With social media, around-the-clock news, selfies, reality TV and celebrity gossip, it seems like no one is engaging in intellectual conversation topics. While an intellectual conversation may be a lost art, there is no reason that you can’t revive it! Whether you want to find something to talk about with your in-laws or just want to impress a new date, the following conversation topics can get you started.
Some Tips for Intellectual Conversation Topics
Before we dive into the list, there are a few tips that can help you think of what to say. One of the easiest ways to have intellectual conversations is to exercise your mind. Reading great books from literature or non-fiction books can help you open your mind to new ideas and find things to talk about. If you don’t have time to read, there are podcasts and documentaries on topics like history, science, psychology and global events that you can listen to. By learning everything you can, you make it easier to find new conversation topics. Plus, the other person will think that you are well-read and extremely intelligent.
Other than learning everything you can, your next course of action is to think about things that you should not say. The old rule about avoiding politics, sex and religion topics at dinner is not always true, but it is true enough of the time to be a good idea. Unless you already know the other person’s general beliefs, it is probably a good idea to stick to safer topics. Also, if you know that they feel strongly about something, then you might want to avoid the subject if you have an opposing belief.
One of the easiest topics to start is about history. A number of people really love history, although there are so many different cultures, nations and time periods that it might be hard to find common ground. If you find someone who is a major history buff through, all you really have to do is get the conversation going. Once you get them talking about their favorite time period in history, then your work is over with.
Before you knock this topic, forget about the alien conspiracies and little green men. Instead, look at this topic from the perspective of an astronomer or physicist. What are the chances that aliens exist somewhere in the universe? Would there be potential for life anywhere else in the universe? From this intellectual conversation topic, you can switch to other topics like the universe, astronomy and modern physics.
3. The Afterlife
This intellectual conversation topic only works if the other person is pretty open-minded. If you are talking to someone who is devout, then they are already certain about what happens after everyone dies. As long as they are open-minded though, you could have a fun conversation talking about what could happen or not happen.
Another possible topic is on the nature of reality. Is the world we live in as real as it seems? What is reality? Is everything subjective or objective? Is there truly right or wrong?
When all else fails, try a trivia game. It might not start an intellectual conversation, but it will at least give you something to talk about as you try to pass the time.
5. Global Events
Local politics can sometimes be tricky, but things tend to get a little easier as you start to talk about global politics instead. Before you meet up with anyone, check out the latest events that are happening online. There are always new events, political changes, wars and other incidents happening throughout the world. By bringing up these topics, you show that you are well-read and have something interesting to talk about.
Other than global events, you can also talk about global cultures. There are so many different religions, ethnic groups, languages and historical events in cultures across the world. With so many different options, you could easily spend an entire night talking about how different cultures live, each and work.
6. Personality Types
This might not be super intellectual, but it would still be a good conversation topic. If you haven’t already, take a Myers-Briggs personality type test. There are 16 different types of people, and it is always fun seeing who in the group has a similar personality to other group members.
Another fun topic is reincarnation. If you finish with the after life discussion, this is an easy one to move to. Many cultures around the world believe in reincarnation and past lives. Whether you believe in it or not, it can be a fun topic to talk about.
Many of the smartest people in the world have one thing in common: reading. Reading is one of the easiest ways to learn anything from anywhere. Because of this commonality, talking about books from literature is an easy way to connect with fellow intellectuals. You can talk about the last book you read or see if they have any suggestions for new books. From there, you can also discuss some of the themes and plot lines in the book.
Just about everyone has a dream vacation that they have thought about for years. Some people are lucky enough to go on that vacation, and other people still have to save their pennies for an incredible journey. Either way, most people enjoy learning about new travel destinations and places to go. At the very least, they like to tell other people about it. If you cannot think of a way to keep the conversation going, get the other person to talk about where they have traveled to or where they want to go.
The same concept works for hopes and dreams as well. To be happy in this life, people need someone to love, something to do and something to work toward. Dreams are something that nearly everyone has because they need something to work toward. It gives you hope on your darkest days. Dreams can tell a lot about your personality and what you want out of life. If you need some intellectual conversation topics, start by comparing your dreams to each other and see where that takes you.
As we mentioned originally, politics can be a very dangerous topic to discuss. If you have opposing political beliefs, then you will end up arguing with each other instead of having a conversation. If you both support the same party, then it could be an interesting conversation—although a bit boring since you would both believe in the same thing.
Other Intellectual Conversation Topics
The previous topics are some of the most common, interesting or easiest to talk about. If you are still stuck for intellectual conversation topics, we have a list of a few other questions that you can use to get started.
If you could go back to school and study any subject, what would it be?
Where would you travel if money was not a problem?
What do you regret most in your life?
What types of animals are the most sentient?
Who is your hero and why?
Who is your favorite figure from history?
Do you think that a first impression forms most of your impression of someone else?
Do you think that dreams are based on your subconscious? Could they ever predict the future?
What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
Do you think that American culture should be less prominent in the world?
What do you think are the best ways to stop climate change?
What morality guides your life and beliefs?
Do you believe that it is possible for people to change?
Should all children be required to go camping in school to learn what original humans lived like?
Is Japanese forest bathing a trend that will catch on in Western nations?
Does spending time in nature make you feel happier or more connected?
What is the most important scientific breakthrough of the last decade?
What do you think about fecal transplants?
If you could implant a chip in your body, would you? Why or why not?
Will it ever be possible to transfer one person’s consciousness to someone else?
Could you make the human mind like a computer and allow it to download new information?
What language do you wish that you could learn?
If you could do anything for your career, what would you do?