I recently heard someone say, “Around a holiday table everyone is 12 years old.”
Do you dread – and want to forestall – unpleasant childhood dynamics from kicking in? Come to dinner prepared. Not with the perfect zinger, but with some good open questions.
I just discovered www.storycorps.org that has a “Great Questions List,” conversation starters, not difficult conversations, but joyful ones. Sharing stories about our lives can transform a good meal into a feast.
“Who was (or is) the most influential person in your life? What did that person teach you?”
“What are you proudest of so far in your life?”
“What’s the best advice you ever got?”
“What’s your earliest memory?”
“How did you meet your spouse?”
One of my personal favorites is “Tell us something we don’t know about you.” That can provoke a helping of surprise seasoned with a cup of laughter.
Check out the site. And along with that bottle of wine or holiday cookies, come with a question to start a great conversation.
Jacqueline Washington says
My favorite question is actually a “variation” of one that you proposed. I love to ask people: “Tell me something that people would be surprised to know about you.” I always caution that it need not be private or embarrasing — just surprising. People seem to dig a bit deeper into their lives in order to come up with the surprise element.
Thanks, Jacqueline! That’s a great one! Carolyn