Most of my days are spent interacting with my kids. Depending on the week, it would not be be unlikely that I would only interact with the kids (3,2, 10 months) and Gavin. After talking with kids, disciplining, making quesadillas and chopping fruit, changing diapers, and giving instructions day after day, when Sunday or bible study comes around I find myself not really knowing what to ask other adults or feeling uncomfortable in my interactions. Since I know most people in our Sunday school class, many for 10+ years and have been involved in the church for so long, I am usually less than pleased with myself that I feel that way.
It can be hard to cultivate friendships when you only see them once a week and at that only have limited time. There isn’t much time to “warm up” into conversation. Sometimes I feel like I am being nosey when I ask some questions or I am bummed that I am asking the same questions over and over week after week. I really care about the people in my life and want them to know that, but if I don’t know how to talk with them it doesn’t really convey that!! Not just at church, but when I see old friends, family I don’t see regularly, new people, or old school friends or co-workers, it is hard to know what to say! Am I alone in this?! Having been aware of this I came up with a list of observations and guidelines to help us out!
– Purpose to not talk about the weather.
– Think about who you are talking too… Think about what is new or relevant in their life. Did they have a baby? Are they dating someone? Are they in school? Have they recently moved? Think about questions that would be applicable to that such as:
– what are they feeding their baby?
– how have they decorated heir home? Is there a dream design they have or a project they are working on?
– have they gone on a date recently? Where did they go? Who planned it?
-who watches their kids?
-what do they hope to do after they graduate? Do they hope to go back to school?
-try to ask open ended questions – one that they would be hard pressed to answer yes or no
– tell them you are working on asking better questions!
– if they ask you a question be detailed, provide information beyond what they asked, understand they are TRYING to have a conversation with you. If you are vague, it might make them be vague in their answers
– ask how to pray for them, pray right then!
– ask what they are reading
– after the conversation take notes and set a reminder to follow up mid-week
– keep working at it!
– ask detailed and specific questions
-on your way somewhere, think about who will be there and come up with 10 questions you could ask someone or people there. Have a plan!
Hopefully this will help you feel more comfortable and confident in your interactions with people you care about and want to build relationship with.