I recently went for a lecture at The School Of Life here in Melbourne. This is the UK School Of Life’s first international campus. I chose the lecture on “How To Have Better Conversations”. The first thing I appreciated was that from the get-go, it was clear that this was not a class about clever tricks to use at parties. It went deeper than that. The other aspects I loved was the relaxed setting. This was the opposite of a stuffy, confining, inaccessible archaic institute of education. It was professionally set-up but it was also comfortable, open and felt like it would be fun! It proved to be all three.
I’ve always struggled with “surface” conversations. They come in a variety of forms – endlessly discussing mundane facts, data-heavy exchanges (and not even when you’re at work!) or worse still just gossiping. You don’t leave feeling inspired. You don’t leave feeling that you want to get to know the other person more and you certainly don’t exchange phone numbers.
A friend recently told me that he has had experiences where after a two hour catch up with someone he realises that he still does not know who they are. In the last few years I’ve made a conscious effort to surround myself with the sorts of friends with whom I can have a deep and meaningful – sharing confessions, challenges, hopes and dreams openly and honestly. And without fear of judgement. At the same time we also allow ourselves to be completely goofy. After all, life is a multifaceted experience and each day does not have to be about philosophy.
What DO we spend our time talking about? When you meet with people (even those you call friends) do you feel a connection? Do you leave feeling like you gave something of value and received something of value too? Did that person get to see who you really are? Did you get to see who they are? Or were you both just acting? Filling in the time and space with meaningless words? It was through passionate inspiring conversations that I learned about The School Of Life, about newsletters like The Daily Love, about books like Dear Lover by David Deida, about the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, and fun stuff like about musicians such as Dam Funk and websites like www.redbullmusicacademy.com. Thank goodness for valuable conversations.
By valuable and meaningful I don’t just mean D&Ms. I don’t mean having a good old cry after every conversation because you shared so much of yourself and your past. I just mean, after it you leave a different person, you’re glad you had the experience, you got an insight into who that person was. You were authentic and felt they were too. You listened and were listened to. Often times we have heard that we all just want to be seen. I feel it’s also an important aspect of health and wellness. Making a choice to do this is important.
Your time is precious. Spend it having valuable, meaningful conversations. Spend it learning things that are worth learning about and sharing with others.
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