Four alternatives to asking "How was your day?"
I didn't want to say it. I'd been down this road so many times, and I knew that it usually stalled at a dead end. But I could feel the words on the tip of my tongue, scrambling to get out of the awkward silence of our greeting. Before my brain could find a decent alternative, I blurted out the familiar question.
"So, how was your day?"
Predictably the response was tepid. "It was fine." End of conversation.
I considered the customary follow-up, "What'd you do?" but thankfully resisted. I knew the answer to that one, too, and it was rarely interesting.
"I've got to find a different question," I thought to myself like every other spouse and parent on the planet. "If only there was a place I could go to find out how other people handle this problem."
Oh wait--there is. It's called the Internet. Surely I'd find ideas there.
After some cursory browsing and several link-bait detours, neither Google nor Pinterest failed me. I came up with a list of my four favorite alternatives* to the dreaded "how was your day" question. Here they are, in no particular order:
4 alternative questions to ask instead of "How was your day"
- If we traded places tomorrow, what advice would you give me for the day? (I might phrase this differently, like "if you were in my shoes tomorrow during my planned meeting, how would you approach it?")
- What made you laugh today?
- What do you wish you had more time for today?
- What do you wish you did less of today?
Here were other contenders I also liked:
- Did you hear anything interesting today? (I'll probably rotate this with question #2 above about laughing.)
- What did everyone seem to be talking most about today?
And here are 3 questions that kids will like (but might make a spouse's eyes roll):
- If we were leaving for vacation tonight, where do you wish we would be heading?
- If you won $500 and had to spend it on yourself, what would you buy?
- How was today different than yesterday? How was it the same?
Try it: Practice the art of conversation by replacing the dull, "how was your day" question by choosing one question from above, or come up with a fresh idea of your own, and ask it to a loved one tonight.
*Note: Both this article and this article had great conversation ideas I liked.
‘What made you laugh today’? This question was a real conversation starter! It sparked a very amusing talk for me and my daughter. Thank you for the suggestions!