Why do we ask the same types of questions when we meet someone? We ask “How are you,” “Where are you from,” and “What do you do.” These are good questions, however, I have come to realize that people want more. Many people feel lonely regardless of how many different connections they have thus they crave deeper conversations. It is our duty to indulge their cravings.
“Vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection” – Brene Brown
1. Ask thought provoking questions.
When meeting someone, instead of asking “How was your day,” ask “What has been the best part of your day?” This elicits a response that is not the usual one-word needed to answer “How was your day.” It forces the person to think of a positive moment in their day and when they think of it, they can be overcome with that joyful feeling and associate it with you.
When the person one is speaking to answers, “What has been the best part of your day, there is a smoother flow to the conversation because they are telling you about a specific part in their day. Many people who struggle with continuing conversations can use this technique because it can help carry on the conversation for hours. The crazy thing is that a wonderful friendship, mentorship, or job opportunity can start from asking one thought provoking question.
Most people are open to having deeper conversations contrary to popular belief. I noticed this when I would speak with co-workers or professors about their family, why they do what they do, what they want to do with the rest of their life, and about what makes their heart tick. These questions make people think and allow people to feel a closer connection to you and vice versa.
“Everyone communicates, Few Connect” – John C. Maxwell
2. Give people your time.
Many people will pretend to not have enough time to ask these types of questions. I have had people tell me “You cannot be this emotionally engaged in every conversation you have!” To that statement, I reply that you can be engaged because we have a certain amount of energy during the day, and if we dedicate it to genuinely conversing with people and helping them feel important, it can help us also feel as though we helped make someone’s day.
“Time is a rare luxury…when someone spends it [on] you, it defines the depth of care they have for you.” – Author Unknown
In an age where loneliness is plaguing our society, these types of questions can create connection. With most people engaged in small talk throughout their day, it is your obligation to talk to them about things that matter. People generally do not ask others these types of questions and because of this, you will be different and they will remember you.