If you’d like to have a deep conversation or a meaningful one, you need to understand how they work. In this article, you’ll learn how to initiate and carry meaningful conversations that are memorable. It’s about those deep conversations that help build friendships.
If you’d like to have more meaningful and deep conversations, then you probably want a human connection that is more real, and beyond the superficial. Deep and meaningful conversations help you do just that. They allow you to make new friends faster, as well as strengthen existing friendships.
Deep and meaningful conversations help you connect with others through your true self and hopefully help reveal their true self as well.
How to Have Deep Conversations
When you have a deep conversation, it might be meaningful to you or to the other person, but not necessarily. A deep conversation can be just about discussing a topic in detail.
Meaningful conversations, however, are when what you’re talking about has a strong emotional component to it. Meaningful conversations are usually more personal.
But it doesn’t mean that deep conversations aren’t important. You can enjoy talking to people about subjects you’re interested in, at an intellectual level. And that can be very interesting.
If you’d like to have more deep conversations, you can start by using the following steps…
1. Choose Your Deep Conversation Partners Well
Before you can have a long, detailed, and deep conversation, you need to make sure you’ll have it with the right person or group.
Careful! Socially skilled people tend to be friendly and polite enough to make an extra effort to listen and focus on what you’re saying, even if they’re not interested in a detailed conversation about that subject.
You can tell by their responses. When you start getting into details about a topic, notice what they say. Are they sharing what they know about it as well? Do they know what you’re talking about? Are they asking not so obvious questions? If the answer is yes, then great! Carry on and enjoy that convo.
If the answer is no, however, then maybe get into that discussion, share a couple of ideas, and then move on. This is just out of respect and politeness. You don’t want to impose on them a detailed conversation about a subject they don’t understand as much as you do.
But the great thing about socializing is that once you start to meet those great socially active people, they’ll remember your interests and will introduce you to others who will love to have those deep conversations with you.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Into The Weeds
If you enjoy discussing subjects in detail, and you know the other person or group is interested in that particular subject, then you should just dive in. You can go into detail about those subjects from time to time, without worrying about appearing too boring or dull.
Granted, if you’re with your friends in a nightclub, then maybe that’s not the time to have a deep conversation. But otherwise, dare to approach subjects that require analysis, intelligence, background knowledge, perception, and curiosity.
Many people fear getting into the weeds because they want to maintain an image of being laid back and cool. Don’t be like them. If you want to have a deep conversation, then just do it.
3. Don’t Stay in a Deep Conversation Too Long
You may want to stay in a deep conversation indefinitely, which I understand. The reality of socializing doesn’t always allow that, though.
In a group conversation, you can’t have a long, intellectual interaction with one or two in the group while ignoring the others. Deep conversations tend to be long and require your focus. This is why it’s so easy to alienate those who aren’t part of it. Even with good intentions, you could be alienating others who are surrounding you.
The key is to get into those deep conversations until you reach an interesting insight or two. Maybe you’ll learn something from the other person about your favorite subject – or maybe they’ll learn something from you.
If that happens twice, then that’s probably enough, you can rejoin the group you’re in. You can also say something like “Very interesting! We should continue that discussion sometime.” Knowing when to move on is part of the art of conversation.
If you’re in a one-on-one interaction, then you can have a much longer deep conversation. This is why you want to adapt how long you’ll hold that conversation depending on the circumstances you’re in: How many friends you’re with, and how many are interested in that topic.
4. Share Your Opinions and Knowledge
Deep conversations are an opportunity for you to show your intellectual side to friends and potential friends. It’s an opportunity to show how smart and knowledgeable you are. If the interactions is free from any arrogance or pretentiousness, then it can be very satisfying.
If you have well thought out opinions, very interesting knowledge or wisdom about the subject, then it’s time to share it. Make sure to always keep in mind why you’re talking, though. The purpose of a conversation is to connect. Don’t forget that central goal. You want to connect at an intellectual or deep level with the other person or group.
5. Get Engaged, But Don’t Lecture
People usually get carried out and start to lecture others instead of having a genuine back and forth. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you know so much about the topic you’re talking about.
You can express yourself as much as you want, provided that you’re taking the other person’s motivations into account. Maybe they want to show how smart or knowledgeable they are, too.
Why not let them shine a little? Even if you’re more knowledgeable, don’t walk all over them as if they know nothing. You have to help them save face at all times if you want to create or maintain a healthy friendship with them.
Be gentle in how you disagree, or how you complement others’ knowledge. Don’t try and one-up them. Don’t say things like: “Well, no, actually it’s even more interesting than you think (…) .”
