1. “Have you tried any odd food combinations I should know about?”
With a lot of spare time and limited trips to the grocery store, most of us need all the meal inspiration we can get. You can’t always trust the recipes you find on the Internet, so reach out to your friends and family to learn new food tricks that you can rely on. If they still can’t help you figure out what to do, remember that The Cavalier Daily food page is always there to help you out — although those recipes may require a bit of planning.
2. “Any new music? My Spotify playlists are tired.”
It’s OK to admit that your 2000s jams playlist isn’t doing it for you anymore. With more walks, runs and persistent boredom, music is a necessity. Just like needing new food combos, it is never a bad idea to ask your quarantine buddies or socially-distant friends for some new tunes. Plus, taking a step outside your normal musical genres could be an interesting way to discover who you or your friends are. Believe me — music is a window to the soul, so strike up a convo and figure out who you’re trapped inside with. You never know, maybe this conversation starter could lead you to start your cover band — just be sure to give me credit for the inspiration.
3. “Be honest. How are you doing?”
Being quarantined and distant from normal everyday activities and social interaction can be difficult for everyone, especially those that suffer with mental illness. Although it is intimidating to have intimate, meaningful conversation with people you haven’t spoken to in a while or have to be stuck with for an undetermined amount of time, it means a lot to have genuine conversations to show people you care. Even though this is listed as a “conversation starter,” don’t be afraid to simply listen to their response — sometimes that means more than any reply.
4. “So you took a walk today.”
This conversation starter is great because it has lots of follow-up question opportunities such as, “Did you see anything notable?”, “Where did your walk lead you?” or “Was the weird neighbor walking his cat again?” The possibilities are really endless. If you really need to spice up the dialogue, make an extravagant story out of the things you saw — because taking a walk doesn’t have to be the most exciting part of a day in quarantine.
5. “Remember that time …”
Nostalgia — what a sweet feeling. A trip down memory lane is something we all need to indulge in regularly, so why not take some of your free time and share your memories with people you care about? Try reliving your glory days through elaborate storytelling. I can guarantee that your friends, siblings, parents and any other quarantine buddies will love hearing about the time you streaked the Lawn or celebrated the 2019 men’s basketball NCAA Championship — although maybe you should steer clear of some of your college stories if you’re quarantined with your parents.
6. “Would you like to see the TikTok dance I learned today?”
Even if you are 20-something years old, TikTok dances can be challenging, so you earn your right to brag. And who knows? This conversation could turn from compliments on your impeccable rhythm to an intervention about your TikTok addiction — but don’t let the haters stop you from ‘Renegade-ing’ for the rest of your life.
7. “Let’s just not talk.”
Instead of pursuing a conversation, enjoy the presence of your friends, family, roommates or strangers you are quarantined with — although I sincerely hope that no one is stuck with strangers right now. This conversation starter could also be an invitation to pray, meditate, reflect or nap. We all find joy and comfort in silence from time to time, so don’t feel like every part of your day has to be filled with deep, meaningful discussions and productivity. Technically, taking a break is doing something too.
8. “What if I just changed my hair a bit?”
The most logical reply for this conversation goes one of two ways — “How is your mental health?” or “Would you care for any help?” If you make it past this question, you and your consultant can then decide whether it should be bangs, a full-on chop, a buzzcut, bleach or color. The possibilities are endless, so this one is for those of you who are ready for adventure and spontaneity.
Alternative conversation starter if consultation is not necessary — “You’ll never guess what I did to my hair today!”
9. “Got any summer plans?”
I know what you’re thinking — “Of course I don’t have summer plans. I can’t go anywhere.” But despite your pessimism, summer plans don’t have to include travel or a prestigious internship. Try asking your friends and quarantine mates, and you may discover that summer plans can be cleaning the entirety of your house, starting a garden or even watching Tiger King and investigating the supposed innocence of Carol Baskins — you may find a new passion hidden in the mundaneness of staying home.
10. “What are you grateful for today?”
Although there is so much going on in our world that is difficult and off-putting, there are many little things that we can find joy in, and it is important to take time to recognize them. Whether it is having access to the Internet, reading that book you have been putting off or sharing a meal with someone you love — even if it is over Zoom — it is important to take time to appreciate these moments. A positive attitude always has the possibility of turning a blah day into something brighter.