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36 Questions To Ask Your Family Members To Get To Know Them Better

Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor
By Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor
Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

When it comes to family, we can sometimes assume we already know all there is to know about one another, especially with family members you grew up with and/or those you see fairly regularly.

But just like we invest time and energy into getting to know our partners better, it's worth it to stay curious about our family members and continue learning about them, too. After all, people can change a lot over time, and there are always new things to discover about each other, no matter how much time you've spent together or how well you might think you know someone already.

And especially when it comes to family, learning about each other often helps us learn more about ourselves, too. So much about who we are—from our attachment style in relationships to how we react to stressful situations—is impacted by the people who raised us and the people who came before us.

So, it's worth it to spend the time getting to know our family members, as what makes them who they are is inextricably tied to what makes us who we are.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions, from lighthearted and nostalgic to deep and thought-provoking, to ask over your next family dinner to get to know your family members better:

  1. What was your favorite family tradition growing up? 
  2. How did you celebrate (Christmas/other important holiday) growing up? 
  3. What's one of your favorite family recipes, and who taught it to you? 
  4. How did you and (Dad/Aunt Betty/etc.) meet? 
  5. When did you know you'd get married? 
  6. What's your favorite story about (Grandma/Uncle Joe/beloved person)? 
  7. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? 
  8. Were you a good student growing up?
  9. Tell us a story of a time you got in trouble at school.  
  10. What were Grandma and Grandpa (or other elders in the family) like when you were growing up? 
  11. What's one of your favorite childhood memories?
  12. What's your favorite memory of (your hometown/another important place)? 
  13. What's one thing that was hard about your childhood?
  14. Do you think it was better growing up at the time you did, or would you have preferred to grow up the way kids do today? 
  15. What was I like as a child? 
  16. What would be your ideal Saturday? 
  17. Do you have any routines that you stick to religiously? 
  18. Is there anything you wish you did more of? Less of?
  19. If you could wake up with any skill tomorrow, what would you choose?
  20. Do you identify as an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
  21. What's one thing the family probably doesn't know about you? 
  22. What's one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? 
  23. If you could do it all over, what career would you choose?
  24. What's one thing you like about yourself?
  25. What's one thing you like about me?
  26. What's one of your core values? 
  27. Have your values changed at all from the past to what they are today?
  28. What's one thing that's been bringing you pleasure lately?
  29. Tell us about one of the happiest moments of your life. 
  30. What's one thing you love about being in your (30s/40s/50s/etc.)?
  31. What's one social skill you'd still like to work a little more on, and why?
  32. What's something you're proud of?
  33. How do you define success?
  34. Who made you the way that you are? 
  35. What's one thing you hope to pass on to your kids? 
  36. Do you have any family secrets you feel like sharing?

Stay curious and keep asking questions, and you'll find yourself continuing to get to know your family (and yourself!) better and better over time.

Kelly Gonsalves author page.
Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed, among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.

You can stay in the loop about her latest programs, gatherings, and other projects through her newsletter: