Whether it's an acquaintance, co-worker, new friend, or new date — we have to be open to asking strategic questions to get to know each other a bit more in-depth. Asking the right questions can take you a long way to determine how much of your time and energy do you want to spend with another person. We all can help each other grow, but it starts with being a little vulnerable to see what things you can enjoy together or what might be triggering for that person and may require you to lead with caution.
Here are some questions you should consider asking someone you want to know on a deeper level:
1. What’s your favorite love languages?
Learning someone's love language allows you to understand how that person prefers to show and receive love. There are even quizzes you can take to discover your love language before you ask others. Created by Gary Chapman, the five love languages are quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and gifts. And although they are commonly used to refer to romantic relationships, love languages can be applied to every relationship in your life, including the one you have with yourself.
2. What are your short-term goals?
Asking what someone's short-term goals are allows you to see if they are a person with a plan instead of living life with no direction, and you could see how realistic their goals are based on what they are doing now to achieve them.
3. What are your long-term goals?
Long-term goals are where our dreams live! Hearing a person map out the little steps shows you how strategic and serious they are about accomplishing their objectives. Are they just a dreamer or an active achiever? If they want a family, how are they holding themselves accountable in existing relationships and working things out instead of canceling everyone? Are they securing their financial bag to invest in their dream company, or are they splurging going on ten vacations a year and not saving a dime?
4. What's your relationship with your family like?
Asking questions about family relationships is essential because everyone has a unique connection with their family. For some people, family can be so exhilarating to talk about, and for other people, it could be a nightmare and a huge trigger of emotional distress. Our family has a lot of influence on us, whether we like it or not, so knowing their relationship will help you understand why they haven't called a family member in years and how that reflects in other relationships in their life.
5. What happened in your last relationship that led you to break up?Shutterstock
This is a great window to see how accountable that person is because even though we all get hurt, we also play a role in every situation. Some situations are toxic, some people grow apart, but overall, there is always a lesson to learn and things to admit we could have done better.
6. What relationship in your life do you find the hardest to navigate in?
Learning what relationship is the hardest to navigate lets you know when you need to give this person a bit more space when he/she interacts with them. There may be a time you're around that person when they answer a call from the person they find the hardest to deal with, and all they need is the "Hey, how'd it go with so and so," "Are you OK," or "I'm here if you want to talk about it."
7. What scenarios in life are you most afraid of?
We all have scenarios we are afraid of but appreciate greatly, like I can't wait to be a mom one day, but I'm nervous about the pregnancy journey because of the high statistics of Black women not being believed when they are in pain or other health complications. So if a friend/your partner knows this, they can help comfort you and advise books, articles, podcasts, other great resources to prep for this stage in your life. And there are some scenarios that a person could never want to encounter, and talking about them can help you acknowledge their boundaries.
8. Do you enjoy reading, and what books do you like reading?
Some people are avid readers, others read a book here and there, and some don't read at all. So if you want to have a little book club to review your favorite novels with this person, it's great to ask them how often do they read and what genre they enjoy reading. Maybe they could be your reading accountability partner to pencil in 30-minute to an hour reading sessions daily or vice versa, but you won't ever know unless you ask.
9. What is your best and worst quality?listen fox tv GIF by Lethal WeaponGiphy
Asking someone their best and worst quality shows you how self-aware and honest they are. I'm sure after they tell you their worst quality, they'll follow up with the list of things they're doing to change that quality. Top tier bonds are rooted in transparency.
10. Are you a messy or neat person? Are you on time or usually late?
Listen, ladies, these may seem like simple questions, but they are critical when you have tickets to a concert, and you end up missing it because this person is three hours late. And then, on top of that, you plan to stay over this person's place after, and it looks like a tornado hit their room.
So asking if someone is messy or clean allows you to initiate the "Hey, since I'm staying over tonight, can you tidy up a bit, so I don't feel so out of place." And some people only know CPT (colored people time), aka late, so you need to know if you need to tell them an earlier time so they can come on time versus two hours late.
