ways to start a conversationGlennon Melton is a speaker and a New York Times bestselling author. Said another way, she’s someone who knows how to put words to good use.

In spite of that, she used to make the same mistake many of us make. When she and her husband saw each other at the end of the day, they greeted one another with a cliché question.

“How was your day? “

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that intimate, high-quality conversations didn’t tend to follow.

Eventually, the couple ended up in relationship therapy. I’ll let her explain what happened next:

“Through therapy, we learned to ask each other better questions… questions that carry along with them this message: ‘I’m not just checking the box here. I really care what you have to say and how you feel. I really want to know you. If we don’t want throw-away answers, we can’t ask throw-away questions.”

The problem is, “throw-away questions” are easy. We’re so accustomed to asking them that they’re practically automatic.

But if you want a real conversation with your partner you should change your approach. That’s doubly true if your guy is the quiet type.

Fortunately, there’s a really easy method that works.

Stephanie Ross has teenage kids. She got tired of one-word answers at the dinner table. You probably know what I’m talking about from similar experiences.

Mom: “How was your day?”

Kid: “Fine.”

Mom: “Who did you have lunch with?”

Kid: “Friends.”

Riveting, right?

To nudge her kids toward actual conversation, she made slight adjustments to the questions she asked.

And guess what?

They started talking more. The very same technique works as well with adults as it does with teens. If you want to get your guy sharing more, here’s how you do it.

Don’t ask him how his day was. Instead, ask him to share one high point from his day. Then ask him for one low point. Finally, ask him to share something unexpected that happened.

In essence, you’re after the same information but these questions yield better results.

They’re better because they’re specific. Open-ended questions lend themselves to short, vague answers. But specific questions prompt specific answers.

You don’t have to stick to these three questions. Feel free to shake things up and come up with some of your own.

For example, you could ask him if there’s anything he’d like to brag about that happened today. Or if he encountered anything particularly stressful. Or what he’s looking forward to about tomorrow.

The idea is to ask specific, meaningful questions. Questions that, as Melton said, communicate a genuine desire to understand his world.

If you want a good conversation with the man in your life, it’s important to create the opportunity for it. You can do that by making it a point to ask better questions.

Good questions encourage real answers and build genuine intimacy. When you ask those kinds of questions, even a quiet guy will start to open up a little more each day.

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