Say things like: “That’s true. Here is what I read/heard, and I think it makes it even more interesting (…).” In the first case, you would be making them to be wrong, in the second one, you’re just continuing the conversation.
How You Can Have Meaningful Conversations
Meaningful conversations have personal and emotional components. They are usually about something that impacts your life or the lives of people you’re talking to. They tend to be more intimate, and therefore more sensitive and deal with some of your and their vulnerabilities.
You may already know how meaningful conversations are those we remember most. Those are the types of talks after which you go home and think “Woah! That was great! I’m glad I had that conversation.” You just feel the social connection to your friends – which is exactly the opposite of the feeling of loneliness.
Let’s review some great ways to have more meaningful conversations…
1. Start Meaningful Conversations Right
You can start a meaningful conversation by taking a neutral conversation to a new direction. You can do that by talking about the purpose of behind an action (example: “What made you change jobs?”) or by talking about feelings (example: “Geez, I can’t imagine how that feels…”).
When you talk about feelings or the purpose behind actions, you invite the other person to share something more personal. They either accept that invitation or not. It’s up to them to decide if they’re willing to go there.
This works well because you’re not forcing them to share something personal, you’re just gracefully suggesting it.
If they’re willing to have that meaningful conversation, they’ll start to share personal preferences, motivations, and feelings. If they’re not ready, they’ll just go back to the neutral and somewhat detached conversation.
2. Tread Carefully
Because your meaningful conversation will have an emotional and sometimes deeply personal component, they can be risky. One risk is about hurting the other person or being hurt yourself.
Another risk is judging or being judged. And a third risk would be to go too far and ask for information that is too personal and intimate compared to what either of you is prepared to share.
Here is an example: let’s say you’re talking to a woman who just lost a baby during pregnancy. If you’re not intimate with what that means, then be careful what you say. It can be hurtful for someone to open up to you, only to find that you don’t get it at all.
They can also be hurt just by the fact that you assumed that you know what it’s like – instead of listening and empathizing with them.
The good news is that not all meaningful conversations are that heavy. They can also be about happiness, joy, and all kinds of positive emotions.
But always remember that when you are talking about sensitive and personal topics, you better be careful not to hurt, judge, or make quick assumptions.
3. Make the Conversation Personal
Meaningful conversations are personal. If you’re talking to someone about a certain topic, try and tie it back to how it impacts your life and their life.
What does it mean for your life going further? What does it mean about your past? For example, when discussing romantic relationships with a friend, you could definitely tie it back to your own lives.
Maybe you realize something about love, now, that you didn’t before. You can talk about what it means about your past. Did that lack of experience or knowledge impact your relationships in any way in the past?
How will you use those new insights in the future? Did the person you’re talking to have a similar experience? And what is their personal philosophy when it comes to relationships?
All those questions tie back the conversation and make it much more meaningful because it is about your life and the life of the friend or group of friends you’re talking to.
4. Avoid the Self-Centered Ones
If you’d like to have more meaningful conversations, you’re better off avoiding anyone who’s self-centered or narcissistic. These people are simply not interested in empathizing with how you feel.
Whatever you share that is meaningful to you is only white noise in their ears. They’re waiting for you to stop so they can go right to talking about themselves.
The tricky part is that self-centered people do want to have meaningful conversations in which they talk on and on about themselves and how they feel. They want you to listen. They want you to empathize. But to listen to you? No, they have no time for that. And it’s not about them so, who cares?
So if you’re a good listener, you might fall in the trap of thinking that if you listen to them, they’ll do the same for you. It’s not the case.
Instead, stick with people who are able to listen to you for more than a few seconds. Those who will ask you follow up questions about you, instead of quickly making the conversation about them.
5. Use Small Talk to Ignite Meaningful Conversations
You can never know for sure where low-key small talk can lead. More often than not, it leads to you or the other person mentioning something that ignites a very meaningful conversation.
A simple question like “Where did you go to college again?” can reveal things like personal goals, family history, relationships, and other personal subjects. The reason this happens is that in our lives, everything is related. The different areas of life affect each other.
So as you talk, avoid taking every subject as separate and distinct from the others. Everything is related somehow.
You just have to listen for motivations, emotions, opinions, principles, and values. You can then ask a question or reformulate back what you understood. By brushing off those personal and emotional subjects, without being too direct, you can get from small talk to very meaningful conversations.
Deep and meaningful conversations are great for connecting with new and old friends. They make existing friendships stronger. You feel that you understand and empathize with each other beyond the superficial.
With new friends, those deep and meaningful conversations are usually shorter. But still, they build the first layers of trust and help accelerate the friendship process.