My Favorite Convo Starter

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:

Role: Blogger.
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.

Role: Christian.
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.

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.)

  • I’m so, so, so not good at small talk… this afternoon I’m headed out to a beach weekend with friends that I don’t know super well, and I’m dreading the awkward silences that I don’t really know how to fill. I’ll take all the tips I can get and will definitely be keeping this one in my back pocket!!

  • Oh I So dislike small talk and awkward moments too!:) this is a great question. I can just listen and not have to say much. Haha. Seriously though it it great to know you are a Christian too. God really blessed those who Seek Him first. Very pretty Erin!

  • I’m a person who also wants to know my friends deeply. If they’re not willing to share the good/bad/ugly stuff with me, I don’t feel close to them, and our friendship fades…the small talk just doesn’t do it for me!

  • “What do you like to do when you aren’t working?”
    I get so many interesting answers!

    • When I have asked that question, more often than not I get a blank look, stunned somehow as if I’d asked the “wrong” question. It usually takes them a bit of time to answer; they usually have to give it more thought than the standard “what do you do for work answer.”

      This will not stop me from asking that question again. I expect someday I’ll bump into someone with a really great hobby or interest.

  • Can I admit something terrible? I don’t even bring up being a christian (i know, i know) or work it into convos, even though it is a tremendous component of who i am and what I believe, because as soon as I mention church, being protestant, or even organ music– i can just see that place (what you mentioned) is where everyone I am talking to goes.

    sigh. overcoming those misconceptions are such a goal. such a goal.

    • SUCH a goal. When you overcome it, please give me your secret? ;) Kidding. No secret, I suppose. Just faith and trust and love. :)

  • I got this vibe from you as soon as we connected in Singapore. You didn’t just ask me about what I did or what I liked, you went straight into my WHY: why are you here in Singapore at this blog workshop, and I told you my dream, my vision, my goals for where I wanted to take my blog — and more than that — where I wanted to go in life. It was fun to hang around Bloesem for the odd hour or so after everyone left, so that I could ask you questions beyond just DFM and blogging. And about being a Christian? You never had to say it. I knew you had God’d love in you when you took the time to talk to me and get to know me, even just for an hour. Thank you, Erin!

    • Oh you, Martine. You’re such a kind, kindred spirit. All my love to you and your sweet, sweet family. (Hope you’re feeling well!)

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