Ups and downs

A couple of days ago, someone asked me:

I know you help people with solving conflicts and stuff, but I’m not in a conflict. I just want to practice how I can have more meaningful conversations in everyday life. Can you help me with that?

The question reminded me of the movie “The Big Lebowski.” In this movie “The Dude”, played by Jeff Bridges, gets asked how he’s doing. His response inspires me on a daily basis.

Just the other day, I was bumping into a neighbor and I asked how she was doing. She told me she was doing great. Then she asked me how I was doing. 

My reply: “Ups & Downs.

She almost immediately said: “Well actually, me too, I lost my job this week and I’m on a bit of a rollercoaster.”

We talked about her rollercoaster and then we talked a bit about my ups and downs. A real authentic conversation, on the street, with a neighbour. Just by changing “I’m doing great.” with “Ups & downs.

Now, if you want more fun in your everyday conversations, you also have the option to change the first question you ask someone when you meet them. So instead of “How are you doing?” I often ask people something like this:

  1. How is your day going?
  2. How is your week going?
  3. How is life treating you?
  4. Anything weird happened today?
  5. Do you have anything to celebrate today?
  6. How’s your mood today?

Because these sentences are a little different from the common question, they help people pause to think about how they are “really” doing. 

Which reminds me of a question I got from someone who was great at making meaningful connections in everyday life. First, she would ask people: “How are you doing?” Then she followed up by asking: “And how are you reallydoing?” 

I guess my answer to the person who asked me the question this week, is something like this: 

Pause to think about your first question and pause to think about your first reply, each time you meet someone.