"Talk about this weather we are having today, huh?"
The average person has millions of moments every single day. From your morning cup of coffee to some light reading before bed, everything we do in a day is a moment: a moment that can be learned from and a moment that can be shared.
We are multifaceted people. No one is the same; everyone has their own experiences that have informed their own beliefs and have made them into the person they are today.
And here we are, stuck talking about the weather. WHY?!
I get that in the beginning of a conversation we are all in search of something that we share in common or something that we both have an opinion on and the weather can indeed be an easy fix. But the search for commonalities doesn't have to drive conversation: a natural curiosity can. It might be awkward at first to ask more open ended questions like "what's been on your mind?" or "what was the last thing you did that made you happy?" but I can guarantee it will lead to a conversation that is much more fruitful than something that your local weatherman could provide you with.
My goal is to have the world have better conversation. Here are some starter tips. Have ideas to add to this? Reach out! I'd love to hear from you:
Start with What/How/Why: This makes for a naturally open ended question.
Listen for the sake of understanding, not for the sake of responding: When you listen, do you find yourself trying to find a response while the other person is still talking? You aren't processing what they are saying if you do this. Be okay with silence. Take time to think.
Ask why as a response more often: "How're you doing today?" "Good." "Why?" Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Dig deeper. Don't be satisfied with surface level answers. There are layers. Don't be a deep sea ocean explorer on your conversation and ask why 500 times, but you can often go deeper than you think.
When in doubt, here are some good questions to ask people you care about to get to know them more.
What's been on your mind?
What has been your high and low of the day?
What's one thing that surprised you today?
What was your first thought this morning?
What are you most excited about in life right now?
These are pretty harmless questions and the answerer can choose the level of vulnerability they want to express. But these conversation starters can end up into some pretty deep conversation. For example,
1: "What's been on your mind?"
2: "Oh, I have been thinking a lot about this new idea for how I want to journal. I'm pretty excited about that!"
1: "Awesome. Have you been journaling for a while?"
2: "Yeah about a year now."
1: "What made you start?"
2: "I realized I wanted to be documenting my life more because I was worried I'd forget all the things I was doing."
1: "Oh nice; I totally feel you there. I started journaling about 6 months ago for the same reason! Why were you worried of forgetting things?"
The conversation keeps going and unfolds to touch on personal values, beliefs, and fears: topics much deeper than the act of journaling. They focus on why someone would journal and their motivations behind it. I live for this deeper kind of conversation because I love understanding what makes people tick and their reasonings for actions.
The world of light-hearted conversations about the weather has a place in this world. But right now, I think it is occupying too much space. Help me change it and ask why a couple more times than you usually would this week.