Thursday, February 20, 2014

Because Of The Poo

A little over a week ago, I read an article about how we ask the wrong questions, especially with the ones we love. Questions like "how was your day?" and "how was work?" and even "how are you?" are surface questions. They aren't crafted for their target. They take no thought to conjure up. So often, they are part of our routine and we ask them because we know we are going to get a surface answer back, like 'fine' and 'not bad'.

When I really got to thinking about it, I came to the conclusion people avoid digging deeper due to lack of energy. Sometimes it's exhausting to think about delving into a lengthy conversation, so we keep our questions simple and virtually unanswerable. I mean, how can you truly answer how was your day? No matter what you say 'good, bad, fine, shitty, great, awesome, terrible, monotonous, same old - you are lobbing the ball back into the other person's court and waiting for them to ask why. Which often doesn't come because people are tired. They work and have kids and have chores to do! Besides, a lot of people are afraid of what the answers will be if they keep digging. They don't want to get hurt.

But the truth is, when you're in a relationship with others not getting hurt isn't always an option. 

By asking more specific questions, you can improve the quality of your relationship. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Surface questions fall to the wayside. Instead of, how was your day? Suddenly you are asking, what was the best part of your day? You start checking 'how are you?' at the door and welcome more direct conversation starters with 'did anything make you laugh today?' That one happens to be one of my favourites.  

Tell me this makes sense to you. Because after I read the article it was like a switch had been flipped in my head and I saw all the conversational faux paus people make. The theory behind it definitely falls into the empathetic listeners ballpark and encourages sharing. Some people may already embrace these sorts of questions. It might even be a natural thing for you. Heck, you might not even realize you do it. 

I didn't. 

But after I read the article to the Sidekick, he said I always ask him weird questions. True, I do. But I also found those were more for fun. They weren't chosen to understand how he was feeling or what I could have done to make his day better, they were silly and for shiggles (shits and giggles). Like the other day, I asked him, what part of the body don't you like? 

His reply. "The anus." Which is pretty self explanatory. Still he added, "Because of the poo." 

Oh, did I ever laugh. 

The point is, I still need to work on asking him questions about his day, our lives, and everything and anything that makes him tick. Because if I care enough to ask a question, then I might as well make it a good one. I want to improve the connections I have with people. I want them to feel special. And I want them to answer me honestly. Truth is a beautiful thing, even if it hurts. Because it teaches us. It allows us to understand and better know the ones we love, so they don't slip away from us.  

Don't be afraid to ask the ones who mean the most, have you felt loved today? And make your next question a stepping stone to a better relationship and a way more enlightening conversation. 

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