What kind of conversation draws you in?
The shallow small-talks where people tell each other what they “do” in life
- as if 1 occupation summarizes their whole being;
whether they have 2 luxury cars or 3 properties,
Whether they have a girlfriend or boyfriend,
if they tend to go for a run or just go to the gym,
or which day they’d like to catch up but won’t actually?
These questions are examples of "Me-sharing".
They carry very subjective information that stops at where you have spoken your words.
Unless you’re a vain person,
Me-sharing small talk won’t get you very far.
They’re only good ice-breakers that should lead to I-sharing exchanges,
“What is it about Sabrina Claudio’s songs that just feels so good?”
“Do you actually like your job?”
“Would you be interested in answering the Marcel Proust questionnaire?”
“Oh my gosh, these buns look just like the ones we’d make in China!”
The kind of conversation that draws me in
are always intellectual ones and real talks.
Something new and revelatory that I’ve never thought about
something informative without being pushy or propagandic.
Words and messages that seep into our hearts,
rather than appealing to our vanity.
Small talks aren’t repulsive to me,
they just feel rather repetitive, hence boring.
They are essential to making connections,
So I often find ways to respond to small-talks by twisting it around.
In everyday life in New Zealand, you always hear “How are you?”
Apart from saying “Good” which hides so much more behind the word,
I’d often say Hungry instead, which is true most of the time,
Or I’d say "I'm alright~", then proceed to ask something in turn about the person based on how well I may already know them.
When we travel,
“Where are you from?” is the most typical small talk or opener people would use to introduce themselvee.
You'd hear it being asked a lot if you have an accent or look that isn't immediately apparent to people.
In most cases, I was the person hearing this question getting asked.
I suppose people ask it without thinking twice,
which also suggests, it was the laziest thing they could come up with at the time when they met you.
It risks rendering them uninteresting.
That question also often makes me wonder ...
What's the point of this question exactly?
So instead, I say this in response:
"You can take a guess."
The kind of conversation that helps people who have no reason to like each other build connection is what’s been termed as “I-sharing”.
The sharing of deeper level commonalities that go beyond cultures, languages,
or any other diversity that may seem to alienate one person from another.
I-sharing is something you do when you identify similarities despite cultural gaps or language barriers.
I see Wanderreds do it so often with people wearing Madrid soccer team t-shirts.
It’s the easier way to bond with people,
over teams in sports.
Because our brain is wired to have in-group, out-group mentalities.
So by linking ourselves to another over something we can share in common, we find familiarity and draw each other closer by the similarity we share.
I listened to this Google Talk on Spotify titled:
Nobody Understands You and What to Do About it.
And it mentioned the importance of I-sharing.
Because it was a talk held at Google for the Googlers,
It was centred on how to make someone like you at work.
This I-Sharing concept really only reminded me of traveling more.
When we are fortunate enough to make connection with someone.
Those connections we build often come from I-sharing -
The sharing of experiences because of traveling.
I-Sharing comes so naturally when we meet people on our travels.
Our eyes are widened by fresh faces,
We’re excited about making new acquaintance,
curious and intrigued,
free from history and bad experience,
unburdened by the daily conundrum of the same-scenes, same activities.
Don’t you just love the first moments when you meet someone somewhere new?
A good example of I-Sharing is when you talk about a meaningful topic with someone.
Those are the things that reach you at the core,
that makes you see someone clearer,
that highlights who they are,
not just what they seem on the surface.
To show interest in what someone may think or know,
To listen and not just talk,
to observe and take things in.
That’s what makes connections.
The source of the connection is in fact ourselves.
By seeking for what brightens our eyes and opens our heart,
we also become more interesting and more approachable
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