Get A Better Story

My friend Chuck and I run through a silly routine to make a point about the superficial conversations that many people have. It goes something like this—

Chuck: Hi! How are you?

Craig: I’m good. And you?

Chuck: Good. I’m good.

Craig: How’s work going?

Chuck: It’s good. How about for you?

Craig: Good.

Chuck: How’s your family?

Craig: They’re good. And yours?

Chuck: Good.

You get the idea. At the end of this conversation have I learned anything new about Chuck? Of course not. Has he learned anything new about me? Nope. Do you think either one of us is telling the truth? No, because we don’t want to really open up what’s going on inside us.

(In case you haven’t figured this out, this is just a silly thing Chuck and I do on purpose. After joking around, we do get down to the more “real life” conversation!) 

Last week I had several great sit-down meetings with some people that I already knew, but I wanted to get to know better.

In order to get to know them better, I have to get them to tell me a better story!

A better story about who they really are and what they’re really feeling.

This requires two things:

  1. I have to ask better questions. Not questions that can just be answered with a simple “good” or “fine” or “yes” or “no.”
  2. I have to be willing to tell the other person a real story about me, one that reveals who I really am and how I’m really feeling.

Sometimes asking these questions or telling these stories may seem awkward. But you have to pass through the awkward if you truly want to get to know someone better. Don’t just settle for “good,” but take a risk to go deeper.

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