It’s Sunday morning, and you see a friend that you’ve missed the past couple weeks at church. You stop and ask them how they’re doing, and you chat briefly about the weather, your family, and your plans for the rest of the day. Before you know it, the conversation is over – and you realize that, for all the words you spoke with them, you really didn’t say anything at all.
We’ve all been there. While short conversations can also be life-giving, our fast-paced modern world has made us lose the art of meaningful interactions with others. Here are a few ways to spark deeper conversations with friends and acquaintances.
1. Find a better environment
It can be hard to connect with people in loud, high-energy environments. If you’d like to have a more intentional conversation with someone, find a quiet, welcoming space where you’re able to hear and see each other. If you have noisy children, encourage them to go play in a safe area where you can still keep an eye on them while you talk.
2. Ask meaningful questions
Questions are the best way to get a conversation started. After a few casual minutes of catching up, try one of the following questions to go deeper:
- What’s something God is teaching you right now?
- What’s something you’re struggling with, and how can I come alongside you?
- What is the biggest way God has changed your life this year?
3. Bring up a topic that interests you
If questions aren’t getting the conversation going, bring up a topic that you’re passionate about. Maybe you’ve recently read a good book or listened to a podcast or sermon that piqued your interest. Even if the other person isn’t familiar with the topic, it can open the door to potential shared interests and discussion – and you may find more common ground than you think!
4. Focus on the other person
We’ve all been in conversations where the other person was more eager to share their thoughts on the subject, rather than listening to what you had to say. So don’t spend the entire conversation just thinking about your response! Be an active listener by maintaining eye contact, giving affirmative verbal feedback, and authentically responding to them with your facial responses. Just a little listening goes a long way!
5. Leave room for silence
No one likes those awkward breaks when there’s nothing to say. But if you’re constantly jumping from topic to topic, it can be hard to go deeper and share the things that are really on our hearts and minds. Abide by the Rule of 8 – wait 8 seconds in silence before speaking or jumping to a new topic.
What are your favorite ways to be more intentional in your daily conversations?