I’m not a fan of small talk, not in the slightest. I’m just not good at it; I want to dive in – faster, deeper, down into the depths of what makes us all tick. (I know you’re not surprised by this.) So basically, when surrounded by friends or acquaintances or colleagues or family, I like to keep a few intentional conversation starters in my back pocket for when the constant chatter slows to a murmur and the conversation is in dire danger of turning into weather observation territory.
I get that this isn’t cool. It’s not effortless (you know how I feel about that word), and it doesn’t necessarily allow for an organic conversational flow. Still, it’s something I can’t shake – this need to actually know each other and not just know things about each other. I don’t know, it’s a thing I have. And so, I ask questions. This one’s a current favorite:
“What’s the biggest misconception people have about the role that you play?
Friends, this will turn into a five hour conversation, easy. This question covers so much territory – image management, self perception, relational observations. It is astounding the lies we believe on a daily basis. For instance, here are my answers, for a few of my own roles:
Misconception: That I’m narcissistic. That I overshare. That my life is glossy.
Role: Working Mother.
Misconception: That I think following my dreams are more important than training my child.
Misconception: That I’m holier than thou. That I don’t have doubts. That I’ve figured it out. That I’m better for it.
Lies, lies, lies. See what I mean? This question is a shovel, digging hard and strong and fast into some really, really rocky terrain. It’s best asked in a trusted circle where vulnerability is an agreed-upon pursuit, completely void of comparison. (My method: add wine.)
Anyway, give it a go. Ask your husband or daughter or nextdoor neighbor that sometimes comes over to watch your two cats. Tell me what happens. (You know I want to hear.)