A simple way to solicit meaningful conversation this holiday season and beyond
One of our best friends died a couple of years ago. His name was Andy Royer and one of the things that I always remember about him was that he was gifted at having meaningful conversations in a very short amount of time.
I remember once we were at my house and a new friend of mine was visiting. Andy was also over. Everyone had just arrived and we were sitting at the table together. I got up to go to the bathroom.
I was out of the room for approximately two minutes and when I came back Andy and my girlfriend were deep in conversations about family patterns, and parts of themselves that they were open or interested in changing, places that they judged (in themselves) and places where they felt they excelled. I kid you not; it was two minutes tops.
I always loved that about him. I would marvel at it and when I was present for it, try to unravel exactly how he had accomplished that depth of conversation in such a short time period.
Because I so prefer that kind of conversation.
I still don’t know how Andy did it. But this year I started asking meaningful questions right off the bat in conversation as my own way of entering quickly into conversations with substance.
I think I first encountered the idea when I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak this year. She spoke about when she was on tour with her book, “Big Magic.” To keep herself creative and not just going through the sometimes deadening motions of a book tour she forced herself to ask everyone this question:
“What are you most excited about?”
Her tales of the responses ran the gamut from downright awkward, to horrifying, to heart warming and funny. That put an idea in my head. And it made me think of Andy.
Then, not too long ago I came across an internet post called, “Conversation starters: 19 Things Introverts Would Rather Talk About Than Make Small Talk.”
Since I couldn’t actually recall the subjects on that list when it came time, (though I promise I’m going to study them after I finish writing this article!) nor Elizabeth Gilbert’s question, I fetched around in my mind for something– any question that would be likely to solicit a more remarkable conversation than “How are you?” So I started asking people some version of, “What’s the most interesting thing to you that’s happening in your life right now?”
And when I do, I get the meat. The goodness, the inspiration, or even just the details of WHAT is actually happening in a person’s life– that is of interest to them. Not just, “I’m fine. Things are good.”
It’s been lovely.
So, if you are the kind of person, like me, who appreciates authentic, genuine and meaningful conversations about the intricacies of our lives and being human I’m offering it up to you. This holiday run try asking your cousins, or aunts, or family, or co-workers a question or two that opens the door for a meaningful response. It’s worked for me– and apparently for Elizabeth Gilbert for that matter!
Happy holidays all!
Aimée Cartier is an author, psychic, and the founder of Intuition University. She teaches others how to understand and enhance their own innate intuitive skills which she firmly believes leads to a life of flourishing. More about her and her work can be found at www.AimeeCartier.com.