Get to Know Someone in English without Small Talk | Advanced English Strategies

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Learn how to get to know someone in English without small talk! I give you 5 Advanced English strategies with this 5P framework where you'll get to really know someone by diving into real conversation and sincere exchanges. If you're ready for this English communication lesson, let's go!

When we’re getting to know someone, we start with small talk. But we want to get as far away from the small talk as soon as possible.

We walk to go beyond surface-level conversation and dive deeper.

That’s where all the hidden gems are.

And if we want to really get to know this person, we’ve got some unlocking to do.

In this lesson, I’m sharing 5 P’s to unlock so that you move past small talk as quickly as possible.

Let’s get right to it.

Keep in mind that the 5 P’s are for you to really get to know someone, and they getting to know you. Meaning, you’re learning the 5 P’s about them, and sharing the 5 Ps about you.

With that, let’s go over the first strategy.


What is this person’s purpose? What do they feel like they were born to do? For some, this could be a calling or a vocation. For many, that’s teaching. If you talk to a lot of good teachers, they say they always knew they wanted to teach and they do a mighty good job at it.

To find out what this person’s purpose is, it would be a little weird and possibly even intrusive if you ask point-blank “What’s your purpose in life?” So you probably wouldn’t want to ask it that way.

Pay attention to how they talk about work and how they spend most of their time. What makes them forget to eat? What do they feel excited about working on? What did they love doing as a child? How do they want people to remember them? What kind of contribution do they hope to make to society and to the world?


What is their passion in life? Of course, there can be more than one. What gets them up in the morning. What makes them excited to be alive. This could take shape in the form of a hobby, specialization, or interest.

For example, someone’s purpose might be helping to end world poverty, but they could be deeply passionate about surfing and spend any vacation out on the waves.

You can ask them what they’re interested in or how they love spending any free time. You can ask them what is one fun thing they make time for each day or each week.


What do they do for a living? Sometimes profession overlaps with purpose and passion, in which case you’ve learned three things about the person in one, but that’s not usually the case for most people. One’s profession usually is about how one earns their living. How do they get by in the world? How do they put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, and keep the lights on?

Someone might like their profession, but they might not necessarily think of it as their purpose or even be passionate about what they’re doing. And that’s ok. Everyone needs to make a living somehow.

You can ask them what they do for a living and how they like working at that job.

If they’re an entrepreneur, their profession might be a blend of purpose and passion. But again, that’s not always the case for everyone.


What are some moments that they are most proud of? Did they win the public speaking competition in high school? Did they complete a triathlon after thirty? Did they help create a cure to a disease? What are this person’s accomplishments?

The same goes for you. What do you want the person to know about your achievements?

We all have achievements and for the type-A’s out there, I get it, even if you have a list of accomplishments to boast, it doesn’t feel like you accomplished anything yet.

The point here is to be humble and modest, but sharing what you are proud to have achieved is something that will help the person get to know you better.

You can also talk about what you hope to be proud of in the future. These are goals and objectives, taking a dream and turning it into a reality. Share those too!


Up until now, the strategies we covered can be gleaned from the conversation or asked in a related question form.

But for peculiarities, it could be a bit awkward to vocalize this as a question.

What’s peculiar about you?

Are you weird in any way?

What are your idiosyncrasies?

These questions might be mistaken as rude or presumptuous, so you don’t want to bust those out.

Instead, pay attention. Use your eyes and ears to figure out what makes them unique.

We’re all so unique and when we get to really know a person that becomes clearer.


The 5Ps of getting to know someone for real, and someone getting to know you is the quickest way to ditch the surface-level small talk.

As you’re learning about their purpose, passion, profession, pride, and peculiarities, be sure to share the same about you.

Establishing rapport and building a real connection with someone is a two-way street. There’s give and take. You wouldn’t want to only talk about them because it could quickly feel like an interrogation or interview. And you wouldn’t want to just blabber about yourself because that’s kind of lame. So keep that balance in mind the next time you embark on getting to know someone.

And since we’re all evolving and changing, the 5Ps will also evolve. So keep them in your back pocket because you’ll surely be revisiting them. Think of how many times your passion changed or your purpose has evolved. Make sure that you whip these out anytime you’re looking to have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone. You’ll be delighted with how much you learn and how good it feels to share these details about you as well.


Alright Explearners, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Comment below on which of the 5 P’s are your favorite and why. What other ways do you think you can move past the small talk stage? Share that with the other Explearners in the comments below!

I’ll see you in the next lesson where we'll continue advancing your English!