Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Questions That Will Save Your Relationships | Glennon Melton

Intimate Conversation

What is life, if not a series of conversations? You overhear one side of a phone conversation during your morning commute. You discuss last weekend's exploits with your colleague. A child asks you to play a game. You wake up from a dream. The driver in front of you is a moron. The person you are looking at does not look back. The doctor takes a breath, and then asks you to have a seat.

Sure, some conversations are more impactful than others, but does that mean that we can afford to treat less impactful conversations as trivial? As we move through space and time on the stage of life, there are no dress rehearsals and truly no "insignificant" conversations.  Living as if your life were a movie--and in particular, a movie that someone would actually want to watch--means living with intention and passion. Even the small moments may be purpose-filled. Make your words count and your interactions matter!

Many of us ask the same boring questions and then wonder why we get the same empty responses. Glennon Melton's great Huffington Post article recently came to my attention. Here is the Cliff's Notes version:

Don't ask your spouse or significant other, "How was your day?" Instead, try:

  • When did you feel loved today?
  • When did you feel lonely?
  • What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?
  • What did I say that made you feel unnoticed?
  • What can I do to help you right now?

When your kids get home from school, don't ask, "How was your day?" because they don't know. Their day was lots of things. Instead, ask:

  • How did you feel during your spelling test?
  • What did you say to the new girl when you all went out to recess?
  • Did you feel lonely at all today?
  • Were there any times you felt proud of yourself today?

Never ask your friends, "How are you?" because they don't know either. Instead, ask:

  • How is your mom's chemo going?
  • How'd that conference with Ben's teacher turn out?
  • What's going really well with work right now?

The questions we ask reveal how interested we are in the responses we get. To ask a boring question is to communicate that we will be satisfied with a boring response--or worse, that we do not really care at all.

I am going to try asking better questions!  

H/T: JBM via her Facebook post

Photo attribution: Dr. Dana Lightman's blog, accessed 28 Jan 2014