It can be difficult at first to think of the right question to ask. You want each recorded memory to count. Here are some tips to asking questions that will help you get to know your friend better than ever before.
Consider key moments in their life
Often the easiest place to start is thinking of key milestones or events in their life, such as a graduation, marriage, or birth of a child. Ask about their feelings during those periods, other people involved, and events that led up to it.
As they answer each question, think about what they haven’t yet shared. For example, your friend may have talked about how they met their spouse prior to getting married, but did they tell you how they decided on the location to get married? What did they do for their honeymoon? Why did they select that location? Who came to the ceremony? Who didn’t come to the ceremony? What did they consider when choosing rings? With each answer you can find more questions to help recreate a memory of the full event.
Review other memories
If they have already answered some questions, you can get inspiration for additional questions by exploring the answers. There’s a good chance they left out some details. Some details may have been forgotten, others they may not have felt were interesting enough to share. The more you ask, the more they will remember and the better you’ll get to know them.
Fill in the gaps
Once they have shared memories of their major life events, you can focus on events that happened in between. As they answer questions they will build up a timeline of all the memories they’ve shared. You can find new questions by exploring the gaps between their memories.
For example, as you look at a friend’s timeline, you may notice a couple years where no memories have been shared. Ask what significant events happened during that time. Then, continue to fill in the gaps.
Finally, don’t worry about asking the perfect question. There’s no limit to the number of questions and answers. If your friend doesn’t answer the question the way you intended, be grateful for the additional insight into their background, then ask a new question in a different way.