This is for all the lonely people.
№ 33 ☼ 2 minutes ☼ 558 words
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“A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.”
Conversation is how I fell in love with my wife.
The first time we hung out (just friends), we spent an entire night sitting around a fire pit in her backyard, sharing a bottle of wine and the most meaningful conversation I’ve ever had. I don’t remember what we discussed, only how I felt — like drinking a Coke with lots of crushed ice after being out in the hot sun. Refreshing, pure, and invigorating.
And you always want more.
It wasn’t that Christin didn’t talk. She asked real questions and truly listened. She wasn’t just waiting for her turn to talk. Conversation like that is insanely powerful. It creates a feeling of mutuality and closeness and vulnerability. She was trying to know me which allowed me to know her.
That conversation changed my life forever.
This world is full of lonely people. We’re lonely because we don’t feel known. Even if we have lots of friends, or a great family, or a vibrant social network, or a loving spouse, we can still feel deeply alone.
To be sure, there are plenty of people communicating. We’re talking more than ever. Even though we all talk non-stop, it’s just talk.
And all that talk, the things we read and write, the comments section, our endless social media feeds, the texts and emails, it’s all low-quality content that passes away instantly.
Even this piece you’re reading will disappear forever after you hit “delete” and close your email app.
That’s why conversation matters. Good conversation creates meaning that lasts. And good questions make for good conversation.
Questions invite. They open us. They expand our minds and reveal that there is so much to explore together through conversation.
Questions create connections. They make us feel less alone, like someone cares and got to know us a bit.
Try it out. And definitely try it with strangers.
Look people in the eye, offer a warm smile, and ask a direct question. You will be shocked at how easily people open up. Like flower buds, all tightly wrapped and waiting for that first Spring shower to be that little nudge for them to reveal their hidden, precious beauty.
We’re all aching to be known, to be seen.
Connect with people through the questions you ask.
Don’t think about what you’ll say next while the other person is talking. Listen. Really listen. Follow your imagination and ask whatever pops into your mind.
Bonus: it doesn’t matter if you’re on the quiet side. Questions ensure you don’t have to talk much!
Be curious and open and enthusiastic. Forget your opinions - only your friends care about them (and they’re probably just being polite). So what if you disagree with what the other person says? Who cares?
The point isn’t to make sure the other person sees the world the way you do. Maybe the point isn’t even about getting a glimpse of their worldview. That stuff doesn’t matter very much.
Conversation is about making this world a less lonely place. We’re all here for a brief moment and so many of our moments are full of grief and hardship and suffering.
You can easily make someone’s day with a handful of good questions. You may even change their life.