The Best Way to Strengthen Bonds With People Who Matter
Maybe you’ve heard it said the best way to engage in great conversation is to ask open-ended questions that invite others to talk about themselves. Go to a social gathering armed with curiosity and the ability to ask good questions, and you’re on solid footing to form connections.
As a person in business I’ve paid close attention to this method and make it a point to listen more and talk less. And as I’ve aged, I find it far more worthwhile to hear more from others rather than to talk about myself.
As a mother, I can’t say I’ve always practiced the same approach. I cringe to think of how much monologuing I did rather than asking questions to discover what was going on in the heads of my children. Of course, my intentions were good. I would “teach” by telling. Now that they’re adults, I no longer have the access or the desire to do all the talking. And more than ever, I do want close relationships with my adult kids.
As any parent can attest, it can be tricky to navigate the balance between a grown child’s need for autonomy with the desire of the parent to remain connected. I can’t claim my initial attempts, or objectives, worked well—perhaps I weighed my needs and interests as more important than recognizing their requirement for autonomy. But as we’ve all aged, my desire to strengthen the love and friendship based on amicable understanding has blossomed. And I think that authentic bond is what we desire for all the relationships that matter to us in our lives.
THE MOTHER/DAUGHTER PROJECT
I’m fortunate that my son and his wife and their two children live in town. We end up spending lots of time doing the pragmatic stuff together because we are close in proximity. But being near in location isn’t the same as being close in terms of relationship, so we continue to work on this while dealing with the daily details that keep us in touch.
My daughter, through a series of twists and turns, discovered her love of Lima, Peru, where she resides. She formed a business there and spends a lot of time with work projects, but also enjoys running and singing while living her bilingual life by the ocean.
As her mother, I’m thrilled she has found a place to call home, but I miss her. WhatsApp has made the distance bearable and allows us to talk most anytime we wish.
It was during one our chats we realized the overlap in our businesses, too. I work with clients to capture stories for family and company history books, while Alexandra helps her clients craft and share their story to market to their audience.
We came up with the idea of creating a card game, which started with the premise of telling life stories. Together we crafted the questions that would comprise each card of the game, and Alexandra worked on the rules to incorporate strategy and fun during play of the game.
A GAME IS BORN!
We marveled and thrilled at how much we enjoyed working together, and once we finished, we named our game “Tell Me Another.” We printed a small run and played it with family and friends. What we learned is that life storytelling is quite powerful. It turns out that what you think you know of the people you know might in fact surprise you.
Encouraged by the success of the first draft of Tell Me Another, Alexandra re-designed the look of the cards and upped the box design to reflect the quirky and fanciful experience of playing the game. Alexandra created a Spanish version of “Tell Me Another” as well, which has been received with enthusiasm by Peruvians in Lima at game shops where it is sold.
MEANINGFUL CONNECTION AND LIFE STORY
Tell Me Another is also the seed that launched the Storied Gifts Shop. See if you don’t find the game a low-tech-high-value approach to engaging conversation at your next gathering of friends and family. Play it with tasty appetizers in the comfort of your home or in the park on a sunny afternoon. Tell Me Another prompts are also perfect for launching entries for those who journal as well.
You can purchase this boutique game in our shop, and if you’re new here we invite you to take advantage of the discount we offer which also gives you access to our newsletter for more news about thinking more positive thoughts, doing more positive actions and generally striving to live your best life.
Welcome friend! I’ll be back again each week with a new post.