How to Have Better Conversations with Friends & Family {LTR #13}

{Day #13 in the Let’s Talk Relationships series}

Melanie is a dear friend & trusted go-to for wisdom about relationships, parenting, and marriage. Sometimes you need a friend who texts you simply to say “I’m praying for you today!” Melanie is one of those friends. I’m thrilled to welcome her to the blog as she shares about how to have better conversations with those closest to us!

Standing in the kitchen, I was surrounded by the most precious group of ladies on a weekend retreat.

We’d had our breakfast, started to clean up, and we were lingering around a second cup of coffee.

Unexpectedly, one of the ladies asked a most fascinating question.

Would you like to have better and more meaningful conversations with other people? This article shares thoughtful and practical tips for how to get past the small talk and move toward deeper communication with your family and friends. There's also a free printable included in this post!

She asked, “How do you take conversations with friends and family to a deeper level?”

She was looking at me when she posed the question. And, being one of the senior moms in the group, I asked her to expound on her question.

Thoughtfully, she said something like:

“It seems awkward to talk about more meaningful things with other people. We can talk about the trivial, but I’d love to steer conversations into topics about the Bible, about spiritual growth, and about more significant issues.”

“How do I move the conversation toward more weighty matters without making it weird with my friends and family members?”

What a great question!

~ How can we intentionally work to have better and deeper conversations with people we already know?

~ How can we move toward meaningful dialogue and away from the trivial?

On that morning, I shared some ideas with my friend, and we had a fabulous conversation. The other ladies joined in and shared their ideas as well.

(This blog post originates from that conversation.)

Here are 5 Ways You Can Have Better and Deeper Conversations With Friends and Family:

  1. Ask Good Questions!

To genuinely connect with friends and family members, we have to take a sincere interest in their lives. If you will ask good questions, people will talk!

For example, you might ask:

  • I’ve been trying to spend more time praying for other people. Is there some way that I might pray for you?
  • Do you have anything challenging that you are dealing with right now?
  • What have you been reading lately? Or, what are the best books you’ve read this year?
  • I really like the way that you did… Tell me a little bit about how you came to that solution? How did you think of that?
  • What are you excited about right now?
If you want to have better conversations with friends & family, ask good questions. Click To Tweet
  1. Look them in the eye and really listen to what they are saying!

Don’t be thinking about how you will answer. Don’t be in a hurry to share. Don’t lecture. Don’t rush.

Proverbs 18:13 reminds us of this truth, “The one who gives an answer before he listens— that is his folly and his shame.”

He who answers too quickly Melanie Redd

Just ask a good question and listen.

People love it when we truly listen to them and try to understand all that they are saying. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to other people!

If you want to have better conversations, look people in the eye & really listen to them. Click To Tweet
  1. After they have answered, ask some great follow-up questions.

Invite them to go a little deeper. Encourage them to explain, expound, and share their hearts.

You can do this by asking additional “leading” questions.

For example, you might ask:

  • Why do you think that? (If it’s a man.)
  • Why do you feel that way? (If it’s a woman.)
  • What do you mean by this?
  • That’s interesting. Would you share a little more?
  • Or, I’d love to hear more about this.
If you want to have better conversations, ask great follow-up questions. Click To Tweet
  1. Now, share a little from your own life.

Let them know that you can relate. Share a short story or a personal example with them. Try to stay on topic with what they have shared.

Don’t go crazy and don’t talk too long. Just let them know you can relate to what they have shared.

And, don’t try to push too quickly to the Bible or to spiritual matters. Let things naturally go in that direction.

I have one sweet friend that ENDS more good conversations than anyone I know. Just as soon as things start flowing well, she will make some emphatic statement or quote the Bible. People don’t want to say the wrong thing after she speaks. So, the open-ended conversation will just shut down. It will be over before it ever really got started.

Don’t preach at your friends and family members. Talk to them genuinely and honestly. Be real. Be kind. And, handle them the way you like to be handled.

If you want things to go deeper, let them flow there. Don’t force or cram them there!

If you want to have better conversations, share from your life but don’t preach at people. Click To Tweet
  1. Invite your friend or family member to share more by asking additional questions.

Are you seeing a pattern developing?

Questions are KEY in our quest to have better and more meaningful conversations.

At this point in the conversation, it should be getting easier and easier to open up. You should be able to turn the conversation back to your friend and continue.

You might ask:

  • Can you relate?
  • What do you think?
  • I’d love to hear what you think about this.
  • Would you share a little more with me about…?

Your goal is to keep a two-way conversation going strong. It’s possible that you will continue to talk, or you may put a bookmark in the conversation and come back to it at a later date.

If you want to have better conversations, invite your friends to share more and to talk more.

This is not a magic formula, but I’ve NEVER had it fail!

When I genuinely look people in the eyes, ask them good questions, and really listen – they talk with me. When I ask follow-up questions, they talk more. If I will unselfishly ask and listen, we will have amazing conversation.

I believe the same can be true for you as you relate this way with your family and friends.

I’ve added a free printable for you to right click, save, and print off. Think of this as your own personal conversation cheat sheet!

Would you like to have better and more meaningful conversations with other people. This article shares thoughtful and practical tips for how to get past the small talk and move toward deeper communication with your family and friends. There's also a free printable included in this post!


So, what do you think?

What do you do to encourage better conversations with your friends and family members?


Melanie Redd Profile shotABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melanie’s passion is to offer HOPE! She wrote curriculum for Lifeway for over 10 years before launching her own writing and speaking ministry.

Melanie is the author of three books and hosts an inspirational blog at www.melanieredd.com. Married to Randy for over 25 years; the couple enjoys travel, golf, eating out, and hanging out with their two college-aged kids.

 

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11 thoughts on “How to Have Better Conversations with Friends & Family {LTR #13}

  1. Great tips, Melanie! I just had a wonderful conversation with a friend this morning. It’s easy with her because we’re both looking for those deep faith conversations but I agree asking good questions and really listening is the perfect place to start with anyone. Thanks Alison for sharing this with us!

  2. Hey Alison,
    It’s a joy to partner with you in ministry today!
    Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this series on relationships. I pray that many will be encouraged as they seek to take things deeper.
    Blessings to you~
    Melanie

    1. YOU are a blessing, Melanie, and I’m so glad to share your words on my blog. You’re one of my favorite ministry partners, friend! <3

  3. Ah, yes…asking good questions! That’s something that I would like to get better at in order to invite deeper conversations. This was a helpful post, Melanie and Alison. Thank you so much!

    1. Me too, Dawn, me too. I do believe there’s an art to asking good questions. I guess I should start practicing! 😉

  4. Great tips! I have often wondered how to have deeper conversations with family and this was helpful. I often have felt awkward but I think having a loose “formula” to refer to will help me be more confident in approaching deeper conversations. thank you!

  5. Thank you for sharing this great tips Melanie. I always struggle with keeping up the conversation as I tend to make scripture reference and just conclude without saying a thing about myself.
    God bless you.

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