By Ali Schultz
When was the last time you had a good conversation?
A time where you felt rattled to the core with sheer emotion due to what you just spoke about. A time that you conversed with another person and left feeling closer than ever to them. A conversation that left an imprint on your heart or caused you to question everything you once believed in.
It appears now, more often than not, we submerge ourselves in technology, seclude ourselves from meaningful social interactions and simply get lost in the absolute madness of life. Whether we are hiding behind phone screens, lazing the day away watching the latest episode of “House of Cards,” or skipping out on family dinners to get work done, we must question if we are participating in enough meaningful conversations.
We must take the time to remind ourselves the importance and impact these substantial conversations can have on our lives.
Let’s vow to not forget the immense power that lies within the gift of conversation and the opportunity conversation gives us to express ourselves, no matter what the topic.
Conversation can unravel a person until you strike their core. It presents the opportunity to unveil raw emotion and could potentially drive you closer or further from a destination, ideal state of mind or even another person.
As I grow older, I, too, have begun to realize as time progresses, lives grow busier and the drive to cultivate meaningful conversations becomes more sparse.
Fortunately, growing up, I was gifted with two gracious parents that preached the importance and power of conversation. My brother and I were taught not to bring our cellphones to the dinner table or have the TV on when one of us shared about their day.
My parents nurtured our intellectual growth and encouraged us to keep open minds about all things in life. And in doing so, they provided us with some of the best dinnertime conversations any family could ask for.
But more importantly, what my parents probably did not realize at the time was the subliminal lessons they were instilling in my brother and I — to cherish the people in our lives, be present and leave impressions on those around us by engaging in conversations.
Take the time to differentiate between substance and shallow thoughts. Step outside your comfort zone. Talk about politics, religion, feelings. Take a leap of faith with people you barely know. Keep an open mind when sharing with strangers. Take into consideration the diverse backgrounds of the people around you.
Sometimes we forget life’s most important moments start with conversations. Somewhere between laughs and late-night conversations we fall in love. Conversations turn strangers into friends. Conversation sparks acceptance and social progress. It brings upon change and creation. Without meaningful conversation life would be bleak at best.
Don’t rush when speaking to others. Absorb what they have to say. Try to never fear confrontation. Don’t steer away from controversial topics; seek diverse views. Small-minded individuals talk about small-minded things. Be different and be bold when it comes to topics of conversation.
So stop using filler conversation. No one wants to talk about the weather. Speak up during awkward silences. Be proactive and learn to enjoy human interaction. Don’t hide behind technology and clear parts of your busy day to talk about things, no matter what the topic.
Revel in engaging conversations and cherish the words and thoughts of both yourself and others.
And now, ask yourself, when was the last time you had a meaningful conversation?
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @AliSchultzzz.