80 Conversation Starters That Don’t Have To Do With Coronavirus

For me, last Thursday marked one full week of social distancing, which meant one full week of talking nonstop about social distancing: how to help people who are suddenly out of work, whether I should decamp to my boomer parents’ house or stay the hell away, and what to cook to spread out my grocery runs as far out as possible. The subtext of each of these conversations is how anxious everyone is about coronavirus.

That anxiety is extremely valid — we’re all feeling it for a reason. But because the pandemic is affecting everyone so radically, it feels impossible to not talk about it. I say, let’s just talk about something else!

Talking about literally anything other than coronavirus can help us reframe our thoughts and cope with this new normal, says Elana Cairo, a licensed clinical psychologist with Alma.

“When we’re thinking about something like the coronavirus … it tends to be worried thoughts about what might happen to us, to our family, to the world. Those kinds of thoughts tend to lead to feelings of anxiety and panic,” Cairo tells Bustle. “With distraction, we can bring ourselves back to the present moment and know that right now, we’re OK.”

To be clear, I’m not advocating for everyone to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the very real dangers this pandemic poses. And many people, especially medical professionals, grocery store employees, or other essential workers, don’t have the option to change the subject. But with estimates that Americans might be social distancing for months, I’m sure lots of us are down to pivot our Zoom convos toward anything — anything! — else.

“It’s helpful to commiserate, but only to an extent,” Cairo says. “It’s also helpful to know that we can talk and think about other things, too.”

Of course, it’s important to stay informed as the outbreak unfolds, since regulations are still changing day by day. But when you just need to hear about something good, here are 80 conversation starters to turn to, organized by most normal to most weirdly specific.


  1. What’s one thing you did today you’re proud of?
  2. What’s one thing you’re grateful for?
  3. What’s one thing you’re excited about for tomorrow?

Crafting A Routine

  1. How do you transition from work from home to at-home night mode?
  2. What are you doing for dinner?
  3. What’s your morning routine?
  4. What’s your go-to WFH breakfast? Non-workday breakfast?
  5. What time do you usually work out?
  6. What is the most chaotic thing you do as part of your routine?


  1. Why is dance cardio so fun?
  2. What’s the best online yoga platform?
  3. Have you been able to finally get into running?
  4. Does kneading bread count as exercise?
  5. So how do we feel about Peloton now?
  6. Do you ever start a chat in the comments of a livestream?
  7. Debate: barre vs. pilates vs. yoga

Pets & Animals

  1. Have your pets done anything funny lately?
  2. What do you think your dog’s name for you is?
  3. What do you think Jessica’s dog’s name for Jessica is?
  4. Did you see the penguins taking a tour of their aquarium?
  5. What animal are you most like and why? (Cannot be your favorite animal!)

Staying Entertained

  1. Have you started any new hobbies?
  2. Have you started any new hobbies that you’re really bad at?
  3. Debate: Which streaming service actually has the best stuff?
  4. What niche new show are you watching?
  5. Is there an old TV show you’re re-watching? How is it better this time?
  6. Have you watched any of Netflix’s weird hidden movies?
  7. Have you watched Love Is Blind yet?
  8. What is Jessica’s deal??
  9. How much SVU have you watched in your life, cumulatively? Is it months’ or years’ worth?
  10. What have you been reading?
  11. Have you started any books that have just been unreadable?
  12. What podcasts are you listening to?
  13. What phone apps or games have you been playing?
  14. How much time have you spent playing The Sims in your life, cumulatively?
  15. Have you watched Cats yet?
  16. What’s the best cooking show on streaming?
  17. What is the worst show you’ve been watching that’s secretly very good?

Staying Entertained… Hornily

  1. What’s your go-to opening sext?
  2. What’s your new go-to dating app line?
  3. Do you ever download dating apps just for the ego boost?
  4. What vibrator is your new go-to?
  5. What’s your favorite kind of porn?
  6. Have you met anyone in a Zoom party you’d want to date IRL?
  7. Have you ever hooked up with anyone in a Zoom breakout room?
  8. Would you ever date someone Love Is Blind-style?
  9. But wait, isn’t a Zoom date kind of like Love Is Blind?

