11Mar

15 questions to take any conversation deeper

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Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.

~Psalm 42:7, ESV

Often we miss a holy moment  when we fail to take an online conversation to the one place that is needed. Sometimes simply asking the next question gets you there. As we listen to others online, and the Holy Spirit prompts, the best way to go deeper, is to ask that “next” question in a Direct Message or an email. Here are some questions that may help you get you to the “post behind the post:”

  1. How did that happen?
  2. How can I pray for you?
  3. How can I help you?
  4. How did that make you feel?
  5. How are you really doing today?
  6. What do you plan to do next?
  7. What scares you the most about that?
  8. What’s the worst that can happen?
  9. What do you need right now?
  10. What else do you want to share?
  11. Why do you feel that way?
  12. Why does that matter to you?
  13. Why are you so down today?
  14. Why don’t we talk offline?
  15. Why don’t you tell me more?

What questions did we miss?  What works for you?

Post/Tweet this:

Listening is one of the deepest acts of love you can extend to another person. ~Pg. 80, @stickyJesus. #LiveSticky

  • KristaDC

    Take out “Why are you so down today?” It’s almost accusatory! And “How did that make you feel?” is just annoying, and likely to get a “How do you THINK??” from a hurting person. A better alternative: “Did that make you mad? I would have been mad (sad, upset, etc.)”

  • Tami Heim

    Good perspective on some of those. You really have to trust God to give you the right words to open someone’s heart in the moment you are with them. How, what, and why are all words that indicate you care and care to know more. Thanks for bringing even more sensitivity to the coversation. Good stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Most of these, and other questions which escape my mind at the moment, work best IMHO in the form of private messages.
    If a person that I have established an online relationship with were to ask me any of these questions, including “why are you so down today” I’d be more likely to answer them behind the scenes. And I most often ask them out of the mainstream, too.
    People often express their concern and even their commitment to pray. I am one of those people. I do it because I care. After going through a trauma over the weekend, which we are still dealing with, I’ve begun to realize that caring and praying aren’t always enough. Taking the conversation deeper will involve an investment of TIME. It will require open-ended questions and good listening on our parts along with lots of discernment.
    Thank you for reminding me that we sometimes do need to make and take the TIME to go deeper.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    Great reflective listening questions. People don’t realize that there is an art to listening. Some people think that listening is just waiting for their chance to speak.

    Listening is a big deal to me so I take this stuff seriously. Rather than try to solve people’s problems for them, a great listener will ask questions to help someone fully process their thoughts. Most of the time, you’ll find that people can resolve their own issues if you ask the right questions.

  • Anonymous

    I agree Tony, listening is an art. In fact it’s becoming moreso in our digital “post quickly” daily routines. When there’s a “stream” of thoughts in front of you, prayerfully listening becomes as much of a holy discipline; to me anyway.

    Great point — we really aren’t here to solve. We’ve give ourselves a lot of titles, savior shoudn’t be one of them. Great comment – you got me thinking!!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent – we should have put that in Melinda. I think ALL of these should be asked in Direct Message. We can’t expect the more intimate things to play out in a public forum. In fact, it’s our responsibility in the conversation — to make sure they DON’T.

    Excellent input — knew we could count on you guys to make this post better!