Living abroad or traveling opens you to meet a lot of people, Which also leads to…. a lot of small talks 😜
I cannot even begin to describe how small talks are mundane and annoying to me.
The thought of repeating the same topics, q & a every encounter makes me dread.
It goes everywhere, at work (office talks by the coffee machine), at social events, learning events (workshops, courses, trainings, lectures) and on romantic dates, every time we meet new people we ask the same questions or talk about the weather at first.
Trying to figure out how to avoid this and how to communicate a bit deeper with people on first encounters have led me to this Ted talk: https://goo.gl/Fe4BlK
However, what she is offering is to ask a VERY deep question instead, such as “ if you had only 24 hours left to live what would you have done with them?”
I don’t want to bring up death in every conversation I have… So I thought about more tools that can bring people closer and not be boring as hell.
It’s not that I hold a list of topics for conversations in my possession, but I have noticed that the topics that are genuinely interesting to me are topics that can teach a lot.
Teach me and you about the world we live in, and what kind of people are we (personality, behaviour). Politics, religion, psychology, sociology, philosophy, moral standards, international affairs, cultural structures, gender roles etc.
These topics can teach us a lot, why? Because when we talk about them we express our point of view, we show our thoughts and opinions, and we can enrich each other with information and knowledge! We can contribute to each other’s point of view, with more views.
Pluralism of thoughts and opinions is always a good hub for growth.
These topics can also teach a lot about the person we are talking with.
It can teach us what made this person who he is now (for example questions about the past, childhood, education and family matters). Things that can teach us who we are dealing with.
It can teach us how the person molded him/herself or have been molded by surroundings.
These topics are going deep, without really feeling like interrogation.
What you do with the answers is of course your interpretation, don’t forget to judge less and be open minded. When you have genuine curiosity about the other person you can learn a lot from everything that is said. If you wish to.
But also don’t be quick with assumptions, because after all, it is your first encounter….. To go deeper – we need to spend more time together. There are many things that can change, in the personality of someone or in his/her life and shift them with it.
Listening to people’s stories, talking about big topics and issues (and there are plenty! In this world) can open the whole experience to something more rewarding.
Listening also bring us ideas and open us to inspiration from every source, no matter how big or small.
Next time you meet someone new, ask them about a childhood experience that is very vivid and memorable for them, ask them something that can lead to a peek to their family life (sometimes it is enough to know what is their order in the siblings hierarchy (first child, middle, youngest)).
Ask them whatever it is you’re passionate about, one of your hobbies or affinities.
Exchange stories, don’t interrogate and expect only one side to share. Everybody has something to say about almost any topic 🙂.
If you are not interested in the same topics, well, off you go and continue to your other encounters, it happens. And probably wasn’t meant to be ;)