I love to hear people's stories.
Everyone has one.
On "CBS Sunday Morning" (best show ever) they used to do a feature where a correspondent started the journey by throwing a dart at a map, going to the city and then picking a name randomly from the phonebook. He would meet with the person and hear their story. Everyone had a story. The featured "guest" would then throw the dart at a map to pick the next location.
Sometimes the stories were inspiring. A local hero unknown to the masses. Sometimes they were sad. A father who hadn't seen his children in years.
I always found it fascinating.
Because we all do have a story. I share mine on my blog. People seem to like to read them. My dad's dad and my mom's mom were both great story tellers. My husband's grandmother who passed last week was, too.
Call it a narrative. Call it a personal history. I call it interesting.
One of my favorite questions is asking couples to tell me how they met. They always smile. They always go back to that exact moment. They laugh. It's as if I get to be there, witnessing that moment when their lives collided. It takes them back to a happy moment.
I also ask people how they ended up in their careers. Did they choose their profession or did their profession choose them? Do they love it or is there something else they'd rather be doing? If there is-- why don't they go for it?
Travel stories are great, too. There's always an adventure. I don't travel as much as I used to and I get to live vicariously through them.
It's also why I probably enjoy Facebook-- I get to see stories unfold. I've watched friends fall in love. And then out. I also watched a divorce slowly unfold. Friends who always wanted children go through pregnancy and then that first year. Stories of parents and grandparents passing. Children growing and graduating. Grandchildren. It's 1,000 narratives a day.
The stories connect us. They make us human.
People complain about what a cold, unfeeling world we live in. I disagree. I find that most-- not all- want to share their story.
This year, when you're at parties or family events, try asking some open ended questions. Ask people how they know their host. How did they meet? What their favorite parts of the holidays are. What their favorite Christmas gift was and why? What was the best New Year's they've ever had? Their first kiss? Do they buy lottery tickets- and if yes, what would they do with the winnings?
You might be surprised at all the great experiences people have had. Regular, ordinary people. You don't need to be a Kardashian to have an interesting life.
I think it's fun. You might be surprised at how people open up.
It truly makes the world feel just a bit smaller and a bit warmer.