I love catching up with my friends, but I have never been a fan of small talk. I like knowing the real things. The hard things. The struggles of life, the temptations, the scary dreams and I feel especially honored if you tell me the things you are never supposed to say out loud. It means we are in. We have open the door and exposed our insides trusting them to someone hoping they won't reject us.
Due to time and friends living all over the globe, maintaining that level of depth and transparency is difficult at best. I don't know how you do it, but I have found one simple question cuts through the awkward back and forth banter that we all dance to trying to reestablish relationship intimacy.
After our general and casual catch up I love asking, "What's the rest of the story?"
It reminds us that even though the easy surface stuff is real, it is not in truth the whole story. There are always feelings and moments and stories that exist under the surface.
It acknowledges that yes, I love knowing those things about you, I want it all. I want to know all of you. I want to help hold your heart and your hurt and your fear.
It recognizes that somehow, even though and time and space separate us, we are still intimately connected. I haven' forgotten the real stuff. I long to know the "whole you".
Asking "Now tell me the real story" implies that the easy day to day stuff isn't real, which just isn't true. Those small surface experiences make up the fabric of our life as well. There's just...well...more. The fun things are real. The easy moments are real. The boring things are real.
They just aren't the whole story.
I love this question.
What's the rest of the story?
I use it for a whole host of my friends.
But for my girlfriends? Because we are a highly emotional bunch, I usually ask, "How's your heart?" Talk about cutting right to the depth of the matter. There is no hidden agenda there. I want to know. is it bruised? Broken? Wounded? Full? Tired? Embarrassed? Lonely? I beg wanting to know, "Trust me with you".
I just don't think there is any point in wasting time not knowing the people we care most about in the world.
If you are longing to deepen your relationships, maybe try one of these questions. It's incredible how quickly conversations get real and good and honest. it's beautiful, and I am thankful for those in my life who are brave enough to answer honestly.
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