The value of a good question (or two)

This afternoon I was at a local coffee shop doing some reading and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation at the table next to me. A young (college-aged) guy and gal were sitting at a small table trying to enjoy what seemed like an afternoon coffee date. At first I though, “Oh that’s nice.”  But after listening (unintentionally, of course) I started to really feel for the girl. The guy was talking endlessly about himself and the stuff he did or liked.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

But as the conversation progressed, I realized that she was doing the same thing. There was very little actual conversation going on. It was mostly a series of statements by one person followed by somewhat related statements by the other person. It was really painful to listen to. A part of me can’t imagine that there will be a second date for those two, but if most of their interactions are like that, I suppose there probably will be.

I kept thinking as I listened that if just one of them would ask the other a question it would change everything. They might begin to learn something about each other. They might actually connect on a deeper level than just what kind of computers they used and how much they saw people drink before the basketball game last weekend. They might even learn enough to know whether or not they wanted to have another date.

It made me wonder if they even knew how to be curious about another person. I know that I’m not always the most curious person about others and I have to work at it at times, but I also know how rewarding it is when I do. It also reminded me why J and I want to do the kind of work that we have been trained for. We want others to learn how to connect deeply with one another and God. And, if nothing else, have more enjoyable dates.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brett Yohn on February 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I love your web postings. You, Jenni, Laura, and Steve have the most amazing ideas and images that you share. I could bind them into a book. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Curiosity about the other is so crucial. It seems like there is alot of curiosity in the culture at large (paparazzi, social media) but it is read through a narcissistic grid. Actually seeing the other person as a subject is such a lost art. I also liked how witnessing the lack of curiosity led to reflection about your own curiosity.

    Reply

  3. Amen! I want the masses to read this blog and adopt your philosophies. We all want to deeply connect and we, scratch that, I would love more enjoyable dates!

    Reply

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