Many of us will soon be spending the holidays with family and friends. It’s a time to reconnect, enjoy meals together, exchange gifts, and engage in special traditions. Much time and energy will go into planning, travel, food, and activities. But how much time and energy will you put into planning better questions? Let me explain.
Have you ever noticed how we fall into the habit of asking superficial questions, especially during the holiday season – questions such as, “How are you?”, “How was your week?”, or “How’s the family?” Now, these questions in and of themselves are not superficial; rather they are so common they have lost their impact. We often ask them as part of our small talk that convinces us we know each other deeply.
Because such questions are common (and mostly surface level) the responses we receive usually reflect this too. That is why we usually get short answers like, “I’m not bad,” “It’s been an okay week,” or “The family is great.” So there we have it – the surface-level questions have been asked once again, the box has been checked, and we get on with our meals, gift exchanges, and family traditions!
But when all is said and done – when the meal is eaten, when the gifts are unwrapped, and the traditions are over for another year – do you really know your family and friends on a deeper level? When everyone heads back to their normal lives, can you really say you got to know them better?
The key to really knowing people, not just knowing about them, is to ask questions that will touch the heart and emotion of the individual; to ask questions that show a person you actually want to know who they are and to care for them more; to ask a question that doesn’t give room for a short, shallow, common response.
It’s good to celebrate together, to be with family and friends, and to devote time to all the holiday stuff. But even more than that, it is good to get to know people (family, friends, neighbors) better, and create memories that don’t just last a season, but a lifetime.
Are you ready to go deeper with those you love? I challenge you to think of five great questions to ask family members and friends this holiday season and beyond. Okay, I get it, sometimes asking great questions can be hard. Let me offer some suggestions:
Enjoy the holidays, and love and build your relationships this season by really getting to know your family and friends!
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