So… Who The F Are You?

What is the first question you ask a new person?

One of the things about re-entering society after the pandemic is, I feel like we don’t know how to talk to each other anymore.

“So what do you do” seems to be the most common opener around here, which may or may not follow some generic small talk about the weather and the weekend, and usually leads to a conversation about what we all do… for work.

I love my job, and I’m generally excited to share with people about my new job, but there’s so much more to me than what I do for work. I assume the same is true of everyone else, I hope it is anyway, for their sakes.

Also, unless it’s a work-related event, and maybe even if it is, whether or not we’ll connect as humans has little to do with what we do and everything to do with who we are.

So how do you figure out who someone is with a question?

I think I need to experiment with different ways to start or continue conversations. Work on ways to break up that societal small talk convention. Questions that take you beyond small talk, but also don’t feel too contrived.


  • “Who are you?” is a little too direct, makes them sound like they don’t belong.
  • “How you doin?” The good old Joey Tribbiani.
  • “So, who the f#ck are you?” could be fun, could work well in the right swearing-friendly context, but before you know anything about someone, maybe a little abrasive. (Just a little).
  • “So if you could have any superpower, what would it be” can be a fun way to start a conversation, but it certainly doesn’t feel natural.
  • “So what do you feel is your purpose in life?” is a little intense, perhaps, for the first five seconds.
  • “What’s your secret?” This one can get some good responses, actually. Inspiring or hilarious or otherwise.
  • “What’s your story?” I like this one, it gives people the chance to share whatever they feel like sharing about themselves. If they want to keep it light they can, but it invites the potential for a deeper connection if the vibe is right.

I’m curious, and totally open to suggestions: what questions do you ask at the start of a conversation with someone new?

Post #23 for Nano Poblano. Click the pepper to visit my team and cheer us on… one week to go!

Header image: Unsplash / Emily Morter

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