If we were having coffee right now,
Chances are good we would want to talk to each other – that’s generally how it’s done, right? We would begin with small talk, perhaps – the weather, or the quality of the coffee. Sooner or later, one of us would stab into the personal information … the tentative zone of attempting a real connection.
Usually it starts with a “So what do you do” or “So tell me about yourself.” I suppose it would be a step up from small talk – atleast we would now be learning about what the other one Does. And it is true that, to an extent, we are shaped by the activities that we do.
But would we be really getting to know each other? Do our dayjobs, even our hobbies, reflect who we are inside? Perhaps. Probably, to an extent. But only to an extent. If I was on my game, I would find a way to figure out what about Something – Anything – excited you. Because that is what would fascinate me – your emotions. The things you find exciting, the things you find horrifying, the things that make you mad. That, to me, is Who we are – as opposed to What we are – the emotions that we feel about things.
And if I was Really on my game, I would find a way to ask you: what are you excited for this week.
Someone tried it on me at a party last week. The individual and I – while friendly acquaintances – would not usually have gotten too in depth with a conversation at a social gathering. So when we approached each other, I was expecting the usual “so what’s new” or “what have you been up to lately,” or even “hows the acting going?” You know, typical polite conversation. Then I could have given them the classic Customer Service – an emotionless but cheerful “Not much how are you?” or a “how about dem Bruins, eh?”
But no – this individual asked me instead what I was excited for this week. And it broke through my armour of social niceties, because I found myself suddenly questioning – what Am I excited for? All of the things I had been thinking about in terms of ‘oh well I need to work on that, and do this, blah blah blah’ took on a new light, one of hope. The timeline was important too – I had no trips or promotions in the coming week, and was thus forced to consider my emotions towards the small and the mundane parts of life, the ones I take so often for granted. I found the words flowing out inspite of my usual restrictions, quickly launching away from social pleasantries and into the coming week’s worth of my actual hopes and anticipations. The conversation took a drastic turn for the personal – and the connection it established was more personal too, and so much more real, than the usual ‘how are you’ would have elicited.
I then returned the question to the sender, the individual I was speaking with. Funny enough, they seemed a bit taken aback in their turn at the question being flipped towards them. Now they too were letting me in to not only what they were doing, but how they Felt about it. Suddenly each of us was glimpsing and asking about what the other was feeling and had felt… and very quickly it was one of the deeper conversations I had that evening.
So if we were having coffee, I would ask you “What are you excited for this week?”
I admit, I would feel a twinge of pleasure if you were to allow yourself a look of surprise or perplexion to colour your demeanour as an initial response. But perhaps the question might surprise you enough to let me in to your world, and not only the what’s, but the emotion that these happenings would make you feel.
And then I would listen with an encouraging smile, to the wheels turning in your head as you revealed some of your emotional self to me. Perhaps, if we were feeling it, you would tease out some of my emotions as well. And if we were both in the right place, who knows what kind of topics that would lead us into.
I wish you an exciting week.
(coffee photo: https://justgeneo.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/newcoffee.jpg )