How To Have Deeper And More Fulfilling Conversations
It seems like some people always have something interesting to say, and they ask the most intriguing questions. It's somehow so much fun to talk to them and listen to their stories while letting yours be heard as well.
On the other hand, some of us even struggle to hold up a conversation for a long time without it turning uncomfortable after a few awkward silences and when there's nothing left to talk about.
A memorable conversation is hard to make and harder to forget, because it includes talking about things that we usually try to avoid and are afraid of revealing; and excludes talking about things that don't really matter.
People usually tell us to appear more involved and interested if we want to have better conversations. But just like every other blank advice, that's total crap. Deep conversations can't be forced, however, they can be maneuvered.
Be A Good Listener.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. - Stephen Covey
Let's start with a big one. It's true that everyone wants to be heard. But it's also true that most people only want to be heard and not actually listen to what other people have to say. They want their words to be given much more attention and priority.
But the problem with this is, you wouldn't be able to develop meaningful connections with people and thus will not be able to make them care about what you have to say.
People only truly listen to those who they can either relate to or share ideas with, because our minds like having new information being fed to it; and that's possible only if people are given the chance to react to what the other person is saying.
Good listeners know all these things and they practice it every single day with whoever they talk with. They also know that true listening can only be done when you have an open mind and you don't let your personal opinions limit your understanding.
Feelings, Not Facts.
Facts are truth, yes, but they are boring. Feelings on the other hand, are what grabs attention and makes people care about what you're trying to say. People who start their sentences with "It made me feel like.." are much more likely to be paid attention to than people who simply start with "It was.."
The reason behind this is that we learn more from other people's experiences than the actual truth. Sure, stating facts is important if you're trying to make a point, but research has showed that reasoning doesn't really work on people. My friend @krnel recently made a great post where he discusses the same.
People usually talk about facts instead of their feelings to protect themselves from potential social awkwardness because they are afraid that nobody would be able to relate to them, which would single them out and isolate them from the group.
But it's important to know that sharing your feelings is one of the most crucial part of having a fulfilling and memorable conversation. Without them, you won't be able to make deep connections with people and achieve a greater level of understanding.
Talk, Not Text.
Technology has greatly changed the way we communicate with each other on a daily basis. But aside from all the obvious advantages, it has cost us the quality of our conversations.
While we use emojis to express ourselves, our faces while typing them are abnormally expressionless. Most of us would rather text than talk to someone face-to-face. Why? Because it's easier? Faster? No. It's because we're scared of being vulnerable.
We're scared of not being understood, and this fear leads us into keeping ourselves behind screens where we are in control. But texting doesn't offer what a face-to-face talk does: transparency.
When we text, we have the power to fake our emotions and lead the conversation in a certain direction for a certain outcome. But though it may look like the better option, it's not. Talking offers exposure which furthermore offers the chance to move beyond each other's flaws and appreciate their inner self.
Avoid Meaningless Talk.
Frankly, if you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation. There's absolutely no reason to keep a conversation going as long as possible if you're not even enjoying it.
But if you're actually enjoying the conversation, then make sure the other person is as well. Talk about things that matter to them. Don't just talk about your achievements, instead, share your failures, regrets and embarrassing stories.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, strength doesn't make friends. It sure is impressive, but it's vulnerability that is appealing to people. To know that their own sorrows are a part of other people's lives.
Sharing that part of yourself that you would normally want to hide and that which not a lot of people know of, with those who truly matter to you, is what deep connections are all about.
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