4 Curious Practices to Deepen Your Relationships

I’m finding many ways to practice Curiosity this year in my relationships. Here are four ideas you might try, too.

1. See how many questions you can ask (meaningful ones!).

I visited several friends in an apartment complex on Monday afternoon, so this was a fun and easy experiment to try as we talked together.

We learn more about our friends and family—and strengthen our relationships—when we ask good questions. Every person (including ourselves) holds great mysteries just waiting to be invited out. Sometimes the only barrier between a stronger connection is the lack of a question.

2. Be a more curious listener.

I tried this out with my Tuesday morning book club (although it’s likely that no one noticed I was trying to listen more than I spoke, lol).

When we intentionally try to be more curious listeners, we can listen as an activity all its own, rather than listening just to kill time until it’s our turn to talk again.

3. Notice what keeps someone’s attention and what loses it.

I tried this on Wednesday as I babysat two young nephews. I noticed that the older nephew could play Candyland for an hour without moving on to something else, while his younger brother only gave it a brief glance, yet focused for a long time on the stack of books we would read together.

We’re all curious about different things. Sometimes we wander away once our curiosity is satisfied (our question is answered, for example), but other times being curious lights a fire about a subject and we’re driven to dig even deeper. Notice when you start boring someone and when they light up.

4. Be curious why people show up where they do.

On Thursday my daughter Jenna and I drove to our state capitol, Montgomery, AL, for an advocacy day for common sense gun laws. It was interesting to talk to others who showed up and hear why they did. The saddest but most powerful stories I heard were the two moms who told us they had each lost teenage children to random gun violence.

Becoming curious about other people’s motivations allows us a deeper look into their hearts in ways we might not have seen otherwise.

Practicing curiosity in these ways doesn’t require much—just an intention to do it. It’s nothing you have to announce; on the contrary, most people won’t notice you’re doing it, except that maybe they feel more listened to and cared for.

Which of these four could you try today? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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16 thoughts on “4 Curious Practices to Deepen Your Relationships

  1. Lynn

    I imagine you feel very present with the people you are with when you intentionally become curious! I really like #4. We get to know people when we deeper when we get curious about why they do what they do. And everyone wants to be known! I was sad to read about the two moms who each lost a teenager to random gun violence. Very powerful and sad.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    Genuinely listening to others and sincerely finding out more about their motivations and beliefs leads to a depth of understanding and caring about others that needs cultivation, especially in a society so fixated on being “right” about everything. Your questions here have certainly inspired me to be a kinder, more empathetic listener, Lisa.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Love this, Lisa, and where CURIOSITY is taking you. Interestingly, a friend of mine and I were discussing this very thing via text today. Generally. we are polar opposites politically (till the takeover), and she is not a Christian; I am. But we are each curious about the other and listen respectfully, sans interruption (and certainly sans outburst). She said just today that she can’t understand people who summarily dismiss others out of hand with whom they disagree or, for that matter, those w/ whom they *thought* they had always agreed. I have been dismissed of late more times than I care to recount. She and I want to know each other, and in so doing, we realize we share our humanity and the same love for a number of things. And even though we may disagree on some “issues” very important to us both, we know we are better for having listened with curiosity and for showing respect and civility. As the saying goes, “We can peaceably agree to disagree”! Keep listening and living w/ curiosity. *I* am CURIOUS to see where God leads you!

  4. Lois Flowers

    These are all great ideas, Lisa. I was especially intrigued by No. 3. I might like to think every word that comes out of my mouth is fascinating to whoever hears it, but of course, that is not the case, nor should it be. We all have different interests, based on who we are and what our life experiences are. I love your advice to notice when someone “lights up” … asking questions about another person’s passions is a great way to show interest and love.

  5. Joanne Viola

    These are all important ways to improve our relationships and communications. I am not sure how long ago I began to notice, but there were times during a conversation that I would stop mid sentence and the person didn’t even realize it. We’ve become a people who are so distracted with our phones that often even during a conversation we are not paying attention. I want to be curious about others. I think you are right, Lisa, we need to be curious listeners for those around us are so worth it.

  6. Michele Morin

    I’m encouraged that curiosity can be enhanced and boosted. Bombarded by so many words sometimes, I am embarrassed to admit that I have tuned out a person’s story thinking, “I don’t need to know this…”
    The thing is—I DO need to know the person!

  7. Steph@Crazylittlelovebirds

    Lisa, I appreciate all of your suggestions. I particularly enjoyed your fourth suggestion. Your words sparked something in me and made me realize that I should try to do that more often. Thank you! Thank you for sharing your post at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #34.

  8. Julie

    For me I am working to be a curious listener but I feel the first step is to remove distractions. My phone is the biggest one. Yesterday I attended a professional development event and I decided to turn off notifications on Facebook and WhatsApp for 8 hours so I don’t reach out for my phone to read messages from my friends. It helped me stay engage with the conference.

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