I’m a small-town California girl turned mental health therapist. Favorite things: babies (but don’t have my own!), comfy pants, and taking too many pictures. I'm all about realistic self-care, mental health for everyone, and personal growth even if you hate that phrase (cause I do!).
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Whether you’re trying to create better friendships, deepen your friendships, make new friends, or just be a better friend… the questions we ask our friends are the backbone of conversations.
Now, I’ve always been someone who jumps in deep with friends. Who needs all that chit-chat? Let’s dive right in to the “good stuff!”
Well…. I’ve since balanced out my ways and actually see the value of small talk and catching up on the seemingly mundane parts of life (warning: diving too deep, too quick can set up an unhealthy pattern, give you a vulnerability hang over, or just set you up for friendship failure). But I still value having meaningful conversations with friends.
Yet it can be hard to get there!
We’ve all had those moments where things go silent, your brain starts racing trying to think of what to say or ask next. Especially when you are making a new friend, this can feel like worst. case. scenario.
First, chill. Silence in conversation is A. O.K. It’s normal. Especially if you’re talking with an internal processor (or you are one!)––they need some quiet time to reflect and then move forward.
Today I’m sharing my top 4 favorite questions to ask friends (or anyone!) to deepen the conversation and strengthen the connection. Feel free to steal these for your own use––even jot down a cheat sheet in your phone for when that awkward silence shows up! JK. Kinda. Sorta. You do you.
Ok, let’s dive in.
This is a pretty basic one, so if you’re not asking this, start. Consider this question “How to have a deep friendship 101.”This question gets past some of the current events or updates about other people (ahem, family and/or kids) and to what’s going on below the surface.
This question is the backdoor route of asking how someone is doing. It presents an opportunity to step back, look at the whole picture, and consider how something is affecting us. It’s okay if you’re friend is a little speechless––sometimes we haven’t put words to an experience yet. Give them time and space to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of having both eyes wide open to what our current reality is, rather than wishing it all away. BUT, asking this question is an chance to reflect on underlying longings, give them voice (which is incredibly powerful + healing), and consider what they mean. This question has the potential to bring up feelings of grief––mourning a reality that isn’t how we’d want it to be, such as an estranged relationship or a disappointment in life. It’s okay to admit things aren’t as we wish they were and to look at the feelings that come up because of that. This question is a great way to deepen conversations with your friend, and take things to a new level.
Many of us struggle with knowing, voicing, and meeting our needs. This question beams a light on needs and helps our loved one’s do all those things. Even if they are unsure what they need, the question is an open door for them to later discover the answer. Ultimately, taking a moment to step back and consider how they could use support can be really powerful.
There’s a second reason I love this question…. Most of us would say that we would do anything for our friends, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, especially if “acts of service” isn’t the love-language that comes most naturally for you. The easiest way to know what you could do to support a friend is to ask! Knowing what our friends need helps us support those needs, either by directly meeting them or by brainstorming solutions together and checking in later.
Looking to make new friends or meet new people? Trying to brush up on how to be a better friend? Downright confused about how to make friends as an adult? Conversations and questions don’t have to be complex. In fact, these questions are fairly straightforward if you think about it. But they open up a wide range of conversation yet focus on getter to know someone better and asking about what matters most––how we’re doing, our longings, and hopes, and fears, and needs. The juicy stuff.
What questions do you use when chatting with friends or have others asked you (and you loved!)? Share in the comments––I’d love to know!
by Kylie |
January 28, 2019
© Tend and Mend, Kylie Bennett 2019.
I'm Kylie. I’m a small-town California girl turned mental health therapist. Favorite things: babies (but don’t have my own!), comfy pants, and taking too many pictures. I'm all about realistic self-care, mental health for everyone, and personal growth even if you hate that phrase (cause I do!).