What’s your story?
For many, where people come from matters. Where we grew up, what school we went to, where we worshiped, what our job is, these all seem to be defining characteristic to other people. Why are our tribal affiliations so important? Why are we so keen to sum people up based on where they are from, or what they do? What if instead of defining people by place, we started asking people for their story?
With such a world of diversity, perhaps its time to change the way we interact with a world of strangers. Here is a thought-provoking piece by The Atlantic about those first few seconds of conversation with a new person…
So, what do you think?
In college, I was forced to do a lot more thinking about the idea of how we greet people, and how we fill those first moments of interaction and small talk with questions loaded to learn more about a person in the first few seconds of meeting them. I am as guilty as any other person of asking after a person’s place of origin only to try and write the story on them before I asked them myself.
A lot of us find small talk incredibly difficult, but wouldn’t it be easier to connect with people if we asked them about their own story, and not just their place of birth? Here’s a little homework, try asking yourself what your story is. Now, condense that into a length that would fit into the average conversation. What did you come up with? What does that story say that is different than what people might assume about you if you had just answered the question of where you grew up or what you did?
I think we all forget that we are one of 7+ billion people who all have complex lives like we do, that all have incredible stories to tell! Perhaps by just asking the question, “So, what’s your story?” we could prove to ourselves that “it’s still an amazing world” by just listening to the answers!
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- “The Geography of Small Talk.” YouTube. The Atlantic, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQxHOfOCo0>. ↩