Several years ago, I realized that I had much better end-of-day conversations with the people in my life when we stopped asking each other, “How was your day?”
Instead, we started asking each other, “Did anything happen at work today that you felt proud of?”
This upgraded question elicited much better responses. It also served as a beacon of permission to share our victories. Often in life, we’re not encouraged to share the things we’re great at. It’s “bragging.”
But sharing the joy of victories, even tiny ones, can feel amazing and can reinforce our successful strategies.
In our intimate relationships, we should be safe to unmask ourselves and be honest about what’s going well – and what isn’t.
When we reconnect with our partners/friends/family at the end of the day, it’s a great opportunity for intimacy-building. Having our lives witnessed is powerful and that witnessing is a big part of why we choose to connect with other humans.
But the same old “How was your day?” can lose its impact. It inspires replies like, “Fine,” or “OK.”
Upgrading the question is a great way to upgrade your intimacy and connection. Asking better questions can get you richer responses.
Upgrading your questions also helps elicit more authentic responses when your loved one’s day was challenging. Often, it’s some combination of the two – high points and low points – throughout the day. Better questions make space for that nuance of experience.
Here are six alternatives to “how was your day?” that you can experiment with.
- “Did you have any victories you want to share?”
- “Were there any challenges you want empathy about?”
- “Were there any surprisingly fun moments in your day?”
- “Did you have any nice connections with your colleagues?”
- “What was frustrating about your day?”
- “Now that you’re home, is there anything you’d love to brag about?” (Because we can’t always do this with colleagues but it’s great when we can with loved ones.)
When asking any of these upgraded questions, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Show up with your full attention and presence to hear the response.
- Don’t try to fix or change what’s alive in them emotionally.
- Offer empathy before you offer strategy.
- Fully celebrate their joys.
These questions are a menu, not a to-do list; you don’t have to ask all of them at once. They’re simply meant to inspire you to ask the bolder questions that lead to greater connection and intimacy…and maybe a little more fun.