30 Deep Conversation Topics to Get Others Thinking

Many conversations call for icebreakers to get to know people, but sometimes you want to dig a little deeper. If you’re looking for ways to take your conversation to the next level, consider asking the types of questions that really get people thinking and sharing.  

Whether you’re looking to grow your connection with one person or spark though provoking conversation at a dinner or party, these topics will give you plenty to think about and discuss. 

When preparing for your gathering, think about the interests of the group or person you’re with and pick a few topics from this list that might get the conversation rolling.  

You may be surprised what topics come up next all on their own! 

  1. Where in the World - It’s a big world out there and even if we love our home, some people dream of starting an adventure somewhere new. Ask if they could live in another country, where would they live and why? Could they imagine living in a place they love but is far away from family and friends?
  2. Reflect on Reading - Books can change how we view life and the people we love. Ask if there is a book that has stayed with them for years. Find out what about the story resonates with them the most, and if it reminds them of something in their own life? How does thinking about the book make them feel - inspired, nostalgic, or joyful?
  3. The Good Life - Living the good life means different things for everyone.  For one person, it  could mean owning a small boat while another might prefer having the freedom to travel the country in an RV. Ask what living the good life means to them, now and in the future.
  4. Money Doesn’t Matter - For many people, the need to make money and the amount of money they have governs their daily decisions. It’s easy to imagine what life would be like if money wasn’t an issue. But some say that more money just equals more problems. What would they do if money wasn’t an issue? How would this change their choices? Do they think they’d have less problems if money wasn’t one of them?
  5. The Big Screen - Movies and TV shows can have a big impact on our lives. The shows we choose to watch reflect what is going on in our lives and what we need at that time, whether it’s a distraction, laughter, or something that makes us think. What shows do they find themselves watching again and again – and why? Ask which character or show has had the biggest impact on their lives and why.
  6. The Best Advice – Thought provoking advice can come from unlikely places and can drastically influence the choices we make. Ask your guests to share the best or worst advice they have ever received and how it affected the choices that they made afterward.
  7. Childhood Dreams - Many of us have vivid imaginations as children and dream about what our lives will be like when we are older. What did they hope to be when they grew up and how is their life today similar or different?
  8. Friends Forever - Some great friendships last forever, and some are just part of a phase in our lives. But meaningful friendships can have a huge impact on our lives and who we become, even if we lose touch or go in different directions. Which friend had a great impact on their lives and what did they learn from that friendship?
  9. You’re in Charge – What would you do if you were in a position of power and could make the laws that everyone else would follow? This can make for provocative discussions that allow us to see deeper into the values that each of us deem important. If they were suddenly in charge of making the laws, what laws would they pass and why?
  10. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder - Beauty is truly a subjective thing. But we all find something beautiful and can be very moved by these experiences. What is the most beautiful thing or place they’ve ever seen and what was their response to it?
  11. Happy Place - Mental escapism is a powerful way to calm our nervous system when the stresses of life become overwhelming. What is their happy place to go – either in real life or just in their imagination – when they need a break? What makes this place so special?
  12. What’s in a Name - Very few people actually change their name, even if we don’t like our given name. Would they change their name if given the opportunity and what name would they choose instead?

