There is an art to creating deep connection to others that we aren’t inherently taught in our society. And with the influence of technology and our phones constantly in our faces, we weaken the skills on how to create meaningful connection. Sherry Turkle discusses in her 2012 TED Talk the concept that we expect more from technology than we do of each other. We are afraid of human intimacy. You may think, no way, I love talking and seeing my friends. But I am curious, how often do you have a meaningful conversation with your friends, co-workers, family members or strangers? And if you don’t love being around people, how do you get your meaningful connection time?
Conversations that have to do with real life, meaningful topics versus logistical everyday forms of communication. Oh boy, do I sometimes get this in this trap, especially with the ones closest to me. I love me some good planning conversations. But, I know constantly having these types of superficial conversations isn't want "fills my cup." Connection is one of our basic human needs and desires that helps us thrive!
This summer, I get the opportunity to spend time with a lot of close friends during wedding season, have visits with family, meet new people at BBQs or events, and I for one am excited to ditch the small talk and create more meaningful conversation and connection. So instead of staying on the superficial level of “How’s your summer going?” I will take it a layer deeper. I recognize when I have more meaningful connection time, I am less likely to try and fulfill myself with over-snacking or numbing out in the cyber social media world. Do you want to do the same?
The next conversation you are in, take it to the next level by asking open-ended questions as well as deeply listening and holding space for the other person (without technology in your face). You can practice relational mindfulnessand be present in your body and put your focus on the words spoken. Be curious and explore what happens when you peel back another layer:
Open-ended questions to play with:
What has been your favorite part about your summer so far? WHY? (the why is key and we learn so much when we ask this!)
What’s one of your favorite childhood summer memories? Watch them light up and let your curiosity lead you to explore more!
What excites you the most about what you are doing in life?
What feels challenging or hard right now?
How do you like to spend quality time with yourself?
What’s marriage teaching you?
What’s your favorite part of your typical work day and why?
What’s one thing you really want to experience before you die?
Be mindful about what unfolds in others when you not only create the space for someone to be seen and heard, but what unfolds within yourself. Do you light up more? Do you feel more accomplished or nourished? Share with me here what comes up!