Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Two Favorite Questions

I carpool with this guy to work every morning. It's now that I should mention I leave for work at 4:33AM. Yes, the answer is that it is freakin' early. I should also mention that my carpool buddy and I, complete the wake-up process in differing styles.

He gets up a full hour before I pick him up. He starts his coffee pot! He takes a shower! He drinks his coffee! He reads the newspaper! I think he also does a lot of his personal administration as well, like balance his checkbook and calls his mom!

On the other hand, I wake up 13 minutes before I pick him up. I brush my teeth, throw on my clothes, do a 5-minute meditation and I run out the door. No light comes to my eyes until I actually get to work.

The bottom line is that we are at completely different phases in the waking up process when we greet each other. I'm groggy and just want to be left alone. He's been up for an hour and wants to have a big discussion about the nuclear proliferation article he just read in the New York Times.

I look forward to the Monday and Friday drives because I have the two best questions in the universe in my back pocket. On Monday he gets in the car and I say, "how was your weekend" and if it's Friday I say "what are you doing this weekend".

Think about it: you're stuck in the breakroom with that awkward co-worker; your Aunt Joe Joe just stopped by to say hello; you're on the phone with your mother. All perfect times to use the two best questions ever invented.

I love this question(s) because you're going to get a lot of meat and you don't have to work really hard. Back to my dive at 4:30am. He wants to chat and I want to roll over and get five more minutes of snoozing in.

I throw him this question(s) and he gets to take it where ever he wants. If he wants to spend five minutes telling me about the secret date he has planned for his wife-- he can. If he wants to give me the complete agenda of the weekend activities-- he can. While he's talking, something will jog my interest and I'll usually interject a comment. But I don't have to because the ball is in his court. Because the onus is on the other person and their weekend, you get to choose how much you interplay in the conversation.

But the real reason this question(s) is so beautiful is that it gives you a pretty direct view into someone's life. You might find out that you work with a rockstar as your co-worker moonlights in a band. Your Mom might reveal she's trying to clear her mind by taking Tai Chi. Aunt Joe Joe might tell you she's going to the funeral of her best friend this weekend.

Your teeing things up, so that whoever you're talking to can share about what's important to them and in return you might get a chance to make a connection.

Theoretically, a weekend is between 48 and 60 hours if you include Friday night. If when you ask this question(s) you don't really get a response, maybe the person truly has nothing going on in their life or they don't want to share it with you. Either way, you did your part by lobbing them a softball to try and get a conversation going.

I know what you're thinking - what do you ask the rest of the week? On Tuesday you can still get away with the "how was your weekend" and Thursday you can still go to the "what are your plans for the weekend". On Saturday and Sunday, you can just say, "do you have any plans for the rest of the weekend".

So it's only Wednesday that you're stuck without the two best questions in the universe.

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