Staying Social

  1. What annoying habit have you noticed your roommate doing?
  2. What annoying habit have you noticed your neighbor doing?
  3. What annoying habit have you noticed your partner doing?
  4. Debate: Zoom vs. FaceTime.
  5. Have you been Instagram-storying a lot more or a lot less?
  6. Debate: Are Instagram likes disappearing good or bad?
  7. Are you on TikTok yet?
  8. Have you learned any good TikTok dances?
  9. How long did it take you to learn Renegade?
  10. Is everyone using Twitch without me?

Stirring The Pot

  1. Debate: What pasta goes best with pesto?
  2. Debate: What’s the best Trader Joe’s seasoning?
  3. Debate: Is avocado toast guacamole?
  4. Debate: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
  5. What about a taco?
  6. Debate: Barnett?
  7. Does anyone actually like Zoom parties?
  8. What’s an appropriate number of exclamation marks to use in a work email?
  9. What’s the appropriate number of “ha”s in a “hahaha”?
  10. Why does ending a text with a period make someone sound mad?
  11. The Gilmore Girls revival was actually ____.

Celebrity Gossip

  1. What do you think each of the Kardashian-Jenners is doing right now?
  2. What do you think Mariah Carey’s social-distancing routine looks like?
  3. What do you think Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s social-distancing routine looks like?
  4. What do you think Lauren and Cameron’s social-distancing routine looks like?

Stirring The Pot 2: Beans Edition

  1. Canned or dry?
  2. Crock-Pot, Instant Pot, or Dutch oven?
  3. What’s the best bean stew recipe?
  4. Pasta and beans or rice and beans?
  5. What kind of beans do you think Brad Leone is making right now?
  6. What about Andy?
  7. Have you watched the jelly bean episode of Gourmet Makes?
  8. What kind of Gourmet Makes do you feel qualified to attempt yourself?


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Too Hot to Handle Trailer: Netflix’s New Reality Experiment Blindsides 10 Sex-Crazed Singles With a ‘Naughty Twist’

It’s hard to put a price on self-control, but $100,000 is a decent place to start. That’s the cash prize up for grabs on Netflix’s upcoming reality dating experiment Too Hot to Handle, whose eight-episode first season drops on Friday, April 17.

Here’s the skinny: Ten smokin’ hot singles from all across the globe come together in paradise for what they think is going to be the sexiest summer of their lives — only to discover that money is deducted from the group’s final pot for every sexual encounter that goes down. Yes, that includes kissing.

Naturally, the whole shebang is hosted by an Alexa-like machine named Lana, who throws just as many wrenches into the game as the cheeky, unsuspecting players.

With one week until the show’s premiere, Netflix has released the first official trailer, which offers a glimpse at the action — though we use that term very loosely. (Remember the rules!) As you’ll see, some of the contestants are committed to keeping it zipped, while others’ loose lips threaten to sink everyone’s ship.

 Will you be tuning in?


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Women Who Stay Single For A Large Period Of Time End Up The Happiest

A happy and loving relationship is something we all long for. Having someone dear by your side in good and bad, supporting you and protecting you is often the key to success in life.

However, being single can also be fulfilling. I believe the only way people can build a strong, affectionate relationship and a stable home, filled with love, is by accepting themselves as they are.

Very often, it takes time to start loving yourself first. Therefore, it is far from a mistake, but sometimes it is the only right thing to do, to dedicate enough time to get to know your true self.

According to Mintel’s Single Lifestyles UK 2017 Report, 61% of single women claim they are happy with their relationship status, compared to 49% of single men.

Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, explains:

“It is easy to assume that all singletons are actively looking for a partner; however, our data shows that this is far from always being the case. Much of this reluctance to look for a partner can be attributed to the young increasingly prioritizing their education, careers and financial stability over being in relationships.”

