When conversations happen magically
Good conversations are tricky. You can’t force them. You can’t create them with mad scientist skills. It just occur, like a rainbow, and you enjoy it for as long as it goes on. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t elements that are better at generating good conversations than other. Now, what those special factors are, I don’t know, but I do know that good conversations sometimes happen randomly. And when they do, it’s great.
For example, I was at Friday night bible study, and an out-of-college student came back to visit. I said hello, asked how he was doing. And then somehow, we crossed the threshold from small talk and into the land of good conversations. He talked about praying consistently, still being unsure career wise as an adult, and always be humble.
For example, the other day, I was making a mold for my sculpture project while listening to Planet Money’s episode on changing your mind. The teaching in the classroom next door overheard the podcast and wanted to talk to me about it. He talked about how being able to persuade people in a non-argumentative, civil way is an important skill to have and even recommended a book, called Changing Minds. Creative title, I know.
For example, my school held an alumni art show, and an alumni who now works at Nickelodeon and won an Emmy last year came back to visit. He was super nice and humble and awesome to talk to. He was another reminder that wanting to become an artist is not just a fairytale. Not that I want to be an artist, but when so many of the people you know are all growing up to become engineers/computer scientists/another boring job/just kidding/I know some people like doing that stuff/for reasons I don’t understand.
The five second rule
I’m listening to this podcast episode (wow, that’s two mentions of podcasts already), and one of the hosts said that it’s a lot less awkward to strike up a conversation within five seconds of getting into an elevator then breaking the silence later. Which is a handy rule of thumb.
In Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect (which is one of those slow books that I can’t read all at once and it’s SO GOOD), one of the chapters is called “Throwing Candy.” It’s about being silly and having fun when you’re busy and busy and more busy. Here’s a quote: “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and realize that the best thing about me was I was organized. That I executed well, that I ran a tight ship, that I never missed a detail. I want to look back and remember all the times I threw candy, even when it didn’t make sense. Especially when it didn’t make sense.” This is something I struggle with. After school, I go home, sit down, and just do homework. I like being organized, I like being prepared, I like being known as someone who is organized and prepared. But because of this one chapter, I’ve also been throwing candy. For me, that looks like facetiming the same people every (except for last week) Wednesday and Sunday. Because I really don’t want to become a hermit. Because I need them and those friendships aren’t going to maintain themselves.
It’s November 4. Are you part of the “NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING OR I’M GIVING YOU COAL” camp or the “try and stop me, I’ve been ready for Christmas since New Year’s” camp? From my experiences, I’ve learned that there’s not really an in-between. I’m in the latter one. Personally, I think Christmas is one of those things you can’t get sick of.