This weekend you might be spending time sharing meals with family or friends. We’ve shared that one of our favorite parts is the conversations that take place between nibbles. We’ve all had that meal or drink with someone that could’ve gone on all night, and it’s not because of the food. But what about when it’s not like that?
What about those meals filled with awkward pauses, glances at phones, observances of the clinks of silverware around the room? How do you turn these conversations around, and in doing so, serve the person you’re talking to?
We’ve been studying this question for awhile now. Powerful questions spur meaningful conversations. We started with 40 solid ones, but have since boiled it down to the best five. Listed from less to more adventurous—
“What is one place you love to visit regularly?”
“How would you describe each of your family members in a single word?”
(This usually ends in some laughs)
“What’s something that can always bring you joy?”
(follow up with “How often do you do it?”)
“If you could be guaranteed success at one thing – just one thing – what would it be?”
(follow up with “Are you doing anything related to it right now?)
“In what ways would you live your life differently if you were completely selfish?”
(Assure them that you know this is a hard question to answer..)
- Do you always chew with your mouth open like that? [just kidding..]
Tips of the trade:
- Be brave first. Showing you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone by asking out-of-the-ordinary questions will help the other person feel comfortable opening up.
- Lead into the question by something like, “You know, I was thinking about this question earlier.. “ or some variation.
- This usually occurs naturally, but make sure to attach a “Why?” followup to most of these!
We can’t guarantee that the awkwardness will subside, but if you ask these questions with a genuine curiosity, good stories are likely to follow. Test ‘em on a close friend; maybe you will learn something new. In no time at all, you will be scuba-dive certified in deep conversations.
You’ll find that these discussions enrich your life and the lives of those you interact with. The person on the other side of the table will be lucky to eat next to you.
After you try the questions above, let us know how it went for you. What did you think of these questions? Do you have one that WE should ask OUR friends? We’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Last week, your hunger surpassed feeding 2,500 hungry children. Check up on your total impact to date or during any given week at joinfoodcircles.org. Visit your timeline to track your personal stats.