“So, what’s new with you?” Do you dread that question wondering “how in the world do I explain my entire, ever-changing, multi-faceted life in 1-2 neat, tidy sentences?! Guess I’ll just say ‘oh, not much, what’s new with you?’”
It’s so easy to brush past all the joys you’re bursting to share and even more so to hold back the hurts you’re working through…but that’s really what we need isn’t it? Space to share openly and honestly without feeling like we’ll be judged. And maybe, just maybe, actually get the support we desperately need?
No wonder so many people hate small talk. It feels fake and surface level. But, also, how do you go deep without putting someone through a 2-hour life-story monologue? (Please tell me I’m not the only one that could talk that long.) It starts with intention. What’s the intention of the person asking you the question and what’s your intention behind the answer you give?
If they are just being polite, then “oh, not much, what’s new with you?” works great. Chances are they are open to more. If they are genuinely interested in hearing a bit about your life maybe they want to know that they aren’t the only one going through some struggles right now, or maybe they are looking to spread some joy and celebration for one of your recent wins. Feel into what they’re really asking, so you can give them a succinct answer.
Even if you aren’t sure what their deeper question is, ask yourself what your intention is. Do you need to put an ask out into the universe for some support and admit you’re struggling? Do you need some celebratory energy sent your way? Do you want to inspire someone with your vulnerability to move past the surface level answer without expectation for how they will respond?
Why are you saying what you’re saying? That’s always the question. Have a practice go right now. If an acquaintance you want to get closer to asks you “what’s new with you?” How would you answer? What are you feeling in this moment? What do you need – what’s the intention behind your answer? Keep it simple and honest.
When you do it in real life, if you don’t like what you said or how they react, guess what? You are fully in charge and capable of saying “Thanks for listening and you know what, actually, I’d like to talk about [insert new topic] now.”
Easy as that – in reading and writing…for real life: have courage, be brave, be ready to stumble a few times as you try this out. It’s all part of the fun. Afterward, notice: how did it feel to share more openly? Share that in the comments below.
Want more ideas on how to take conversations beyond small talk? Download my free ebook From Acquaintances to Besties: 12 Techniques to Authentically Strike Up Deep Conversations.