  1. Life on the Line – If we have a near death experience, these moments can be a great catalyst for growth and change. Ask if there was a time when their life was in danger and how they were able to (sometimes miraculously) survive. Did this experience change them in any way?
  2. Man’s Best Friend - Animals are more than pets for many, they are best friends and family. People are often quite moved by experiences with animals throughout their lifetime. What is the most significant experience they have had with an animal and how did this change them as a person?
  3. Problems Solved - Life can become the endless solving of problems, both large and small. What would life be like if we woke up one day and all of our problems were solved? What would we spend that time on instead?
  4. You’re Blushing - Embarrassing moments are usually inescapable and can linger in our thoughts for a long time to come. It can be cathartic to share these experiences with others and feel less alone in our discomfort. What are their most embarrassing moments? How did they respond at the time and how do they wish they had responded? Would they have been embarrassed by that experience if it were to happen again today?
  5. The Ultimate Vacation Learn more about the person by asking what their dream trip would be if they could go on vacation anywhere in the world. Do they want to sip tropical drinks on the beach at a Caribbean resort? Go on a historical tour through Europe? Go scuba diving in Australia? Find out if they crave adventure or relaxation, want to explore a new destination, or return to a favorite place.
  6. Brand Loyal We all have products we can’t live without from that amazing sauce to magical beauty treatments. Find out what brands they swear by and why they are game changers – you will likely have some new items to add to your shopping list.
  7. Divine Intervention - There are times in life when our paths take a hard turn that was unexpected. These defining moments can shape our lives in ways we never imagined. Some believe this is divine intervention, while others feel it was just luck or chance. What are some of the moments when your life changed dramatically in ways you weren’t expecting or prepared for? How did this shape the years that followed?
  8. Ethics or Illusions - Some things believed to be right or wrong can suddenly be called into question in moments of panic or desperation. For example, if your child was starving and you had no money, would stealing still be wrong? If you were in grave danger, would it be okay to lie to save your life or someone else’s? What are some behaviors believed to be wrong that can be ethical in certain circumstances?
  9. Longer Life - Most people consider old age to be living until 80, 90 or 100. Very few of us will ever reach 100 years and this reality shapes the choices we make as we age. What if our life span was suddenly much longer? How would another 100 years change our lives, our relationships, and our priorities?
  10. Purpose of Life - The reason why we are here is a much-debated subject, but none of us can really know for sure. What do you believe is the purpose of life? Why are we here? What experiences in your life have shaped this opinion for you or is this a philosophy you’ve adopted from an influential person or religion?

  1. Humanity vs. Culture - How much of who we are and who we become is shaped by culture? What cultural norms and traditions are part of our lives that we never question? For example, would it be appropriate for an adult to dress up in a costume and offer candy to children on a day other than October 31st?
  2. Death Date - None of us know for sure when we will die. What if you were given an envelope that had the exact date and time of your own death, plus the way that you would die. Would you open it? Why or why not? How would this information (or lack of) impact your life?
  3. Meaning of Dreams - There are many different theories on what our dreams mean. Some say they are a mixture of our fears, lived experiences and worries. Others believe they are signs and messages from ancestors. Share stories of interesting dreams or repetitive dreams you’ve had and your thoughts on what it means. You can even ask your group or acquaintance their interpretations on your dream – guaranteeing interesting conversation.
  4. Our Greatest Fears - One of the most powerful emotions is fear. Whether it is fear of something that hasn’t happened or fear from an actual experience, fear can absolutely change our lives. Shares stories of being afraid or fears of things that haven’t happened yet. How do these fears shape your lives?
  5. Power of Love - People will do crazy things for love. Some of us have also experienced actions from others that came from their love for us. These experiences can be life changing. What are some ways that your love for others has changed your life? In what ways has another person’s love for you impacted your life?
  6. Words of Wisdom – Insight from well-known people or those we love can provide valuable inspiration for our lives. Share a quote or piece of advice that influences you and ask if they have words of wisdom that help them find purpose or face a challenge.
  7. Music - Music moves us. It has the power to completely change our moods and our outlook on a situation. Music can cling to a memory and bring us back to a time or place in a second when we hear the song again. Playing music can become a passion and an escape for many. Share how music influences your life. Is there a certain song that instantly transports you back to a time or place? Are there any songs that evoke really strong emotions, either good or bad? What’s the greatest song or artist of all time?
  8. Food for the Soul – Food is more than just sustenance. For many of us, food was also connection, conversation, celebration, and much more. This makes it difficult to only view food as fuel if we’re trying to change our diets. Share how food was part of your life growing up and any dishes that evoke specific memories and why. Then, ask others what special memories are attached to their favorite foods.
Use these topics as a starting point for meaningful conversation. The incredible thing about encouraging people to open up and share more about themselves is how the dialogue can flow once you get started.  

Also, feel free to adapt these questions to suit your audience. Many of these topics could easily be adjusted to work for teenagers and younger audiences, too.  

One thing is for sure, once you start to have deeper conversations, you won’t want to go back to small talk about the weather.  

Erica Jabali is a freelance writer and blogs over at ispyfabulous.com.