Follow these 5 tips and you can bring more curiosity into your life and relationships.
Ask open ended questions.
Open ended questions allow for more than a “yes” or “no” response. They encourage the other person to tell you more, while setting a collaborative tone and showing interest. Start with words like: what, why, how, or “tell me about….”
Rather than assuming, try to clarify.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions and think you know exactly what the other person means, even if it’s not what they directly said. Ask clarifying questions, and you’ll show that you are open to feedback and that you care about truly understanding. Summarize what you’ve heard, and ask if you got it right. You can also ask open-ended questions like “What do you mean by that?” or “Why do you think that is?”
Be mindful of your own feelings.
Pay attention to what emotions are coming up for you, and make your own self-care a priority. Make sure to validate your feelings by imagining where they might be coming from, and how those feelings make sense. This will help you be less reactive, so you can focus on doing what is needed in the moment.
Imagine you are in the other person’s shoes.
What might they be thinking? What might they be feeling? See if you can hold an image of their mind in your mind as you expand your awareness of another’s reality. You don’t have to know for sure what is in their mind — just imagine various possibilities.
Ask yourself, “What might I be missing?”
It’s easy to get stuck in old habits and patterns of thinking. This question forces you to think outside the box and look at other possibilities. Try playing devil’s advocate as you examine the counterarguments to what you have been thinking. See if you can find alternative ways of looking at the same situation.