25 Questions to Ask When You Need a Break from COVID-19 Conversations

After you’ve exhausted the day’s updates on COVID-19, the dinner table conversation can tend to fizzle. Under stress, it’s hard to find the energy to ask good questions. And ultimately, if you’re quarantined with family or best friends, you may feel like you already know them pretty well. So, what is there left to talk about?

You’ll find that the right query can recharge a conversation and reveal new things about the people you are closest to (in proximity and maybe on an emotional level too). To get you started, here are 25 questions to help you add some depth and flavor to your family and roommate discussions.

Questions for Being Present

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What do you wish we would do together more often?
  3. What color describes your mood?

Questions for Looking Back

  1. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  2. Who has been your favorite teacher and why?
  3. What was the last (non-COVID-19) thing your searched for on your phone or computer?
  4. What’s something that you believed when you were younger that you’ve changed your mind about?

Questions for Looking Forward

  1. If you had another life to try another profession or take on a new hobby, what would it be?
  2. If you could take our family/fellow roommates on a future vacation, where would we go?
  3. What is an activity (e.g. taking walks, having afternoon tea, writing in your journal) that you would like to make a habit?

Questions for Probing About Love

  1. What sort characteristics do you find compelling in a person? Spontaneity? Nerdiness?
  2. Who was your first celebrity crush?
  3. What is the worst thing that could happen to you on a date?
  4. What is your primary love language?
  5. At what moment did you realize that you wanted to marry your spouse?

Questions for Having Fun and Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously

  1. What’s the cheesiest pick-up line you know? (Bonus points if you’ve used it.)
  2. What’s your most unfounded fear?
  3. What guilty-pleasure song do you know all the words to?
  4. What is your go-to embarrassing moment story?
  5. If you could invent something, what would it be?

Questions for Going Deep

  1. Up to this point what do you consider to be the highlight of your life?
  2. What was one beautiful experience you had that was also fairly painful?
  3. What was one of the greatest challenges you’ve ever faced?
  4. Where are some places or people that have influenced or shaped you the most?
  5. Name a book or movie or conversation that changed your life? And explain why.

We may see the same people every day during this season, but we never completely know even the people closest to us. A good question can reveal a lot. And it shows that we’re interested in the people we live with and love the most. Many have looked at this period of quarantine as an opportunity to establish new habits, in preparation for returning to life post-COVID-19. This is one of the practices you can take with you—one that will serve you well when the masks come off, the grocery store shelves are filled to the brim, and you don’t have to refrain from shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug. It’s good to be in the habit of getting to know each other, whether you’ve been married for 50 years or you’re temporarily living with those you don’t know very well.

By Veronica Andreades ’20, English language and literature