Would You Deepen Your Conversation if it Gets Sticky at a Social?

Having just had a very socialable time, at Christmas and New Year get togethers and parties, I wish I had re-connected with Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s prose beforehand. There are several paragraphs that really resonate with me, and I would like to say a bit about them and why. For those who don’t know me, this may help. The full prose is in the previous post. Let me know if you would inquire, of your temporary companion, about any of these!

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.”

Well, if they are passionate about their work, it does interest me. Otherwise, I’m happy to skip paid work as a topic.

“I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”

Yum, I really love to know this stuff, and of course it would depend how well I know the person. Some of my friends would love answering it.

“It doesn’t interest me how old you are, I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool, and for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.”

Yes,  I could have asked this question: “Would you risk acting like a fool for love, your dreams or adventure?”

I am not sure that I am very good at risking looking like “a fool” (in quotes because labels don’t sound compassionate to me). I don’t like people to think of me other than I am – so if I am being “a fool”, I am happy for people to see. If I made a foolish mistake and I am called a fool – no, not so happy, that is a place I am working on.

Will I take risk for love, dreams and adventures? YES! I do often.

“I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.”

Again this seems like a question for people I know well. However with someone I know less well, I might find they are open to it like this “I sit with people’s pain for a living, how is it for you to sit with your own or someone else’s pain?”

“I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.”

This feels less intimate and so I can imagine asking this of a number of people I was at social functions with over the last few weeks. I really like asking this as a way to promote conversation if it is sticking.

I hate disappointing people so I developed something I call “managing expectations”. (If this is already a thing, I didn’t know that, someone tell me in the comments). However, I will disappoint someone to be true to myself if necessary.

“I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine”

This line speaks to me. Living with something I have labelled failure interests me. And of course failure is a story, a comparison. In fact I am surprised to see it in a wise person’s prose.

Would I ask someone at a party? “Failure” – is that one of those words discouraged as a topic at a social event? Let me know what you think.

“I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

This part really resonates with my longing for authenticity! Often.

This is a question that I want to know other people’s answers to. If you would like to answer this, below, or in private, I would love to hear how you sustain yourself and if you like your own company in the empty moments!

Sarah Sims Williams BSc (Hons) Psychology, Level II Counselling & Communication, IIT CNVC.

I have been learning NVC since 2008 and sharing since 2010. I am a Certification Candidate with CNVC.org & a member of the UK organisation: NVC Matters.

Escape Your Chains guides clients to getting more of what they want, to be freer. We predominantly use a tool called Nonviolent Communication (NVC).

Many words are violent, and people don’t realise how much freedom they lose, by the language we all use. Take “should” – it is one of the most violent words in the dictionary according to Marshall Rosenberg who developed NVC. Those who know why may not notice they are thinking in shoulds, or may not know how to translate them – feel free to ask us in the comments.

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