10 Questions That Are More Interesting Than, "What Do You Do?" | One To Nothin'

10 Questions That Are More Interesting Than, "What Do You Do?"

We're going to travel back a few years for story time right quick. Remember back when I was a single blogger? No? Maybe you should peruse this page first to get caught up. All right, now that we're on the same page..

Every once in a while I'd mention “negging” and how much it makes me want to barf and stab pencils into my eyeballs. That’s not what this post is about, but it’s when a dirtbag tries to come onto a woman by putting her down in some way. Generally, the insult should be subtle enough to make her insecure but not harsh enough for her to slap him silly (although she should anyway). Supposedly this makes her vulnerable and thus more likely to go home with him. Vom.

Cut to me in a bar, I was the DD and therefore sober as could be. I chose to sit with the group’s belongings while they danced around because it was nearing the end of the night, and you know how when your group gets drunker, your own sobriety seems to intensify? It was that time of the night and I was perfectly content scrolling through Instagram by myself at the table, but a boy came up to me anyway. He sat down in the chair next to me and tried to neg.

“Hey, I’m *jerk-face*, how’s it going?”
"Um, fine.”
“What do you do?
“I’m a writer.”
*laughter* "My buddy is a 'writer' too. He works at an auto shop. What do you do?"

I was pissed.

I considered telling him the accolades of the journalism program I graduated from. The many publications I had bylines in. The online publication I wrote, edited and created content for five days a week for four years.

Then I considered my main source of income: nannying 30 hours a week, and instead of saying anything, I walked away. I didn’t owe him an explanation, and I didn’t need to sit in a crowded bar and let some drunk asshole tell me what I am and that it's defined by how I pay bills.

The question he was asking, “What do you do to pay rent?” is a valid question. But if you ask me, it’s a damn boring one.

The answer to, “What do you do?” could be awesome.

“I surf.”
“I create beautiful things.”
“I travel to foreign countries.”
“I volunteer at a homeless shelter.”
“I write.”
"I eat hotdogs competitively."

Sometimes the answers to, “What do you do.. to pay rent?” are wonderful incarnations of, “What are you passionate about?” but often times, they’re just how you get by. And that’s not fun to talk about, especially during some of the only hours of freedom you have just for you during the week. Oftentimes the answer boils down to, "I sit behind a screen 40-80 hours a week.”

So.. you could talk about that, OR you could ask one of these questions instead:

"When was the last time you were psyched out of your mind?”
“What’s a project you’re working on just because you want to?”
“What’s something you did this week that made you happy?”
“What do you like to do?”
“What song do you sing at the top of your lungs in the shower?”
“What’s stopping you?”
“What is your favorite hobby?”
“If you could go to college for free and study anything, what would it be?”
“What’s your pet’s name?”
“If you invented a new ice cream flavor, what would you name it?”

Next time you're out and you meet someone new, I think you should try one of those openers. Or you could settle for their occupation, but unless their answer is "Professional Trampoline Tester" or "Dental Hygienist for Lions" your conversation might just end there.


  1. I love the hobby one or the "what do you like to do one." But all must be used with caution! Or a little warm-up at least. I definitely walked into an awkward party with my best friend (being a good wingwoman) and it was totally not my scene. The first guy who sees me approaches me and asks me what my name was, introduced himself, and then proceeded to ask "So what is your dream job?" WHAT? First of all, I wish I knew myself. Second of all...why should I share that with this weird dude I just met?

    I'm totally with you about the "What do you do?" question, it's just so bland and routine. I often find myself describing my job in more and more obscure ways.

  2. ha-ha. Also, when was the last time you almost puked in front of strangers?

  3. Great ideas. It's always hard to start up conversation with someone new and I use the "what do you do" line way to often.I need to branch out!

  4. I LOVE this! I've always hated that question too and have brainstormed other options. Can't say I've used any lately but next people I meet I'll try em out. Glad you gave us some more interesting options! :)

  5. YOur posts are always so on point with stuff like this! :)
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  6. Great post! I've always found the, "What do you do," question unimaginative, at best. I love the other options you've listed much better!

  7. تعتبر مدينة الدمام من اكبر مدن المنطقة الشرقية فى المملكة العربية السعودية ولهذا يوجد بها الكثير من شركات كشف تسربات المياه والعزل ولهذا قمنا بتجميعها هنا.
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام التى تعد واحدة من الشركات الرائدة فى اعمال الكشف عن التسريبات وتقدم خدمات اخرى كثيرة منها : الكشف شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالخبر

    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر


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