Open-ended questions are crucial to keeping conversation going. Closed-ended questions stop them.
Before I moved to Chicago, someone asked me “Are you excited about law school?” I was a bit annoyed by the question, as there really is only one answer. I was tempted to say “No, I’m bored by the prospect.” Or perhaps “No, I’m morbidly terrified.”
What that person really meant was “I want to talk to you about your emotional state and anticipation about law school.” Instead of asking a closed-ended question that drops the conversation, a better question would have been “How are you feeling about law school?” This would have opened the conversation more to the nuances of my feelings toward this stage in my life, rather than a simplistic “excited/not excited” dichotomy.