Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting to Know You

Rachel Held Evans had a post yesterday where she lamented the fact that adults never ask the fun questions that kids use to get to know one another:
1. How old are you?
2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
3. What is your favorite animal?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. What is your favorite game to play?

I remember two questions my elementary school classmates and I always asked each other:
1. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? (and since we had no idea what that really meant, the answer was basically whatever our parents were), and
2. Are you for UK or UofL? (This was suburban Louisville, of course, and my dad had to reassure me that yes, in Louisville, many people were for UofL, but in the rest of Kentucky, the noble Wildcats reigned.)

The deeper tragedy, I think, is that we stop asking "get to know you" questions and using cliche conversation starters after we've known someone for a while. I've always loved asking follow-up questions after certain experiences: "What was your favorite part of the movie/concert/vacation?" My mother's response is usually an exasperated, "Jessica, I don't knoooow." Matt usually tries to humor me and sometimes a great analysis or recap of the event will follow. We met playing a "get to know you game," so we'll never discount the significance of such silly exercises! Though it may sound like we're on a first date, I often ask Matt questions like "What is your first childhood memory?" or "What's been your favorite part about this past year/life stage?"

Yes, these questions sometimes seem forced, a way to remedy a lull in conversation, but they can really help you connect in a new way with people you've known a long time. I once heard someone say you should learn something new about your spouse every day. What question could help you learn something new today?

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