My wife and I were on one of our road trips recently and had an occasion to meet up with some people we really didn’t know but who we had met briefly on a previous trip.
Afterwards, I thought about the conversations between the four of us. They were interesting but a little one sided.
I love to ask questions – about anything and everything and especially about what people are doing, have done and are going to do? Work, fun, adventure, family… anything. It’s certainly better than talking about the weather.
In this instance, it was pretty one-sided because our new friends never inquired about anything to do with us, our work, family, hobbies… nothing. It was very strange. We asked all the questions. As I say, interesting but one-sided.
So this reminds me to remind you to ask questions. Be inquisitive. Take an interest.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has something to share. At work, take a moment at the front end of a meeting to enquire as to your colleague’s weekend, recent trip or status of the kids. This pays huge dividends in many ways. It shows you are interested. It opens up a part of this relationship that goes beyond the professional stuff. And it might just reveal something that could be important to you.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has something to share. At play, ask your new friends about themselves, their work or their family. Take an interest. Relationships at all levels require more than just the talk about the ‘common thread’ – the thing or activity that brought you together in the first place. If you met at curling and all you ever talk about is curling, this relationship won’t last too long.
There is a flip side to this. Be warned, it isn’t all about you. This goes both ways. Sometimes I have to remind myself to shut up. The other side did ask lots of questions and on and on I went. But eventually you have to stop and start with your questions.
Taking an interest in other people’s lives is respectful, fascinating and very rewarding.
Image provided courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net