Over my life, I’ve kept up many long distance friendships. Some of my earliest memories are of writing notes on horse-covered stationary to my best friend, Caroline, emailing (before the days of text) with a group of my best pals, and logging in to Skype to give my friends a call.
I was homeschooled from kindergarten through my senior year of high school. My experience homeschooling deserves a column all its own, but one of its products was learning how to keep up with friends who I don’t see face-to-face on a daily basis.
Quarantine has now given all of us the opportunity to brush up on our keeping-in-touch skills. Many of us now have more time and ability to call friends and family to catch up.
But while quarantine has increased our free time, it’s simultaneously taken away much of our fodder for conversation. I don’t know about you, but my answer to the question “What did you do today?” is currently fairly straightforward.
Crowdsourced: What are you doing to keep busy while social distancing?
So, how can we move our conversations from focusing on our daily activities and the current state of the world to something deeper?
My personal favorite trick to keeping a phone conversation interesting is asking unique questions.
The goal of any good conversation should be twofold: to learn something new about the other person and share a little about yourself. Asking good questions provides the opportunity to do both.
And of course, this advice isn’t limited to phone calls or FaceTime. Keep these questions in your back pocket for when social distancing is a thing of the past.
Here are a few of my favorite questions and resources to get you started:
“Tell me something about yourself that I could never tell from looking at you.” via Art of Noticing.
“If you could only use three condiments for the rest of your life, what would they be?” via Art of Noticing.
“For what in your life do you feel most grateful?” via meetmindful.
“What is your secret skill?” via Art of Noticing.
“If you could say one sentence to your pet and know they would understand it, what would you say?” via Art of Noticing.
“What have you learned about yourself recently?”
“How do you think other people would describe you? How would you describe me?”
“Who is someone that you admire, and why?”
“When was the last time you were angry?”
“If you had an intro song, what would it be? Or, what’s the theme song of your life right now?”
Try some of these questions and see where your conversation leads!
Olivia Rogers is the community editor for the Collegian, the vice president of the University Honors Program and a senior in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to email@example.com.