What do you speak about when you hang out with friends? Sports, movies, music, food?
What about with family at meal times? How was your day? What are you doing tomorrow?
Is your social media feed a collection of funny GIFs and cat videos? Have you worked out that your Harry Potter house is Gryffindor and your Friends character is Phoebe?
Or do you take and make opportunities to sometimes take it a little deeper?
Have a break
When my wife recently began playing Pokemon GO I thought it was quite amazing. I certainly don’t need another distraction in my life. But tbV as I call her (the beautiful Val) is someone who works really hard and gets a lot done and could probably actually use some more distractions in her life. So for me it was amazing to watch her get excited about a phone game (don’t think she’s ever played one before) and I even drove her around one night on a Pokemon GO date (I’m not playing) so she could get a little bit closer to catching them all.
In the same way I have a few friends who probably need the opposite of this post – they could probably use a fun conversation about the rugby or an in-depth episode breakdown of the latest The Good Wife cliffhanger. Because their time is spent in deep conversation on things about race or gender, adoption or politics, and actually a good cat video (to be fair I don’t personally think there is such a thing as a good cat video – don’t hate me!) might be just what is needed.
Some of you reading this might be those people, and it’s okay to take a break.
Looking beneath the surface
But for the rest of us, we can easily get trapped in the superficial levels of topics that I started this article with. And many of us could do better to intentionally start to dig a little deeper.
There was a day way back when I was a student, actually when I suddenly became aware of how much superficial talk was involved in my interactions with friends. I made a conscious decision at that moment to either dive more deeply into topics that mattered or to go for being the funny guy. Because if you do have to be superficial you might as well get laughs out of it.
Since then I have become a lot more aware of making moments with people count. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with superficial (sometimes we need the distraction just to stay sane) but if that is the majority of what we are investing our time in, then I think we might be seriously missing out.
Some options and opportunities
My friend Terran put together a list of questions to ask at the dinner table, particularly aimed at families with children so as to make mealtimes a little bit more meaningful.
Some examples are:
- Share a high of the day, low of the day, and something interesting that happened in between.
- What happened today that made you mad or glad?
- If I give you R100, what will you do to double it?
You can take a look at the rest of the questions over here.
My wife and I have every couple of months had meals we call Deep Dive Conversation Dinners where we invite a group of people to break bread together (slash pasta) and then intentionally have a topic like race or living simply or money that we commit to diving into for four to six hours. Each one of them has been super inspiring (although not always super comfortable). You can read about one of the race ones we did over here.
Another idea could be to take a newspaper headline or a Twitter trend and go around the table and get everyone’s opinion. To take a moment that made you happy or sad from the past week and process it with other people. And a whole bunch of other things.
The main focus and the challenge today is to be people who make moments count. If we tend to be people caught up in the superficial, let’s commit to starting to seek those deeper, more meaningful moments and making them happen to enrich our lives and those of the people we care about.
Do you have any other ideas how we might do this? Share them in the comments below.
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Image Credits: Adobe stock