So your usual conversation ends up in a stop. You jumble your words or run out of things to say. Connecting is hard. You are caught up in your mind, blanking when it’s your turn.
Somehow shyness, anxiety or both are holding you back. As another awkward silence sets in, you think: why does it feel so painful? Why is it so hard to get to know people? This should be easier right?
One way to do that, is with a technique I call: “Digging for Treasure”.
Everybody is filled with valueables. Emotional richness. You just need to excavate it. Some people have very deep and rich soil, other a shallow top layer. But in all people there is treasure to be found.
“Arrrrrrrr. But how to dig?”
Show interest in people and their motives! Don’t use surface level questions like “what do you do?”. That is like digging with a spoon. No! You need to be interested in WHO someone is. Instead of what he does. And not interested in how he acts, but WHY he acts in life.
So throw away your what-do-you-do-spoon, and pick up that opinion-shovel. Ask what they think about movies, news, books, events, etc. Ask for opinions.
- What do you think of the new Star Wars?
- Do you like using Tupperware?
- What is the deal with airline food?
Don’t go too political (I know, Star Wars was risky, hail Emperor Palpatine). Don’t be too mundane either.
As you’ve warmed up a bit, dig deeper. Time to use an excavator! You dig? Move some mud by asking about people’s emotional drives. Stay positive though!
- What does your name mean?
- Why do you live in this city?
- What are your passion projects?
- What are you trying to learn at the moment?
You will find loads of treasure chests as you do.
Emotional depth you can use to explore and connect, by “Opening the treasure chest”. As people give their opinion and open up. Zoom in on their emotional motives.
Ask WHY they feel a certain way. So someone can explain their opinion. As people explain, a two-way street opens, where you can share your opinion as well.
If the emotional load is not clear. Ask HOW people feel about things. Even if people still do not seem to care, ask them why!
- “Why don’t you give a shit?”
Share the wealth
But heck, you disagree. That’s cool. You can discuss, as long as you are not a dick about it. You are sharing. Not seeing who is better! Ask people to explain their views, as you elaborate on yours.
- “Ooooow, I actually think eating from plates is weird, please explain to me why it is better than Tupperware?”
Or share your treasure by relating your own experience.
- “You love airline food? I hate it! During my last flight, I send my meal straight back to the pilot!”
It’s not about you finding out WHO people are and WHY they act. But also you showing them WHO you are and WHY you do what you do, as well.
Practice scooping up the dirt, looking for the emotional richness that is in all of us! The stuff we all love to connect over. Over time you’ll see that making connections is easy and fun!