>It’s been a busy day. It’s the first day I was in the church office since the op and it has been fruitful and tiring. I have had some God-inspired conversations with people (where I was in the right place at the right time and had the courage to ask the right question). But I have also not had time (until now) to write anything blogworthy. I did sit down just before 1015 this morning to write something but got interrupted and have not had a chance until now.
The God-inspired conversations and travelling to and from town on the bus got me thinking about how poor I am at small-talk. Some people naturally start up a conversation with everyone they meet. I am more often an observer rather than a participant.
I struggle to know what to say to people I don’t know. I hate to ask ‘what do you do for a living?’ for four reasons. One is that it is so unoriginal. The second is that I do not define people by what they do. The third is that I realise that some people do a lot that is unpaid or do not have jobs. The fourth is that it may inspire them to ask me what I do and that is often a conversation killer!
So what to ask people? I have been trying to come up with a stock of good questions:
“What things inspire you?”
“What are your hopes and aspirations for the next year?”
“Who are your heroes / heroines?”
“What makes you smile?”
“What is important in your life?”
These seem like good questions, but they also seem a little, well, dry. A little bit ‘Blue Peter’. (Here’s one I prepared earlier). I think better questions may be along the lines of:
“How are you?”
That sort of question is personal (and perhaps not a good ‘opener’) but is also an opportunity for people to share about themselves on their terms.
In a conversation I was having earlier today I remembered that Jesus asked a fantastic question:
“What would you like me to do for you?”
That’s the sort of question that should be on the lips of all his followers. But we need to be ready for some surprising answers!
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?
Have you ever seen a toad on a toadstool?
How can there be self-help “groups”?
How do you get off a nonstop flight?
If a jogger runs at the speed of sound, can he still hear his walkman?
If peanut butter cookies are made from peanut butter, then what are Girl Scout cookies made out of?
If space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?
If swimming is good for your shape, then why do the whales look the way they do?
If tin whistles are made out of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?
If white wine goes with fish, do white grapes go with sushi?
If you jog backwards, will you gain weight?
Why do they call it ‘chili’ if it’s hot?