Recently while away on a trip I had the opportunity to meet some new people along the way. Matt was in another group as I took time and chatted with a woman on the other side of the room. By the time the night was over, we were recapping the day’s events, in which Matt said to me, “It really looked like you hit it off with “so and so.” When my response fell flatter than he expected, he was surprised. “It seems like you guys were having such a great conversation!”
Sure it was a good convo, but there was no connection there. You know what I mean?! There are certain people you meet and it’s like hitting a home run. You connect immediately! As I rehashed what she and I talked about, I clearly discovered why.
The whole conversation was about herself. I lacked a connection because although she may have felt she connected with me, I did not feel the same, because I wasn’t asked to let her in to my life and have a mutual conversation.
I knew everything about her. What she did for a living, where she lived, what her house was like, how she met her husband, the activities her kids are into, her high school years, how she owns a gun, what clothing she likes to wear, how she homeschools her children, etc.
She is a sweet person, a good person! I’m sure she meant completely well, but it got me thinking. How many times do we do the same? We talk and talk and talk and talk about ourselves and then… we’re done. “Thanks, cool, bye! Free therapy!” Which makes us feel good for a bit. But what about the other person? They deserve a medal listening to your crap! Just kidding.
You can’t control how the other person will act, but I never like to engage in a conversation with ANYONE and leave them feeling depleted or not valued. I want people to know that I take interest in them, that the time I’m spending with them matters. That the personal, small details of their life, that make up who they are, are important. I just don’t want to talk. I want to pull the gold out of someone. I want to have meaningful, mutual conversations.
I want to be a gold digger!
I want everyone to be gold diggers! See below. 🙃
Curb Yourself: Put yourself in park for a bit and put someone before yourself. Take the moment to recognize the person you are with, even if you find yourself in a group of people. The most awesome person in the room doesn’t have to publicly explain to everyone how awesome they are. They just ARE.
Presence is a Present: Work on being present with the time that you have. I say “work on” because I think it’s what a lot of people struggle with. In our world, distractions are heightened and off the charts. It’s no longer an if I get distracted, it’s when. Meaningful conversations means focusing your attention on that person- not your cell phone. We pick up our phone once every 12 minutes. Americans check their cell phone 80 times a day! AND did you know that 33% of people would give up sex for a week if it meant NOT losing their phone for ONE DAY! Seriously people (they must have interviewed a bunch of women. Kidding! I’m a woman and can make woman jokes)?! And these stats were recorded about a year ago! Distracted much?
Dumbo Ears: Keep your ears wider than your mouth. My dad always said to me, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. To listen twice as much as you speak.” Don’t get too excited about your next thought. Allow the other person to fully respond. Listen more than you want to talk.
Get Your Ask In Gear: As Ed Young would say, “Get your ask in gear.” I really do try to ask more questions than I talk about myself. Ask questions. “But I don’t know what to ask!” Well, go back a step, dumbo ears. If you intentionally listen, you will have questions to ask.
Ohh Yeah, Me Too: Don’t pull that junk if you really don’t mean it. Genuinely relate to someone. People are interested in real conversations. I have found that if you express your opinions or world views with respect, normal people appreciate that more than no depth words or “uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh”s. It’s funny, but the more digging you do, you can find some sort of common ground (some may be harder than others, I get that. But, it’s gotta be in there somewhere)! You can also be personal without divulging every detail of your life. Relate to people to connect, but don’t cross the barrier of TMI.
Diamond in the Rough: Ask yourself, “how can I add value to this person?” This quality is what sets people apart. How can I help them? What wisdom can I provide? People who genuinely take time to listen and impart something of value in me to make me a better person, are priceless. Let’s come full circle: pull the gold out of someone. If they are feeling down, bring something to their recognition to lift them up. You have been given permission to be a GOLD DIGGER! 😉