We had 11.2 inches of snow a few days ago. So, of course, everyone was talking about the weather. The polar vortex, wind chill, feels like temperature, snowfall amounts, icy this and arctic that…
In the space of a single day, I had a dozen weather-related conversations. The weather was the opening of conversation and often it was the entirety.
Now perhaps nearly a foot of snow for the first storm of the winter warrants being the focus. But all this weather talk left me a little cold (pun intended).
Because over the past months I’ve noticed how many conversations revolve around weather. It’s so hot, cold, windy, rainy, blah blah blah.
Believe me, I’m not pointing the finger at other people. I’m just as guilty of acting like I’m trying out for a meteorologist spot on The Weather Channel.
Starting a conversation about climate conditions seems to be on autopilot for a lot of us.
And while I suppose we bond a bit over the shared experience of the weather, it has me wondering if we’re missing an opportunity to connect at a deeper level. Or, at the very least, have more interesting conversations.
So I’m going to try a little experiment.
I’m going to not talk about the weather with cafe baristas, store clerks, friends, waitresses, clients, and the UPS guy.
Instead, I’m going to see what happens if I look past the weather outside and start the conversation from there.
Perhaps I’ll try these as conversation starters:
- What are you most looking forward to today?
- What’s going on in your life right now that you’re excited about?
- Are you working on any interesting projects?
- What’s been the best part of your day so far?
- What are you reading right now? Anything you’d recommend?
- What do you want more and less of in the new year?
- What’s the best life lesson you learned this year?
- What’s something you’re grateful for today?
No, I’m not planning on a 20-minute conversation with the store clerk about the meaning of life while customers wait behind me in line. And obviously a two-minute conversation with the clerk at the co-op is different in length and depth than one with a friend.
But the question remains—and thus the reason for my experiment: Can any (every?) interaction be made more meaningful if it starts beyond the go-to topic of weather?
Now, you might be wondering: Is she really going to ask the waitress about gratitude and the librarian about the best part of her day? These are casual interactions, after all. Ones perfectly suited to the superficial.
But I never wake up in the morning thinking, I’d love to have a little more superficial in my life. And since connection is one of my core values, I’m going to give my experiment a try.
I’m sure at times I’ll slip back into weather chat because it’s easy and effortless.
But since winter is just getting underway, I’m going to have plenty of opportunities to choose a real conversation starter over talk of the weather.
So next time we chat, see how my experiment is going. Hopefully I’ll ask you about the latest project you’re working on or hobby you’re excited about—and not chatter on about the latest arctic blast.