The topical questions provided in this guide are optional. Some I’ve created myself, others I’ve pulled from online resources, books, etc. (I’ve been running conversation groups for awhile and I don’t remember the original source for some of these questions, but I try to cite when possible). If you don’t like a question, toss it out or rephrase it to meet your groups’ needs. Consider letting all members of the group take turns creating the Conversation Questions. We all have different perspectives, not only in the way we answer questions, but also in the questions we ask. Try to keep to a theme, limit yourself to 4-6 questions, and make sure to ask open-ended questions that everyone in the group is able to answer.
Begin introducing the questions to the group after everyone has had an opportunity to mingle, and the craft instructions have been explained. While people are working on their craft, facilitate the discussion time. Consider taking turns facilitating the discussion with the pre-made questions.
- Make time and room for everyone to answer each question. Everyone is encouraged to answer each question, but they can always pass.
- We are here to listen to each other, not to “fix” each other. Refrain from offering advice after someone has shared. You may ask clarifying questions and offer encouragement (occasionally), but practice “quick to listen, slow to speak.”
- We are not here to debate. We are here to conversate. We can (and desperately need to learn to) talk about controversial topics (such as politics), but in a way that involves listening and understanding the sharer, and not in a way that involves trying to convert others to our viewpoint. When it is your turn to answer a question, you should answer from your perspective, but do not try to challenge another person’s perspective during or after they have finished sharing.
Continue to page 3 for craft ideas
- What were one of your parents’ strengths? Weaknesses?
- What’s a fond childhood memory with your family?
- What’s one positive dynamic of your family you would like to pass down?
- What’s one negative dynamic of your family you would like to see transformed in your own life?
- What would friends say is an important part of your life story?
- What have you learned the hard way in your life?
- How have you loved someone in the details of their life lately?
- What’s one of your favorite holiday traditions?
- What do you like about this time of year?
- What about this time of year is hard for you?
- What do you think the purpose of holidays are?
- What’s your spiritual/religious background?
- What is a significant event in your life that turned you toward or away from the way you were raised spiritually?
- What is a significant event that led you to where you are spiritually today?
- What are spiritual steps you would like to take in the future?
- Have you ever experienced a #METOO moment that you feel comfortable sharing? A time when you felt like someone with more power than you abused it or a general situation or place that you tend to feel invisible?
- Is there anything in the Feminist Movement or the #METOO movement that you disagree with or have concerns about?
- How are men and women different? The same?
- What does gender equality mean to you?
- What is a tangible way you believe women can better support each other?
- What’s one thing you enjoy or don’t enjoy that’s counter to typical gender stereotyping?
- What’s one thing you enjoy that’s more in line with typical gender stereotyping?
- As a whole, what do you think women’s strengths tend to be? Weaknesses?
- What do you like and dislike about being a woman?
- Why do we compare ourselves?
- How can we better live joyfully as women?
- What’s one of your favorite things about the state you live in?
- How were you raised politically?
- What’s one issue that’s important to you and affects the way you vote, and why is it important to you?
- What issues, if any, do you defer from the party you are most likely to vote for?
- What do you think the purpose of politics is? What do you believe falls outside the realm of politics?
- What are practical ways, regardless of who’s in office, that you can serve your country, regarding the issues you listed as most important to you?
- If you could magically snap your fingers and form a government that perfectly legislated your views tomorrow, could utopia be achieved? Why or why not?
- Share a few examples of what friendship has looked like in different seasons of your life. [Good friends, Hurt, Lots of Friends, loneliness, etc.]
- In your experience, what stands in the way of building true friendships?
- What are some of the best ways/places to meet new friends?
- What are some ways social media has positively/negatively influenced your friendships?
- What is needed to build and maintain strong, long-term friendships?
- What’s one quality you yearn for in your friends that you often find lacking?
- What was your favorite book or movie from the last year?
- What is one of your favorite memories from the previous year?
- Most unexpected thing from the past year?
- Hardest thing?
