Conversation Starters That Have Nothing to Do With the Coronavirus

“I just saw my friend’s kitchen for the first time and I said, ‘Oh my god, I love your cabinets,’” she said. “It gave her an opportunity to give me a house tour.”

If there are children in your household, one way of keeping their minds off the news is to ask them to teach you a skill or show you how they do something. “It could be fourth-grade math, it could be technology-related, it doesn’t matter,” Ms. Gottsman said. “It’s more than keeping them entertained, they can also teach us.”

If your child loves guitar, for example, ask why he or she loves that particular hobby or when he or she started getting into it. “Take that person’s natural skill at using something and ask them to become a teacher, give them a job or a purpose,” Ms. RoAne said. “Say, ‘I’m trying to learn how to do X thing, could you help me?’”

Whatever TV shows, podcasts, music, books or movies you’re making time for right now are great fodder for conversations. “We are living in a golden age of streaming,” Ms. Brown said. “A lot of my conversations lately have been about ‘Tiger King,’ which is the only thing crazier available right now that is legal.”

And if none of your loved ones are consuming the same content, you can join dedicated groups on Facebook and other message boards for just about every aspect of pop culture you might be interested in.

If you’re really struggling to talk about anything besides the coronavirus, try playing games together instead. There are plenty of online gaming options available, like the trivia website Sporcle and apps like Words With Friends. If you are playing with your housemates, use whatever board games, cards or puzzles you may have on hand.

If having more heartfelt conversations about how you’re feeling is comforting, go for it. “It does provoke anxiety, but sometimes it promotes a constant bond, because we actually have an international conversation connecting people,” Ms. RoAne said.

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