So now they know: the power of a good question

I recently was invited to a dinner party. We all sat around the table, ate and enjoyed conversations of life and our daily goings on. Soon after the meal was finished we were asked a very simple, yet profound question. The entire conversation around the table instantly became a table of honesty, openness and vulerability.

A few days later I sat at another table. This one, too was filled with people I did not know well. One of the guests asked a very simple, yet honest question. Soon, we were in the throws of the deep.

Last night I had a conversation with a friend about honest questions. He and I have the kind of friendship where questions are welcome and honesty is expected. We talked about our social experiences in different groups and how profound a good, honest question can be. He spoke with passion about honest questions and how they beg for honest answers. I may not use his same verbiage, but I have known for years that questions asked dictate the level of honesty, sharing and depth of relationship in a group or between friends.

Questions are the guide to relationship. If you want to head somewhere with a person, you ask them a set of questions to get there. If you want to be known well by a person, you want them to ask you questions. Questions not only are the guide to relational depth, they are also an indication of value. When someone asks you questions, it shows that they care about your story. When you ask someone questions, it has the same effect.

A good question goes a long way. An honest question is often simple. The more we ask each other questions that are honest, the more likely our relationship will grow in depth and honesty.

Some of the best questions I’ve been asked are quite simple, but they’ve take my relationship with the person asked to a greater level of intimacy, knowing and honesty.

What are you thinking about these days?

What is a fear that has shaped you?

Do you want to be married?

Why did you hesitate?

What is your dream?

Tell me your story.

Who is your hero?

What do you like about yourself?

What is a memory that has shaped you?

What do you day dream about?

What questions have shaped you?

Try an experiment this week. When you go out with co-workers, friends or family ask a different kind of question. Something other than how are you? What did you do today? I’d love to hear what happens!

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