Last night my family and I decided to go out for dinner. We went to a familiar place with a familiar menu, but enjoyed a pleasant surprise that I continue to think about. We sat next to a table with two couples, probably in their 30s, on what appeared to be a double date.
I didn’t intend to be so snoopy, but I overheard a question posed to the table that piqued my interest – “what’s something you’ve achieved that you’re really proud of?”
Did she really just ask that question, I thought to myself as I leaned a little closer. I was on the edge of my seat awaiting someone at their table to offer the first answer, and then one of the women spoke.
“You know, she said, I’m really proud that I’ve finally come to accept that the relationship I have with my mom is not like other people’s relationship with their mom and that I can stop being angry that she’s so critical of me and unapologetically cold. I spent my whole life trying to be the person I thought would make her accept me and be warm—give me a hug once and a while, and two years ago I realized that was my perception and that I needed to accept her for the way she is.”
“Yay” I wanted to scream! Yay for you having this conversation and Yay for you freeing yourself from setting expectations for someone they just can’t achieve – even if she is your mom.
That night as we walked home, I promised myself that I would create a bank of thought-provoking questions and pull one out at a dinner party. And when I do, I’ll let you know how it goes!
What about you? Have you ever asked a group of people a probing (non-political, non work-related) question that led to an interesting conversation?