7 Questions to Ask Your Loved Ones During a Pandemic

At the moment, the most popular conversation starter is probably the Coronavirus. But these conversations about stressful current events such as the virus or the election can be overwhelming. Luckily, you can easily reframe and divert the conversation to another topic, no matter who you’re talking to. Despite the fact that the pandemic will likely come up, you have the ability to control what you talk about! Try asking your family, classmates, friends or co-workers these questions instead!

1. What are you most grateful for right now?

This question helps you acknowledge and discuss the good things in your life, instead of focusing on everything you can’t control. This question can be used to foster a conversation about the highlights of their week or day and help the person you’re speaking with feel better and more relaxed. In times of crisis, it’s important that we can still acknowledge the good things in life. Pointing out the positives can help us feel better about the negatives!

2. Are you working on any exciting personal projects lately?

This question can be seen as an alternative to the standard “What’s new with you lately?” or “What have you been up to?”. It gives the other person an opportunity to talk about something new that they’re excited about, rather than give you the same old update about their work/school or life. Many people enjoy sharing what they’re passionate about, so this question allows them the opportunity to talk about their passion projects and the progress they are making.

3. What’s working well for you right now?

This question can also be seen as an alternative to “How are you taking care of yourself right now? What self-care have you been doing?”. Discussing coping methods and self-care directs the conversation towards positive achievements and success in managing hardship. Therefore, it’s important to use this question to discuss ways to improve both your lives. Ask follow-up questions about what they enjoy doing right now as well!

4. What shows, podcasts, or books are you making time for right now?

Since the majority of us are spending much more time at home right now, it can be a surprise to find out all the favorite shows and movies you have in common with the other person. You might find something new to listen to or watch as well. Asking people what they enjoy doing in their free time has always been a great conversation starter - might as well put it to good use!

5. What do you do to get rid of stress?

In particularly difficult times, people tend to get overwhelmed and stressed out. It’s important to understand that everyone deals with this differently and that everyone re-charges differently. Asking them “How do you manage your stress?” can be a great question to foster a conversation about your coping mechanisms as well as how you’re dealing with all the things on your mind.

6. What are you looking forward to in the future?

Due to the fact that we’re all currently still in the middle of a pandemic and want things to return to normal, this question might seem a little ominous to ask with the future so uncertain. However, it can be used to help people reflect on what they want to do differently in their lives and career if given the chance. So make the most of this question and use it to talk about life and career goals, as well as what you can do to move towards that change.

7. What advice would you give to your past self?

This question should be used with classmates/co-workers and potential mentors since it allows you a small window to their state of mind, and gives them the opportunity to give you appropriate and helpful advice. Overall, I absolutely love asking this question in interviews and career-accelerating workshops!

We are all currently living in unprecedented times. Asking “How are you doing?” doesn’t cut it anymore, which means it won’t have the effect of being as great of a conversation starter as it once it did. However, these are great conversation starters to discuss anything but the Coronavirus, whether you are on a video call with a friend, classmate, or family member.

Try out any of these questions? Be sure to share your favorites with us by tagging us @HerCampusSJSU on Instagram or Twitter!