know each other a little better.”

“Whataya say? Here’s the first question…”

Is It Really That Easy?

Now you may be thinking, some people won’t want to participate. Maybe they’ll be too shy. But I have found that everyone’s favorite thing to talk about is…wait for it:

Themselves! Trust me on this, go for it. 

Asking good questions can help turn strangers into family.Click To Tweet

Then we ask each of these questions, one at a time, and go around the room and have everyone answer before moving to the next question.

You will be amazed at how much you can learn about someone so quickly, and the connections people will make with each other’s lives always surprise me.

turn strangers into friends

The 3 Questions

Question #1: “Where were you born?”

Simple enough. Everyone was born somewhere, and you will immediately find the “it’s a small world” syndrome cropping up.

“Wow, my Dad is from there…” “That’s crazy, I went to college in that town! Did you ever go to that old ice cream parlor on 5th Ave.?”

So simple…so cool.

After everyone has had a chance to answer (don’t rush this) then move to the second question. Don’t make this feel like a speed-quiz!

Question #2: “What is your favorite childhood memory?”

This one is usually pretty heartwarming. I have found that a lot of people will share similar memories about a vacation they took as kids, a special time with a grandparent etc.

Again, immediate connections.

And when you hear these things, you start to have a much deeper insight into someone else. This makes it easier to “bare with one another” in any community or group.

If someone says something like, “I really have no favorite childhood memories, my family life was pretty rough.” listen and don’t make them feel awkward. Acknowledge what they’ve said and thank them for sharing that. You may want to ask a follow-up question about something they did one time as a kid that was really fun.

After everyone has answered the question and had enough time to ask each other questions, move to the third question.

Question #3: “What is the worst job you ever had?”

The answers to this one are usually hilarious. I love this question, and when added to what someone has previously shared, I start to feel like I know them a lot better.

If you’re in a younger circle of folks who have not had a lot of formal jobs in life yet, shift the question for them to the worst chore or at home they had to do or hated, and why.

I like to ask simple follow up questions to help dig a little deeper and find that others will follow my lead in this.

More fun!

They Don’t Have to Be Strangers

By the way, these same three questions work great with a group of closer friends or a staff too. You may be surprised at how much you will learn about people you thought you knew pretty well.

Now you know the three questions I use to pull down barriers and turn strangers into friends. The next best time to break the ice and start moving a circle of acquaintances toward a tighter knit group of friends is now. You’ll be glad you did and others will thank you for it.

Before you go, be sure to get my 3 Easy Questions Cheat Sheet, I’ll send it to you and my own answers to these three questions. They’re fun!