Have you ever left a conversation feeling warmed from the outside – in?
And better yet, do you ever wonder how you can leave people with that feeling?
I know a woman who is the master of this. She smiles with warmth, she listens, she raises her eyebrows in genuine interest. I leave every conversation wondering how I possibly shared so much of myself in five minutes and why I feel so happy.
Through each conversation with my radiant friend, I’ve begun to see Tracy’s greatest strength:
She asks questions.
And then, often before I can even turn the question on her, she asks me another question so evocative that I find myself talking… once again!
Conversation & Friendship
Recently here at The Life On Purpose Movement, we’ve been discussing the absence of traditional villages for women to rely on and what it takes to purposefully build one.
What building a village really boils down to is building friendship.
But friendship now doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids running loose in our neighborhoods or, for that matter, when we were college coeds organizing our social calendars.
Building friendship as adults can be hard. We’re short on time, energy, and—if we’re really honest—courage. We’ve learned that some people open up easily, while others don’t. And we’ve also noticed that sometimes we’re bursting with things to talk about with a friend… Other times, and for a hundred reasons, we just aren’t.
In short, if friendship were easy, modern villages would abound.
So how can we combine my friend Tracy’s superpower with a desire to take our friendships up a step and build a two-way, supportive network?
It’s this simple: We can ask a lot of questions.
I love these words from writer Justin Zoradi:
“What so many don’t realize is that the secret to building relationships isn’t in the words you say, but in the questions you ask.”
Many of you lean on your natural curiosity to help you generate great questions. But even the best conversationalist draws a blank every now and then. 😉 So no matter how confident you feel in your conversation skills, here are 16 questions to use as a springboard during your next chat with a friend.
16 Conversation-Promoting Questions to Ask Your Friends
1. What did you like about where you grew up? OR if your friend moved around a lot: Which place did you love the most, and what made it special?
2. What are your parents like?
3. How did you meet your spouse? When did you first know you loved him?
4. Do you get more energy from being with people or being alone?
5. Do you have any passion projects you’re working on right now?
6. When you were growing up, what was your dream job? Are you doing any part of it now?
7. Seen any good movies lately? In your opinion, what makes a movie really, really good?
8. How do you usually celebrate your birthday? How would you most like to celebrate it?
9. Do you know what your love language is? And your spouse’s or kids’?
10. Where have you traveled?
11. What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?
12. What are your favorite books?
13. How do you tend to make decisions? Do you research till your brain is fried or just go with your gut? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?
14. In what areas are you the most frugal? The least?
15. What are the things that your kids hear you say over and over?
16. What habits do you have that are working for you?
Occasionally I make a friend whose exterior is hard to get through. It reminds me of watching one of my kids pick at a bandaid. He tugs and prods, tests and tries again—until finally, that (probably nonexistent) owie sees the light of day!
Sometimes a friend or family member may not run with the first few questions you throw out there. But if you have enough questions in your repertoire and if you care enough to keep asking them, I bet you’ll get through.
And because they bear repeating, the words of Helen Keller, from my previous post: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
I seem to be on a “questions” kick lately! I recently wrote 10 questions to help you discover your WHY. If you’d like a free copy, sign up here!
photo credit: alt design summit. If you look closely, you can see me in the top photo. 🙂