It’s the perpetual grind: You meet someone. You exchange names. You ask, per social convention: “What are you majoring in?” and “Where are you from?” Maybe you insert an uncaring “So where are you staying?” End scene.
This has been the regular interaction between all freshman who have met each other in these first couple weeks at UC Berkeley. It’s tedious and trite, and, frankly, it doesn’t help you relate to the people around you. Hollow conversations are hollow conversations, and without depth, you end up seeing the same person the next time and inevitably asking, “What’s your name again?” Such is the cycle of small talk. Here is our solution for you; a list of questions you can use to begin and renew meaningful and interesting conversations so you can make everlasting connections … or make people question your sanity when you ask questions that might freak them out.
1. What color is your toothbrush?
We’ve gotten this a few times. The answer someone gives you isn’t really informative about his or her personality, but hey, it gets the conversation rolling.
2. What is your political stance on Canada-to-America immigration?
We really have no idea what our stance is, and we doubt the person you asked would have an opinion on this, but if someone did offer you an opinion, you might at least learn something. Tell us what you find out on this topic — we’re genuinely interested.
3. What do you like on your pizza?
This is the subtle way to find out if someone is a vegetarian or vegan, meat lover or veggie enthusiast, cheese pizza basic or Artichoke Basille’s cultured. You can learn a lot about someone from his or her topping choice.
4. What’s your favorite kind of bear?
If they answer bruin, they’re at the wrong school. If they answer tree, they’re in the wrong state of mind. Golden bear is the optimal answer, but other great types of bears include polar (for you Pokemon enthusiasts, it’s like a shiny version of a normal bear), grizzly and koala (technically not a bear but too adorable to not mention).
5. Do you prefer a bowl cut or a mullet?
The correct answer is neither.
Try them out. We’ve provided the tools for you, now go use them, and try not to look like a tool. We’ve prepared you to make friends, but when you ask these questions, your potential friends will pause and consider — are they ready for you?