“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” ~ Morrie Schwartz
Whether we like to admit it or not, the relationships in our life are usually the biggest source of happiness or pain.
We all strive to build deeper and more meaningful connections with the people in our lives. When we care, we want to know more of what other people are feeling and thinking, wanting and planning. To do this gently and positively, we need to use positive questions that “open” people up instead of “closing” them off.
Our usual “yes/no” questions actually tend to shut people up rather than opening them up and building a bond.
You can encourage others to share more of their thoughts and feelings by asking the right positive questions.
Hence, the simplest way to deepen all your relationships is to ask positive questions to truly get to know that other person. Lets dig deeper into this and understand what kind of questions will help us achieve this goal.
How to ask Positive Questions for more deeper and meaningful connections?
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”~ Tom Robbins
Questions can be of many types. Some questions allow a person to feel safe enough to open up. Some questions on the other hand can feel unsafe and cold, not allowing the person to open up, infact, these questions can potentially close a person off completely. This is the reason to understand and know the difference.
Nurturing our closest relationships or developing a relationship can be difficult for some. But learning how to ask the right questions allows for depth in the conversation, in the knowing and in the relationship.
Asking Open-ended questions
Asking open ended questions allow for a wide range of open responses.
For example, asking “What did you like best about that movie/speech/food, etc.?” will evoke a more in-depth response than “Did you like it?” (Which could be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”). If you do ask yes/no questions, be ready to follow them up with probing questions that will move the response beyond a one-word answer. “Are you having a good day?” – “Yes.” “What has made it so good?”
Asking positive questions is like any other skill. It can be learned, understood and mastered with study, practice and persistence.
The idea behind asking questions is to show genuine interest, learn more, and make the other person feel good, thereby creating a more deeper heart connection. In my profession I counsel countless people, and asking the right positive questions is the one thing that shows me how they are feeling, so that I can know them deeply and facilitate the healing process for them.
The right questions are healing!
To initially know a person more deeply always start with feel good areas that establish rapport. Eg. Family, Occupation, Recreation – basic building blocks of life that people are interested in talking about.
Here are some examples of positive questions:
• “What have you been doing with your free time lately?” or “What do you usually do in your free time?”
• “How is the economy treating you?” or “Has the economy been kind to you?”
• “What projects have you been working on?” or “Have you been working on anything interesting lately?”
• “I’d love to know more about your family. What are your kids involved in?” or “I love spending time with my family. What are your favorite things to do with your family?”
As we learn to ask good positive questions, the bonds we establish automatically become deeper and deeper.
My Favorite Positive Questions:
I’ll share three of my favorite questions to ask. I’ve found that they invariably produce meaningful conversation. I like to call them the story question, the passion question, and Larry King’s favorite question.
1) The Story Question: “How did you get started in the (XYZ) business?”
Everyone loves to tell his or her story. So ask a question that allows them to do it. “How did you get started in (whatever it is they do)?”
2) The Passion Question: “What do you love best about what you do?”
People love to talk about the things they are passionate about. So ask them for details and just watch the room light up. An example might be, “So you are a stay at home mom, that’s great. What do you love best about being a mother?” Let people share their passion and excitement for what they do.
These two questions open people up because they have a chance to talk about two of the most important parts of their life.
3) The third question is designed to go deeper:
Larry King’s and every toddler’s Favorite Question: “Why?”
Larry King makes a living in his talk show host asking questions. He interviews everyone from top celebrities to world leaders on “Larry King Live.”
He has often said his favorite question is “Why?”
“Why did you do that?”
“Why did you go there?”
“Why did that interest you?”
“Why is that important?”
That one, simple, three-letter word -> “Why?” has great power attached to it. It probes. It digs. It illuminates. It gets to the heart of the matter. It puts thought process and motives into context. It is at the center of meaningful dialogue and understanding.
I remember when my daughter was just 5 years old she asked “Why” out of curiosity, but we ask it to build deeper more meaningful relationships.
Remember, its not about digging deeper into the opposite person …its about positively touching the heart and creating deeper, longer and more lasting relationships.
The kind of loving energy that we invest into a relationship is usually what is mirrored back to us. So, let that be your cue. When you see hostility in a relationship, ask yourself what you can do to infuse more love into it.
Your Turn: What kind of questions do you usually ask in order to get to know someone deeply? Share your wisdom in the comments. I would love to learn from you.
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6 thoughts on “The Simplest Way to Deepen Your Relationships”
Zeenat, What a wonderful resource. To be honest, I could do much better when it comes to cultivating friendships. I’m an introvert. So I would rather hide at a party than engage. I often don’t know what to say. So these are the perfect suggestions for me. Thank you!
Good conversation starters. I think I am doing alright there. Only yesterday I got chatting to an nice eldery man in the queue at the bakers. It turned out that so far he had a terrible day and needed somethong to eat. We chatted and I tried to bring a smile to him and lighten the load. Well we did laugh in the end and he left the shop a lot happier. I was happy too to help someon to enjoy the day more.
Thank you for the wise reminders Zeenat. I used to be a natural listener, drawing people out with listening, caring, and presence. Time to focus on those again.
This is such important information. I wish I had learned this much sooner in my life. I especially like:
“Remember, its not about digging deeper into the opposite person …its about positively touching the heart and creating deeper, longer and more lasting relationships.”
What great advice you’ve given. Many thanks Zeenat.
Sending you love and peaceful wishes this holiday season Zeenat.
Much love and many thanks for your lovely visits to my blog 💕✨️🎄✨️💕
I love your approach, I tackled the topic by explaining how signs of affection (actions vs words) can help build a stronger bond. But these are different, and very interesting insights.
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