You’ve heard the saying before, curiosity killed the cat. You were taught it as a kid to ensure you keep our nose out of things. Well I’m here to start a new saying; Curiosity saved my relationship/friendship.
With my coaching niche being communication, I focus on helping clients improve their communication skills in all of their relationships, in order to build deeper connections.
I’ve always been a bit of a curious person. Why? , was always my favorite question. I needed to know how something worked before I could truly understand it, to see it from all angles. But I really developed my sense of curiosity when I took my coach training.
Here is where I was taught to hone this skill and ever since then it’s the number one thing I tend to work on with all of my clients. Why? Because when we bring curiosity to a conversation, we throw open the doors to a deeper connection. And as human beings we cannot survive without connection to other human beings.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says, “First, shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually hardwired for connection, love and belonging.”
I agree that shame can get in the way of us making that connection. But what I want to add to the mix is that the soft skill of curiosity can get us to that place of deeper connection and this is what we are desperate to have in our lives.
I am a huge proponent of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication process. In his book he teaches a 4 step process of:
What these steps prevent are the usual things we all throw into a conversation or shall I say, heated argument, that prevent us from making a connection.
Judgement, i.e. You are always doing this……
Blame, i.e. You make me feel…..
What I like to add to Marshall’s list is curiosity.
Instead of replying to someone with, “I hear you! I had the same experience, let me tell you what you should do!” Why not try, “That sounds interesting, tell me more about what that’s like for you?” Or, “I’ve experienced that same thing, it was hard. How do you want to handle it?” Or simply begin with, “I’m curious….”
Curiosity does not leave any space for judgement or blame and when we leave those two things out of a conversation the other person is more likely to be vulnerable and honest, because they are feeling heard and not judged or blamed!! Think about being on the receiving end of that conversation. Often we walk away with this uplifted feeling inside, this feeling of belonging, of being heard and understood. “I feel much better,” we think. We may even walk away feeling empowered enough to make the change we know we need to make.
But without curiosity we can often walk away from that same exchange feeling just as lost and alone as when we started, i.e. disconnected.
Curiosity isn’t just for those deep serious conversations. Are you uncomfortable in new groups or with small talk? Curiosity is what will get you through. Not comfortable sharing about yourself right out of the gate? Questions of curiosity open it up for the other person to speak first and share, possibly opening a door for something you may have in common and a path with which to follow.
Remember also that why questions can often lead someone to feel they need to justify their opinion or belief so when getting curious think about starting with “what” or “how”.
Make deeper connections with people in your life by trying on curiosity. Send me an email with your experience or drop me a note if you’d like to discuss it further.
I’m always curious to hear other people’s perspectives.