The Conversation Jar

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I can be a little awkward sometimes, and I realize that.  Admission is the first step.

Truly, I’m awkward because I want to get to know people, and I’m not always sure how to do that. So JD and I made it habit awhile back to have people over for dinner regularly to get to know them.

We wanted so badly to get to know our guests, but it seemed like dinner conversation never yielded the results we wanted.  How do you just blurt out, “What inspires you?” in the middle of tacos?  You don’t because that’s weird–not like I’ve ever done that or anything.

Because of this, I was intrigued when I saw Michael Hyatt’s post about How to Have Better Dinner Conversations. He actually says not to write these questions down, but I did. I figured that if I make it a game, then people are willing to play.

So here’s how the Conversation Jar works:
I have a jar full of colorful index cards with questions on them (some of our current questions are included below). One person pulls out a card and reads the question. He/she will answer it, and then the rest of the group will answer it. Once everyone has answered the question, the next person pulls a question out of the jar and it starts all over again.

We’ve played some variations of the game such only the person who pulls it out of the jar answers, or the person asking the question gets to choose who answers it. What other variations could we do?

We regularly add new questions, take out ones that were awkwardly worded, etc.  It keeps our answers fresh.

The Conversation Jar has made getting to know people on a deeper level without making an awkward and perhaps too soon transition into “deep conversation.” It also opens up different layers of conversation and exposes what people are passionate about.  One of my favorite things about the Conversation Jar is that I’ve learned so much about JD.  I get to hear him answer these questions, re-answer these questions, and develop his answers.  I’ve also gotten to know myself more.  Win-win-win.

Give it a try!  Make it a game and get to know your guests!

Happy feasting and may your conversations be as full as your bellies.

The Questions Currently in Our Jar:
• What is the best book you’ve read in the past 12 months and why?
• What’s your earliest memory of feeling wonder?
• What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your father?
• What quality do you hope to inherit from your parents?
• What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
• What is something you want to learn how to do and why?
• Looking back over your life, what would you describe as your proudest moment?
• What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
• What is like to be married to you?
• What inspires you?
• Who is a fictional hero of yours?
• What is the nicest thing a friend has done for you?
• How do you recharge your batteries after a long week?
• If you were suddenly the president of the United States, what would you do first?
• What is your favorite thing about your spouse?
• If you had a million dollars to spend on charitable causes, how would you spend it?
• If you were by yourself and could listen to any music you want, what would it be?

What questions would you add?



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