Numerous women realize their success in life is not based on their love status, and they can be perfectly happy on their own as well.

They realize that they would rather stay single instead of being in a toxic relationship. They do not need a partner to enjoy the beauty of life and are not afraid to be alone for as long as it takes until they find the right person to share their days with.

Many women who have stayed single for a long time end up the happiest, as they have become complete individuals, and can eventually become a couple with a person that matches their needs, and aspirations.

Here is why these women end u the happiest, after being single for a long time:

-They learn to enjoy their own company

— They have plenty of time to understand what they truly need in life

— They use the time to focus on their goals and needs and to follow their passions

-They develop deeper bonds with their relatives and friends

-They enjoy their independence

— They pursue their dreams and goals and do not give up on them

— They embrace their solitude and they are comfortable with themselves

— They have no problem to go alone in public until they find a suitable partner

— They chase their dreams instead of guys

— They realize that they do not need a romantic partner to be the center of their world

-They get used to living alone and won’t settle for anything less than what makes them truly happy

Therefore, after the time spent to find their true self, these women will start a relationship with someone who will encourage them to achieve success in life, someone that will keep up with them in every aspect of life.

Their partner will be someone that supports their passions, ambitions, and plans, and also respects their strength individuality and independence.

Such a woman will end up with a partner that will provide more love, care, and respect, and will add more meaning to her life.

Spending time uncoupled has also been found to be beneficial for the soul, as you can learn things about yourself that will help you the rest of your life, and in future relationships.

Jen Rives, Minneapolis-based licensed marriage and family therapist, says:

“Now is the time to thoroughly enjoy not being defined by being someone’s partner and getting lit up about your own life.”

Rives adds:

“Try to be in the here and now and absorb what it is that you have in your life instead of trying to change it. Whenever you work on yourself, it’s not time wasted.”


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Cassie – Chapter 3 – Saturday Night

I’m sitting there at Bonner’s bar. A place I only go to with my friend Johnny R, because he likes an Irish sports bar that’s outside the bubble of Rittenhouse. (See: Johnny R – Some good stories there…)

But I come here out of boredom and not accustomed to being off, and just hoping for some social time and maybe the possibility of hanging out with Cassie.

Well. that’s paid off, and I immediately change to water to stay clean before Cassie arrives.

My day off may actually become interesting and fun for once.

I’m chilling at the bar as it fills with young, attractive, brilliant students from the Wharton School of Business across the street.

I love seeing all of these young, vibrant brilliant people all hanging out and chatting, laughing and drinking together. The beginning of adult life. So fun.

Cassie hits the door and looks amazing. She’s wearing a light top that is low cut and shoulders are out. Her jeans showcase her shapely legs. I’m still intrigued.

She looks beautiful, and sees me immediately. I stand to greet her, (As you should gentlemen when a lady enters or leaves the room) We hug and she has a seat.

She orders a Guinness, and I return to my Victory Summer Love.

Cassie is intrigued by my choice because she’s never seen that and I can tell she wants a taste. Nick the bartender cracks the cap from the bottle and lays it before me. I look at Cassie and know she wants a taste.

I’ve become so good at reading people I hand her the ice cold beverage. She smiles an puts it to her lips and takes a sip. I know she’ll love it. I also love that this kind of human exchange this early says “I know your safe to put your mouth on my drink before I drink it.”

That’s an early positive in an initial meeting.

“I’m sure it’ll be sweeter now that it’s touched your lips, Cassie,” I charm. She smiles and says it’s really good.

I go into who I am and what I’m doing currently to give her background. Family, single status, work, and where I’m going.

She unloads the same. Big family in California. Brothers and sisters. Strict Christian upbringing. Love it. She’s probably a wild child with issues.

Cassie and I connect as quickly as we did at the salon but on a deeper level. She’s beautiful and fun to be with today. I’m just happy she showed up to rescue me from being off with nothing to do.

