Talk about Something Interesting
You know the script.
“How ya been?”
“Oh way too busy. Work and stuff.”
“Yeah, me too.”
And if it’s a melancholy day
“How ya doin?”
“Fine thanks. You?”
This is 90% of conversations had by anyone anywhere. Beyond the greeting rituals, we talk about work, the latest media, iphone woes, and superficial relationships. In Christendom, we talk about Tim Keller or C.S. Lewis. Same thing, same thing, very very dull.
One of the easiest ways to enrich conversation is to talk about something else. Something unexpected. Politics, religion, world poverty, veganism, yoga, the in-laws. Items that are messy. Things that need more than ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. Things that might just ruffle feathers. Try it! It’s fun!
Talk about Something Different
This is the opportunity for personal growth. If you always talk about politics, try talking about farming. If you always talk about family, try talking about sport. If you always talk about deep interpersonal relationship things, try talking about a funny YouTube video.
The point is to push yourself(and your conversation partner) into uncharted conversational territory. See what you really think about a topic once you get to know it. Let yourself be surprised and delighted by how much the other person opens up about it. Could be that that’s what they’ve been into all along.
Talk about Something Personal
Again, this refers to the unhappy trend of people having the same conversations over and over again. We do this, I think, out of self-preservation. If I always keep you occupied with something trivial, I don’t have to talk about anything deep. If I always keep you occupied with the same heady concept, I don’t have to talk about my insecurities and fears and lonlinesses.
My favorite part about talking about personal things is how people respond. Usually, they respond with something just as personal. Why? Because I took the first step and opened myself up. That’s an invitation for people to open up to a similar depth, and most people take it. Most people desperately crave deep connections, they’re just scared to take the first step.
**Disclaimer: Be sure the person you’re opening up to is a safe person. You know what that means for you. Don’t open up too much to people who don’t listen really well.
Talk about What Really Matters
Talk about your passions! Talk about your loves. Fears. Struggles. The cause you want to champion. The thing that breaks your heart. All we humans in our human story are inherently drawn to other human stories. The more real the better. A story is real if the person telling it is honest.
So be honest about what really matters to you.
Tell the other person what you appreciate about them. Do this often. Look for the best in what they say and what they do. Tell them you believe in them, that you support them and you’re glad they’re in your life. Especially do this if the person you’re talking to is your significant other!
Talk about Something Bigger than the Two of You
People need causes. People need hope. People need something Ultimate to connect to. Politics, philosophy, religion and spirituality are all great examples of this. Talking about something big gets your mind out of your everyday hum drum and into something bigger, something grander, something that will move life along.
Warning: talk like this pushes the envelope. Might just be you’ll offend someone or run into a question that’s not easy to answer. But that is where revolutions and revivals and renaissances are born!
This one really deserves its own post. Basically, don’t interrupt, don’t judge, and be slow to try fixing the person. Most people really value just being listened too. Often especially if that person is your significant other.
When all else fails, tell a story you love. Only with a Dinosaur.