Where are you from?
While many people are comfortable with this question, a caller to the podcast did mention that he hates this question. Generally, they may answer this question based on where they currently live or where they were born. It's really up to them.
The podcast listed a few regional variations of this question:
- What part of XYZ city are you from? (What part of New York City are you from?)
- Did you grow up around here?
- What [high] school did you go to?
- What exit are you from?
- Who's your momma?
What do you do?
While most American do not mind talking about their job, there are some who may find this question uncomfortable to answer if they have been recently laid off. The podcast shares how some conversational openers change based on cultural and economic changes faced in the country.
The acceptability of questions also is dependent on the scenario in which we are in.
- Professional Networking Event/Client Visit
Asking someone about their job is acceptable in this scenario. In fact, we could go into more detail at work, especially if we are working with the person.
- Studying in a College/University
Asking someone, "What is your major?" is the most comparable question to "What do you do?" This question is safe for studying in college at any age, as now a days college students range in age from 18 to 80!
- Meeting a Stranger on the Street Without a context to the relationship, it's better to stick to neutral topics like the weather, restaurants to eat at, directions, etc.
Can you understand different American accents?
Making small talk with Americans easy
Dos and Don'ts for Small Talk
When Americans Speak Fast - Tips to Understand
Networked blogs link: http://networkedblogs.com/VQMjG