Better Questions Create Closer, Continually Evolving Relationships
In general, we suck at asking questions to the people around us, particularly once we feel comfortable in our relationships. We assume we know them and that we don’t need to ask these intimate, sometimes uncomfortable questions any longer. However, asking deeper questions (questions beyond the simple daily “How are you?”, “What was your day like?” or “What do you want to do?”) is key to continually creating closeness in our relationships.
Humans are complex. We are constantly evolving, and working out who we are, what we like, what we want, what we need and how we need to grow, as well as what we need to leave behind in order to develop. We also feel best when we are seen and held throughout these changes. Deeper questions that are continually revised and asked are ways to connect by offering curiosity.
Not only do questions help us feel seen and held, but they also allow our relationships to grow in new ways. We can learn things we didn’t know about our partner, kids, family or friends, as well as things they may not have articulated themselves until asked. By getting better at asking questions, we are challenged to grow in our relationships. There are limitless ways to get close to someone if we are open to asking questions, listening and answering.
I should note these questions are not always easy to ask. Questions that build intimacy can disrupt by inherently asking others to look introspectively or even, disagree. We have to be prepared to not know how the other person will respond and listen. And we might just not like their answer, which is a great opportunity to ask even more questions.
In order to emphasize how we can get better at asking questions, I’ve created a series suggesting some better questions that we can ask of those around us, organized by relationships. I’m starting here with questions for partners, and expanding to young adults just out of college, elementary-aged children and teens:
Asking Better Questions Could Be The Shakeup A Couple Needs
In our romantic relationships, particularly long-term relationships, we cannot live and work in a limited way in which we assume our partner has been the same since we first met. As people, we are always shifting and changing. And we want our partner to also shift and change with us, help us through these changes or at the very least, witness our growth.
But to do that, we have to ask more questions, as well as be open about how our partner–and the relationship itself–may have changed. We have to be curious about their development for the greater good of both our partner and the relationship dynamic. Admittedly, not knowing the answers to these questions can be scary. It’s asking the relationship to be shaken up by really having to consider, listen and respond to the answers as a couple. And it’s asking a couple to keep building, not know for a bit, and come to new parts of their relationship.