Questions to ask

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

-excerpt from “the Invitation” by Oriah

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of small talk. I often don’t find it interesting. And I don’t feel like I know someone after talking small. In comparison, when I have a deep conversation, I feel connection.

Here is a list of questions to ask, inspired by a conversation I had recently with a friend. You can ask yourself these – use as a journal writing prompt or consider while you go for a long walk, roll, or ride – or ask a friend. Some of these might be overwhelming for someone, or they might not want to talk about it right now. I often preface questions like this with a “can I ask you something?” to test the waters. People are never obligated to talk to you, or you them.

  • Did you have any dreams last night?
  • What does success look like for you? (lovingly stolen from Madeline, who says this is her current favourite question)
  • How are you feeling today? (with honest answers)
  • What is your favourite thing about yourself?
  • Do you believe in ghosts?
  • What is it like being a mother/father/parent/only child/teenager/etc? (ask them about their experience in their family, chosen or given)
  • In what ways can you be kinder to yourself?
  • What do you want me to know about you?
  • How have you changed in the last year?
  • When did you know we would be friends?
  • What’s on your mind?

I wish you deep, meaningful conversations with yourself and maybe others, if they’re lucky.



One thought on “Questions to ask

  1. Just a few days ago, once more I realised just how much I don’t like small talk. I wanted to open a conversation or keep contributing but in the end, I simply listened and kept wondering what’s wrong with me. Maybe nothing is.

    Love the poem excerpt and the question list. Thank you so much for sharing.


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