“Do you miss your husbands?”
Yep, that was my adorable, inquisitive 6 yr old niece asking my 87 year old, twice widowed grandmother if she missed her husbands.
I gasped when my mom text me that she did that. My sweet little Taiyah girl then went on to tell her that she would probably see them in heaven soon and that they are looking down on her now. I was part laughing, part thinking how cute and smart she is and part mortified about the topic of conversation.
Later, I called my grandma to chat (as good granddaughters do) and asked her about it. She burst out laughing, and with humor in her voice relayed the story to me. Her response had been, “Why yes I do, and I am so glad you asked about them. They were great men and I miss them very much.”
This got me thinking, Tay’s intention was to know more about my grandma. She didn’t understand how a question like that could be socially awkward or intrusive. She just loves her great-grandma and wanted to know how she felt about something that was important in my grandma’s life.
I’m a social person, but I naturally lean towards being a private person. Generally, I am aware of staying on this side of people’s private lives when in conversation in order to be polite and not come across as intrusive. However, I think this has as the same time caused me to miss out on opportunities of connecting with and getting to know people on a deeper level.
It may not be quite as straightforward as my niece, but her desire to know more about the way others feel has encouraged me to push myself in asking questions that go deeper than the surface level in regards to our lives. I want to really know those I care about (and maybe the occasional deep connection you find while meeting fellow travelers along your journey.)
So what about you? Are you strategic in getting to know people? Do you have any tricks in your bag to share on how to connect with others about things that matter?