Connecting More By Asking Better Questions

Connecting More By Asking Better Questions

Lately I’ve been thinking about the daily questions and answers that fill our lives. Not the mundane, “did you remember the eggs?”- yes or no kind of questions. But the ones that turn into missed opportunities for connection and understanding due to hidden context, assumed meaning, and our fast paced way of operating.

“Do you think I’m weird?” This was the question a little girl asked her mom on their drive home from school.

Instead of following the impulse to reassure her daughter of how smart, awesome, and NOT weird she was, instead she asked, “What do you mean?”

With that one question, she learned that her daughter wondered why the boys in her class didn’t want to play with her, only other girls did. They then had a more specific conversation about the playground, and social dynamics. And yet, it’s crazy to think how they may have haver had that connection had the Mom rushed to only answer the original question.

I can really relate to the young girl. I often find myself asking questions to jumpstart a specific conversation instead of getting to the exact heart of what I want to talk about. Do you ever do this?

Our minds can do this without thinking. It’s a social habit. We naturally communicate with inferred meaning all the time- very nuanced. But just think how much we’re could be missing out on!

How do we get to the heart of the question?

First, we can say what we mean instead of starting a conversation that’s 10 skips away from what we’re thinking about. This is an important piece of the puzzle that you can take action on right away; keeping an eye out for how you’re communicating.

How? Slow down and ask yourself, what do I really want to talk about? What am I really trying to get at?

At first, you may not realize that you’re not being clear until you’re in the middle of the conversation- and that’s when you can stop and clarify. Here’s an example of how I caught myself doing this, and changed course:

Last week I was changing into a shirt I hadn’t worn in awhile, not since last fall, and found it fitting a bit more snug than I remembered. My partner was standing in the bathroom so I asked him, “Do you love my body still even though it’s bigger than it was when we met?” His eyes met mine and he paused, giving space to my question.
In that space I realized, the answer wasn’t really what I was looking for! I was looking for reassurance for my body anxiety. I stopped and clarified, “Actually- I’m feeling really insecure right now, and I could really use some reassurance that you love me as I am right now.” Which he quickly and did with a much more genuine response than the answer to the original question would have provided.

Being A Better Listener:

In addition to being more clear when we’re speaking, we can also improve our listening and give space for deeper connection. Now this may seem unusual at first as it’s natural to simply answer a direct question.

But what could happen in that conversation if you directed it back to them to share more. “Am I weird?” “How did I do?” “Does this look good?” All these questions may have deeper meaning beneath, and asking for more information will create space to get to the root; bringing a huge opportunity for more connection and understanding.

Try some of these phrases:

  • What do you mean by that?
  • Is there a reason you’re asking me?
  • I have a thought, but first I’d love to know why you’re asking?
  • Can you share with me what led you to ask?
  • What makes you say that?

Would you love to be asked more questions like these on a regular basis? In fact, how many arguments could these space givers and clarity providers solve between you and your loved ones?

Now, we can’t force our loved ones to ask us these questions, although feel free to share this post with them (or the accompanying episode our podcast)! However, you can always let others know that slowing down so you can get to the heart of what you mean is something you’re trying to work on. You can model giving space and asking for clarity when you’re asked questions too, then let the benefits speak for themselves.

For more insight and encouragement for working on self through a lens of self love and gentleness, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, check out our products for supportive self care tools, and keep up the great work you’re already doing!

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By |2022-04-12T06:36:48+00:00April 12th, 2022|A Bit From Within Podcast, Feature|0 Comments

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