- What is a burden/concern you feel like you are carrying into the New Year?
- Do you have any plans for Fathers’ Day? What, if any, father figures will you honor?
- Describe your relationship with your father.
- In what ways do you think you take after your father?
- In what ways do you intentionally want to be different from your father?
- Describe your family background. How old mom/dad when they met, # of siblings, what did your parents’ work schedules look like? Move a lot? Urban? Rural?
- What’s your current relationship with your mom like or how would you describe your relationship with your mom?
- In what way do you want to be different from your mother?
- What is one of the best qualities/values/lessons your mothers has passed down to you? Something you want to imitate?
Love and Romance
- What’s your favorite romance song, book, or movie?
- What are some common romantic tropes in stories? Do you find any of them to be unrealistic or unhealthy?
- What was your first romantic relationship? Why did it end?
- Is there a difference between love and romance? What?
- What’s one positive way or one negative way love has defied your expectations?
- Share one example from your life that makes you weary that lifelong love can exist and/or one example in your life that gives you hope that lifelong love can exist.
- How do we grow in love?
The Five Senses
- What is one of your favorite senses? Sigh, sound, taste, smell, feel
- What gets your fired up/makes you feel alive?
- What’s the last adventure you were on?
- Are there any rules you never break?
- What is something horrible everyone should try at least once?
- If we could pull up one more chair at the table, who would you invite? Why?
- What’s the quality you wish the world had more of?
- Think of your closest friend. What are three things you love about them?
- Think of someone you struggle to get along with. What are three things you can appreciate about them?
- How can you reach out to someone that’s been floating around in the back of your mind for a while now and let them know you’re thinking of them?
Lies We Believe
- What do you find yourself grumbling about?
- What lies are you believing?
- Where do the lies you believe come from?
- How has comparison been harmful in your life?
- How can you combat the lies you are believing with truth?
- When is a time in your life you persevered?
- What is something in your life that feels overwhelming?
- What are unhealthy ways you deal with stress?
- What healthy habits and comforts do you run to when life is overwhelming?
- Is there anything in your life right now that you would like to alter how you’ve been dealing with it?
Living in Your Giftedness
- What if you took one hour to really use one of your gifts that you haven’t used in a while?
- Who are you? How would you answer that question if you couldn’t define yourself by role or title?
- How have your gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities shaped who you are today?
- How have your gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities impacted your view of identity?
- What false belief most frequently keeps you from having a healthy understanding of your true identity?
- What’s one of your favorite sad songs, movies or books?
- Talk about a time when you felt lonely. What was the cause of your loneliness?
- What keeps us from really connecting with people?
- How can we move into other people’s loneliness?
- What’s one new relationship you’ve developed this year or one that’s ended?
- How have you grown this past year?
- What about this past year surprised you?
- What’s one view or belief or understanding of something that has changed over the past year for you?
- Is there anything holding your back that you know you need to let go of in order to move forward?
- What are some dreams and hopes for the future?
Patience and Waiting
- Think of a time you had to wait for something, but the wait was worth it. Why was the waiting important? How did you grow as a result?
- What are some of the long-term goals or traits that you would love to cultivate this year?
- Do you feel like you might be waiting for something right now? If so, what is it?
- Who is a woman that is in a different season of life than you and you are blessed by her example/friendship?
- How would you define the season you are in, and what are some of the relational challenges being in that season?
- What are some barriers that separate women relationally?
- How can we, as women, do a better job of loving one another?
- Who is one woman you feel called to love whose life stage is different?
Other Topics for Conversation
- Work/Home Divide
- Sacred/Secular Divide
- Pop-Culture or Current Events
*I know many of these questions were adapted from https://www.ifgathering.com/if-table/ and various English as a Second Language (ESL) websites, but when I was originally running the group, I didn’t realize I’d later be posting as an online resource. I literally have a drawer full of handwritten questions that I’ve created/adapted/copied over the years and it would be difficult to trace them back to their original sources.
Continue to page 3 for craft ideas