She has her degree and has done a lot in human services. But she likes to party and has done coke. That’s why she looks older than her 31 years she told us at the salon. She was a wild child for years rebelling against her conservative upbringing.

It’s a textbook existence, but I really like her. We all have had our levels of damage in this life.

I like being with her and we hit on so many cylinders. She’s laughing and interested in my stories. I only give a few, but we’re having a great time.

She says she just got out of an abusive relationship. Mental and physical. That’s not good and a red flag waves in my face, but I flick it away because I have no investment here. (That’s an early overshare) I’m just happy to meet someone new and kill a few hours on my day off.

I’m really having a great time with this girl and she’s fun to be with. Which is rare in the dating arena, but I didn’t swipe on her, we met at the salon.

She’s from Cali and is absolutely clueless when it comes to Philly. That neophyte is perfect for someone like me. She’s not around all of the time, and I can turn her on to all of the cool spots in the city.

I can tell Cassie already appreciates that and tells me so. I’m happy to hang with an attractive lady and show her the finer points of our fair city.

Bonner’s is getting busy with all of the Wharton kids and it’s getting noisy. I tell Cassie, that we’ll close out and I’ll take her someplace completely different. The exact opposite of where we are now.

I cash out with Nick and say good bye to the crew. The whole bill for both of us is $30 including tip. Cassie thanks me and says she’ll buy my next drink.

We leave Bonner’s. It’s at 23rd and Sansom. I know where I’m going to take Cass to blow her mind.  (hopefully) We walk east and as we make our way to 16th street we pass so many bars and restaurants. (Sansom is rich in a little bit of everything. That’s why my friend Johnny loves it) Mellagrano, a fantastic Italian BYOB, Helium Comedy Club, Fat Jack’s Comic Book Store, The Ritz movie theater, Village Whiskey, home of the best burger in the city and killer whiskey, Capogirio, good gelato, but not anywhere near as good as Gran Caffe L’Aquilla, (which is God) All of the Stephen Starr Restaurants on 18th in Rittenhouse, Dizen Goff that has the best hummus in the city, Happy Rooster, a great bar with with good food but a big coke bar, Marathon, a spectacular chain that’s like an upscale diner with a bar but with food locally harvested.

We turn North on 16th street and I lead Cassie to R2L.

R2L is a sleek, sophisticated restaurant and private event space, R2L sits 500 feet above the city on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place and features wall-to-wall unobstructed, breathtaking panoramic views that span for over 40 miles. With its bird’s-eye views of Philadelphia and creative American cuisine by Chef Daniel Stern, R2L sets the scene for some of the city’s most spectacular culinary experiences.


Your arrival at R2L begins with an exclusive elevator ride to the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place. Walk past the open kitchen and into R2L’s bar and lounge where hand-crafted cocktails and wrap-around seating make it one for the best places to grab a drink with friends and watch the sunset. Enjoy a memorable meal in the dining room featuring professional, attentive service and spectacular panoramic views of Philadelphia.


The R2L Private Event Coordinators will work closely with you and will personally attend to every detail to create an event that will meet your specific needs and exceed your expectations. From a midday board meeting to an intimate cocktail party overlooking William Penn atop City Hall to a grand seated dinner, the private dining options at R2L are as boundless as the view. Each room is equipped with plasma televisions for presentations and full audio-visual capabilities.

Cassie has no clue about Philly or where she is about to go.

We enter 2 Liberty and there’s some remodeling going on. The staff is sweet and apologizes but they lead us to the elevators.

I haven’t been here in years. There’s no reason for me to ever come here. Killer views, mediocre food, (Deadly dessert, sorry Daniel Stern) but sexy bar and an impressive dark space on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty.

There’s an ocean of people waiting for the elevator due to the construction. But Cassie and I are cool because we’ve already had drinks and she’e so affable at this moment, which I love. It’ll happen, we just need to get to 37. If it’s not too crowded a new girl to the city will love this. R2L is a space to impress.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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