How often do you have meaningful conversations with people you are closest to?
‘Meaningful’ as in conversations that make your heart expand and your insights grow?
Or do most of your daily conversations revolve around surface level stuff? Are your conversations superficial and full of menial questions?
For instance, ‘How was your day?’
‘What have you been up to?’
‘Did you get X,Y,Z done?’
Off the back of this post, I was asked to participate in a research project at Hong Kong University.
The research focused on trailing spouses and their experiences in Hong Kong.
I thought, ‘Great. This will be a piece of cake!’
I started off strong. Most of the questions were focused on my perceptions and life experience. This was no big deal for me. I’ve done a lot of personal development work and I would class myself as a self-aware individual.
So I answered the questions articulately and with confidence. I felt like I had all the answers.
But I didn’t.
All of a sudden the questions swung around to focus on my husband.
‘What is HIS goal in regards to work and his career?’
Silence. I opened my mouth to say something and immediately stopped.
My rapid-fire answers ceased. My mind was working over time.
Ummm I don’t know?
‘What is his opinion on retiring? Does he have a time frame of when he wants to retire or do you think he just loves working?’
Shit, I have no idea?
I was trying to think back to any conversations where these specific questions had been discussed.
I was blank. There was nothing.
How could I not know any of the answers? I felt terrible!
Had I failed in some way by not knowing the answers to these rather important questions?
I recently had dinner with one of my oldest and closest friends. She casually mentioned that her long time partner sets himself goals each year, but she had no idea. This took her by surprise.
When I asked my friend why she didn’t know this, she simply replied ‘We always joke around about new year’s resolutions, not giving them any thought. But I guess I’ve never asked the deeper question about goals.”
Ok, so it wasn’t just me who doesn’t ask enough deep and meaningful questions of their significant other!
Ten days had passed since I took part in the research and I was dying to see James in person.
I wanted to ask him the ‘career’ and ‘retirement’ questions.
I waited until we were alone and casually enquired.
He deliberated and then responded as I had suspected. His answers were pretty much exactly what I had conjured up and communicated to the research assistant.
But it didn’t really matter that I was on the money in terms of James’s responses. The point was I took the time to ask thought-provoking questions and I bothered to listen to the responses.
There are many benefits of taking the time to ask meaningful questions of others, particularly the people you are closest to.
Asking truly meaningful questions inspires connection. Once James and I had had the conversation around career and our personal ambitions we instantly felt more connected. Having this connection will make it easier in the future to ask similar questions and create a habit of having more meaningful conversations.
When you take time to ask meaningful questions you create a space for the truth to be shared. Even though I had rightly assumed how James would respond to these questions, I didn’t know his truth. Often we don’t bother asking questions, we just assume we know what others are thinking and feeling. Drop your assumptions and just ask.
Openly talking about things that matter is extremely liberating. You’re given the opportunity to share your truth and let go of anything you have been holding back.
You may feel apprehensive about asking or even answering purposeful questions. But I encourage you to let go, embrace vulnerability and I assure you your relationship will benefit.
By participating in deep conversations you open yourself up to living a fuller life. Asking and answering deep and important questions has the ability to light you up. After James shared his feelings and view on career and retirement it led to a whole other conversation thread.
The opportunity to discuss our future and look at different options got me all excited. Our potential as a couple expanded and life got a lot more inspiring.
If you’re keen to start having more meaningful conversations but don’t know where to start, I have an awesome app I can recommend.
I’m a huge fan of Danielle La Porte and her Conversation Starter app.
I downloaded this app last year and turned it into a game during Happy Hour when James and I were in the Greek Islands.
It made for many insightful conversations, a great deal of learning and the odd laugh.
So I dare you to strike up a meaningful conversation with your significant other or someone you’re close to this week.
I can guarantee you that asking thought provoking questions will inspire connection, expand your heart and light you up!
Have you ever had a deep and meaningful conversation that blew you away?
I would love to hear your thoughts about swapping menial questions for deep and meaningful conversations in the comments section!
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