How do you feel about having deep conversations?
Extraverts often can talk to anyone about anything – weather, sports, music…
But if you’re an introvert you might avoid small talk. It’s not that you can’t do it, but you’d much rather have meaningful conversations about something deeper and more personal.
Whether you’re an extrovert (like me) or an introvert (like my wife) new research reveals that multi-layered, meaningful conversations actually make you happier than chatting.
Psychologist Matthias Mehl studied the connection between happiness and deeper conversations and published it in the journal Psychological Science. Click here to read more about how the study was conducted. Basically, the study revealed that the happiest person had twice as many substantive conversations, and a lot less small talk than the unhappiest person.
So why do happiness and meaningful interactions go together? Mehl believes that people, both introverts and extroverts, are social animals and have a fundamental need to connect with others in a significant way. Deeper conversations fill this need, while small talk doesn’t.
So now that you see the value, how can you have more profound conversations in the course of your day?
If you’re an extrovert, take a cue from an introvert in your life (they’ll love you for it). Introverts tend to be good listeners, which helps the people they’re talking to open up and reveal what they’re really thinking. They are also deep thinkers, so when they do have something to say it’s usually thoughtful.
A simple way to improve your conversations is by asking better questions. Ask questions that explore what the other person is thinking and feeling.
For example, here are some deep conversation starter questions:
What did you enjoy most on your vacation? (Instead of, how was your vacation?)
What drew you to your profession? (Instead of, what do you do for work?)
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go and why? (Instead of, what are you doing this summer?)
Remember, small talk does serve a social purpose and many interesting conversations start with small talk. But I encourage you, whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, to make the effort to have more meaningful deep connections. You’ll be glad you did!
Your optimism challenge:
Look for opportunities to connect on a deeper level and see if you can have at least one substantive conversation every day.
Share your feedback, questions or comments at healthyoptimism.com/contact.