Skip the small talk, and really get to know your new lover, colleague or sister in law with these questions (if you don’t want to make it a cross examination, it’s OK to just pick a few). And don’t forget to fill them in yourself.
Do you remember the ‘friends books’ that were popular in primary school? Your classmates would fill in questions like ‘What’s your favourite food’ and ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’. French writer Marcel Proust filled in a book like that one day. His list of questions and answers became famous and the list was named the ‘Proust questionnaire’. It’s still a wonderful way to get to know people. This is a modern, complemented version.
1. How are you feeling right now?
2. What’s your most precious belonging?
3. What talent would you love to have?
4. Which qualities do you dislike in yourself?
5. Which qualities would you want to have?
6. What’s the most overrated virtue?
7. And what is the most underrated one?
8. Which mistake is the easiest to forgive?
9. What would you want to change in yourself?
10. Are you a spiritual person?
11. Do you identify as an introvert or an extrovert?
12. When was the last time you cried, and why?
13. When was the last time you laughed, and why?
14. Which parent is closest to you, and why?
15. What was the best time in your life?
16. What was the hardest time in your life?
17. What’s a crucial misunderstanding about you?
18. Are you doing what you always wanted to do in your life?
19. What’s important in a relationship?
20. What do you regret?
21. What’s your biggest achievement?
22. What’s your motto?
23. What’s your most remarkable quality?
24. Which quality do you appreciate in a man?
25. Which quality do you appreciate in a woman?
26. Which quality do you appreciate in friends?
27. What’s your biggest shortcoming?
28. What’s your favourite thing to do?
29. What does happiness mean to you?
30. What would be the worst thing that could happen to you?
31. Who would you want to be, besides yourself?
32. What would be the best place in the world to live, for you?
33. What would your ideal trip be like?
34. What’s your favourite color?
35. What’s your favourite bird?
36. What’s your favourite book?
37. What’s your favourite film?
38. What’s your favourite poem?
39. What’s your biggest hero from a book or a movie?
40. Who’s your biggest hero in real life?
Before you ask others to answer the question, do so yourself. You might just learn something surprising. What does happiness actually mean to you? Do you have a motto – and if you don’t, what could it be?
Photo: Sam Manns
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