11. What type of music genres do you like most, and do you enjoy going to concerts?
Music is the world's universal language; knowing this person's favorite music genres can show you more about their character. Some people are diverse music lovers, and some people only like one or two genres. Either way, you can gauge music review conversations, and it could let you know if you have a potential friend to accompany you at concerts and festivals.
12. Who was your childhood hero?
Our childhood hero holds an extraordinary place in our hearts; mine is my mommy; I was very close to her as a child, and I cherish the relationship we have in adulthood. But learning the inside scoop on this person's childhood hero could let you know why they may have admired that person or even if that person is still around to tend to them.
13. What celebrity do you admire the most and why?Shutterstock
This is great info to get a hold of because it can show you what characteristic traits people value in others. Mine are J.Cole and Prince because they're both unapologetically authentic, private, and talented, not looking to please the world but be true to their craft and themselves. So asking this question can show you genuine or artificial traits they may value in others.
14. Are you religious or not?
Everyone has a very different experience with religion; some people could have only gone to church because their family demanded them to, and now they are agnostic or are new Christians and are seeking a church home on their own terms. Religion creates structure, and it shows you what people value, so it's essential to know where they stand in this area to have faith-based conversations.
15. How do you deal with finances, do you spend too much or too little?
Managing finances is a prime topic to see if this is a potential roommate, someone you can plan a vacation with or build a family with. Regardless, money matters as we all know as adults, so it's essential to discuss financial goals to respect if someone can't tag along for a vacation because they're saving up to move out of their parent's house and investing in going back to school to earn a higher degree.
16. What political party do you align with and why?
Politics and religion are mandatory to discuss in any or every relationship. People's political views say a lot about their character and what they invest their money in. This is a serious matter you have to be mindful of because the same things you are raising your voice about, they may be indifferent about and vice versa. Are you able to handle that?
17. What past mistakes do you regret the most and why?lee daniels alex GIF by STARGiphy
Regrets are also useful to address because it shows you people's growth. Nobody needs a stagnant person who claims they did their best in everything; we all mess up from time to time, but we learn from those experiences that mold us and allow us to do better.
18. What do you need when you're stressed out? Do you like to talk it out, journal about it, or just want to deal with it alone?
Stress, stress, stress! I know we all hate being in this mindset but discussing what you need in stressful moments (prior to the situation) allows you to respect how that person may process negative emotions, and it shows you how you can support them during that time frame.
19. What's your ideal vacation?
Don't we all love the sound of VACATION? I know that's a yes sis, where we going, and how much do I need to save prior?! Inquiring about how people like to vacation is a mega tip for you; it shows you if that person just wants to sleep all day and party all night or the opposite and plan ahead to do all the sightseeing, visit museums and cute restaurants. It's a plus for you if you think this is a good person to invite on your small friends' trip to Costa Rica or just pass altogether on the invite.
20. What's your biggest fear?
Asking someone their biggest fears lets you know where they're the most vulnerable and may need extra support when they face seasons that trigger their fears.
21. What's your biggest flaw?
I know no one is jumping up right away to say their biggest flaws, but it's great to highlight, it shows us we're self-aware, and it leads to conversing about better ways to overcome those flaws. Who says you can't be flawless in a few months if you have the tools to combat your flaws?
The journey of getting to know someone is a beautiful process, but the older we get, we often seek more meaningful connections than teenagers looking to be friends and accepted by everyone. We can't be afraid to dig a little deeper to see our loved ones' core and vice versa to build more lasting relationships built on sturdy foundations!
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image via Unsplash
- 5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Engaged ... ›
- 21 Great Questions To Ask During A Job Interview - xoNecole ... ›
- Questions Every Couple Should Ask Before Relationship - xoNecole ... ›
- 10 Creative First Date Questions - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love ... ›
- Questions To Ask Close Friends - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love ... ›
- 5 Questions Ask Before Getting Engaged - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Ajeé Buggam is a content writer and fashion designer from New York City and an alumna from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She specializes in writing about race, social injustice, relationships, feminism, entrepreneurship, and mental wellness. Check out her recent work at Notes To Self
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images