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Are you asking questions that connect you?

My partner and I just pulled in the driveway after a much-needed weekend away. We sat in the car for an extra few minutes mentally preparing for our return to reality. The truth is, part of what we were doing was avoiding the inevitable... receiving a barrage of questions from his family as soon as we walked in the door.


This is something that has happened ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘’ we've returned after a trip.


As we sat in the car procrastinating, I reflected on what it is about this particular style of questioning has felt more like an assault than a conversation.


It occurred to me that two things tend to contribute to this:

  1. The questions we get are of the fact-finding variety. That is, they are not designed to collect our experiences or feelings but rather mine data and details.

  2. The questions come at us at a rapid pace, barely allowing time for us to answer before the next one is coming at us.


Sure enough, when we finally went inside, we got hit with them...

"๐ท๐‘–๐‘‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘”๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘‘ ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ?" "๐‘Š๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘  ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘™๐‘’?" "๐ป๐‘œ๐‘ค ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ ๐‘“๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘  ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘’ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’?"

Now, I ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘™๐‘ฆ believe these questions are coming from a place of genuine desire for connection... to be included... to feel close to us, or maybe even to show that our presence was missed and our return is valued.


๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€, ๐˜„๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ.



Connection Groups: Find your sense of belonging.


So...how can we engage in ways that attract the connection we want and not repel it?


Asking questions is a great start... when done with some considerations.


๐Ÿ) ๐—”๐˜€๐—ธ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜€, ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฎ Just like in my example above, instead of being asked questions like "How did it feel to get away?" or "How did you like the place you stayed?" we were asked for data points which weren't about us at all. And if what you're trying to accomplish is connection with someone - you will feel more connected when you ask about them and not the weather.


๐Ÿฎ) ๐—”๐˜€๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ป-๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ When we ask questions that don't have a predictable answer, we leave space for more of a rich response. For example, asking "Did you have a good time?" encourages a response of yes or no, whereas asking "How was the trip?" allows space for any number of things to follow.


๐Ÿฏ) ๐—™๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† Do you want to know if we had privacy away from the kids? Do you want to know what the impact of the trip was on our relationship? Ask! When we follow our genuine curiosity and let the other determine how much they want to share, we allow connection, closeness, and vulnerability. And we get to hear about what we're ACTUALLY interested in. And not what we are assuming is polite or acceptable to ask. If you're not actually curious about something: don't bother asking.


๐Ÿฐ) ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป If you find yourself queuing up the next question while the other person is still answering, I guarantee you're not giving your full presence. Be with what's being shared. Listen to the words and notice the non-verbal queues. If you're following your curiosity, you may even notice that what you're interested in shifts as they speak. Keep following it!

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