If someone seems genuinely interested in you, do you feel more positive about them? I do. In fact, if you want to make a positive connection with someone, there’s scientific research to suggest that people tend to feel good about others who ask questions during a conversation.
The researchers in the study analyzed both live online conversations, and face-to-face speed-dating conversations, and they found “a robust and consistent relationship between question-asking and liking.” People who asked more questions came across as more likable. Most importantly, follow-up questions in those conversations were even more effective. “Speed daters who ask more follow-up questions during their dates are more likely to elicit second dates from their partners, a behavioral indicator of liking,” the researchers write.
Not everyone finds it easy to think of questions on the spot. If you know this isn’t a strength of yours, you can work on it. Think in advance about what you might ask people when you meet them, and how you could follow up.
Sometimes the person you’re talking to is also good at asking questions, in which case they’ll turn it around and ask you what you think. In that case, just keep the ball going back and forth, like you’re playing a tennis game. If your conversation partner doesn’t ask questions, you’ll eventually feel like you’re grilling the person, so feel free to stop when you get that feeling. Research indicates that the person you’ve just talked to will think more positively of you for paying attention, showing interest, and asking good questions.