Thought-provoking questions that make one think are the best ice breakers, rather than the generic small talk "what do you do for a living?" type questions. I much rather be asked about my thoughts on extra-terrestrials or what i'd do if I was approached by a genie willing to grant me one wish.
The following Ask Redditors responded to the question, "What is your go-to 'deep discussion question' to really pick someone's brain about?"
Interested in reading more responses? Find the original thread at the end of the article.
An alien ship comes down beams you up and (assume they are benevolent) say, "come explore the universe with us. We will show you thousands of worlds and countless new forms of life and technology but you can never return to earth. Nor can you call/write/text/carrier pigeon anyone before or after you leave."
Do you go?
A friend said to me : It's incredibly easy to be a good person when goodness isn't tested.
For example, 'If you had the possibility, would you save a Jewish person during WWII?'
I answered with: I don't want to find out.
The question is, 'Would you still be a good person if the risk of being good could hurt you?'
I like to ask people if they could open up a shop or start a business, what would it be?
It usually opens up a Pandora's Box of thoughts that they've been mulling over for years... it's an interesting way of seeing how someone thinks and how they dream.
As for me, I kind of want to own a tea shop/bookstore that's decorated with old art and home decor. It would have a "Take one, Leave one" bookshelf so people can trade books.
But my absolute dream, however, would be a sort of career centre that would help people looking for jobs and also for people that already have jobs. It would have free wifi and would be open late at night so people without internet or who work really late have the chance to job search or do online an course.
It would also offer professional clothing for the impoverished all the way up to broke college professionals. No one should miss out on job opportunities because they don't have the basic needs to get one like wifi or clothing!
You meet a wizard in downtown Chicago. The wizard tells you he can make you more attractive if you pay him money. When you ask how this process works, the wizard points to a random person on the street. You look at this random person. The wizard says. I will now make them a dollar more attractive. He waves his magic wand.
Ostensibly, this person does not change at all; as far as you can tell, nothing is different. But somehow- this person is suddenly a little more appealing. The tangible difference is invisible to the naked eye, but you can't deny that this person is vaguely sexier. This wizard has a weird rule though you can only pay him once. You can't keep paying and giving him money until you're satisfied. You can only pay him one lump sum up front.
How much cash do you give the wizard?
If you won the lottery tomorrow, what's the very first thing you'd do after cashing the check?
"What if humans could pay others to outsource their bodily functions?"
Sounds childish but I find it opens up a lot of interesting ideas if the other person has the imagination to think it over.
Perception of reality. You can use any situation to talk about it and sometimes uncovering small details changes your view point. Life is weird. Anyway, Story time...
My husband and I bought a house that was built around 1910. We have been restoring the wood work and the first project we worked on were the interior doors. We took all of the hardware off and had them set up in the basement so we could work on the knobs and locks in our free time. My mother-in-law came over to babysit for a few hours one night and when we came home, she made a comment about quietly closing a bedroom door to not wake the baby.
I asked her how she closed the door without the knob and she looked at me completely baffled. She swore there was a door handle and she had just spent two minutes outside of the door, holding the door knob, listening for the baby. We took her upstairs, no knob on the door, and the door was open because it wouldn't stay shut without the latch in place.
She never noticed the missing knobs on any of the doors...including the bathroom that she had used at least once that night. My husband and I often joke about this.
So the question is, "if people assume there's a handle, does it exist in their reality and only disappear when someone else points out it's nonexistence?" We shall never know.
If you could be anything in the world, no matter qualifications, experience or anything else, what would it be?
Usually get a pretty deep conversation every time, I even give some advice where I can.
It's not extremely deep but I often ask people, "Is it easier to love or be loved?"
Definitely gets people thinking.
"What makes you happy?"
I find a lot of people do things because they are "supposed to" not because it truly makes them happy.
It's nice to see people fumble a bit then brighten up when they think of something that truly makes them happy!
My best friend and I had this deep discussion over what regrets we have in our life so far, so I thought I'd share her question.
We were quiet for a moment when she asked me, "would you die happy if you knew you were about to die in an hour?"
What a night.
Speculative evolution especially pertaining to humans.
What will humans look like in a thousand years? A million? Would they still call themselves humans or would they consider us their ancestors?
Do you dream in first or third person?
For me, I am always in 3rd person like watching a movie (different angles, my face is shown when I am speaking etc). Even when I die the dream does not often end there, but the narrative continues after I'm dead. Sometimes I get a feel something bad is going to happen, but I am never in control.
Let's say there is this man, who created an absolutely perfect simulation of life. I'm talking down to the feeling - perfect. It is infallible in it's creation and you would likely never know it was a simulation.
This man offers for you to completely build out your own world. It can be the exact life you live right now, but with some upgrades. It can be a brand new life that you have written out to go exactly as you like. It can be a completely random life where new things happen to you. It can be something completely different; you could be a god of your own reality if you really wanted. You could live out hundreds of lives in succession. They'll make it happen.
The only catch is they plug you into the simulation and you can never come back to this world ever again.
Would you do it?
Your father and your significant other switch bodies, but keep their original voices. In order to switch them back, you have to have sex with one of them, but their senses can not be altered. Who do you choose? Your father in your S.O's body, or your S.O's in your father's body?
Imagine you walk into a supermarket planning to buy ground beef. When you get to the cooler, you see a package marked "Artificially-Grown Beef." It's about half the price of the genuine article.
Do you buy it or nah?
In a democratic society should we vote in our own personal best interests or for what we believe is best for society as a whole?
Do you sit down or stand up to wipe?
This one can get pretty heated. Be prepared to lose friends.
And for the record, I'm a folder. Only wild animals crumple.
Religion. I grew up Christian, am currently Agnostic, and have friends of many beliefs. There have been many nights where we just sat around drinking and talking about faith 'til way too early in the morning.
It's a dangerous subject to get into if you or your friends are too volatile, but if you are open minded and civil it can be eye opening.
There isn't really one, I have several. Just in case, you know. But my usual go-to is,
"If you could fight anyone from history, who and why? Specifically fight, not kill."
(I would fight Edison, for being a little punk.)