By Diane Gage Lofgren
How do you move from acquaintance to friend? What questions can you ask to spark a deeper conversation? How do you move from polite chit-chat to more intimate sharing that allows you get to know a woman better.
In our last blog, I wrote about Shasta Nelson’s Friendship Accelerator group, devoted to allowing women to make new acquaintances in a weekend lightening round of intense conversation. Our host, Shasta, author of the newly released Friendships Don’t Just Happen, asked us to pose the question, “What was the high and low point of your week.” She loves that questions and uses it often with a group of friends who she meets with weekly. With the women attendees who just met, this question allowed us to quickly learn various dimensions in each other’s lives that we might not have gotten to if we relied on our past friendmaking experiences.
Another question Shasta had us ask that really struck a chord was: “Is there a friend you have today who, at first, seemed like an unlikely friend? I think we all have one or two people in our lives who would have never “penciled out” as a friend. She may be your polar opposite or have quirks you never imagined you could live with. She may be of a different age or culture that from first blush just wouldn’t have seemed to have meshed. But here you are, years later, great friends. Her differences are what draw you to her. The way she seems the world opens up hers. Her odd sense of humor makes you laugh.
Smart woman, that Shasta. Discussing this question made attendees realize that while each of us may not have immediately clicked, the same probably held true with women in our lives with whom we grew very close. In other words, don’t jump to conclusions or judge a would-be friend too quickly. Give yourself time to get to know women you meet better and allow yourself to discover what you appreciate about her!
So what other questions can we use when we want to get to know someone better. Here are a few to consider:
1. Who do you consider a mentor and why?
2. What are you most proud of — in your personal life? In your professional life?
3. What is your favorite vacation memory?
4. Is there some place in our community you’ve always wanted to go but haven’t yet?
5. What is something you want to do this year that will make you feel really proud?
Getting to these types of meaningful topics might normally take women months of meeting, interrupted by bouts of trying to meet, to explore. So don’t wait to go beyond idle banter. Good questions build and accelerate stronger friendships!