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Feeling Great, Feeling Good, How are you?

How was work today?  How about school?

These are two of the most commonly asked questions at days end, and sometimes, these are the only questions asked at days end.

What may seem to be normal questioning, could actually use some revamping.

Now, it is never wrong to ask those questions, but I challenge you to ask more.

What if we removed work or school and just said "how are you today"?  Would that make any difference?

I'm sure any conversation regarding work or school will still be brought up if need be, but it is important to establish a foundation that doesn't only revolve around those tangible places.

For instance, on the weekends when there is typically no work or school, does that mean that there is no need to ask any questions regarding someone's well being?

Obviously not, but it is easy to get caught up in the semantics of asking those specific questions, only to realize that the answers are rarely substantial in nature when asked.

Too often, work and school days are described as "fine" anyways.  Once the description of 'fine' is made, the normal routine ensues and nothing is really shared.

Maybe the day was "fine"...I'm not doubting that.

I just don't think there will be much variation in the response unless the question is focused more towards the individual, rather than the place of employment or education. 

With that said, it is probably not the best idea to go from these surface level questions today, to more introspective interrogating tomorrow.  That definitely has the potential to cause unnecessary confusion.  Start with a basic question.

You'd be surprised to see how easy it is to say "how are you today?", and how good it will make people feel.  From there, let them decide how much further they would like to go in the conversation.

Feel it out.

If someone doesn't want to talk about something right away, don't pry. Over time, the trust will grow and they will be willing to share more.  Start slow, and be patient.

It's important to note that not everyone is going to be comfortable talking about themselves right away.

There will always be the idea that listeners won't understand what is being expressed, or that judgements could be placed, which could make people reluctant to open up.  Forcing conversations does more harm than good. 

Show that you understand that it's not just about where they were for 8 hours of the day, and you are more concerned about how they feel about those 8 hours, as well as any other hours they'd like to discuss.

Let's face it...those 8 hours are essentially the same everywhere you go.

It's the people who make the difference.  Get to know them.

Until next time,

Long Live The People

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