Saturday, June 16, 2018
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? + HOW TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION
I get asked this question all the time! Family I haven't seen in a while and friends I have reconnected with are usually the culprits of this question. They all seem to want to know whats been going on in my life- which is great and all but the question, "WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?" sends me into a mental panic. When I am faced with the challenge of answering this simple not so simple question I spend a lengthy few seconds drafting what the hell I am about to say. "I've been up to too much! LET ME EXPLAIN." In my case explaining everything is always a mess.
WHERE DOES ONE START? With a question with so many possible answers to chose from which response do you chose to tell? You could spill out your life story but that might put grandma* to sleep or simply say there's too much to tell and leave others wondering BUT if you are enthusiastic about what you've been doing recently you'll want to share all you can with others. However, sometimes others don't have the time or patience to listen to everything unless they really adore you! The trick to answering this question in a manner that keeps the curious engaged is what I am going to share with you today.
*that, however, might not be an awful thing, in that case, go for it.
START WITH BULLET POINTS// Fill your lungs with air before you answer the question straight off the bat. Start by answering this question in the simplest of forms without getting into details about every single item on your to share list.
Here is my example of what this sentence should sound like:
>> I've been going to school, finding time to work on my blog, working, practicing how to cook, running relays, and enjoying the other million of little hobbies I have.
SEE! What you do is start with what you find the least entertaining to talk about and end your sentence with the things you want to talk about. This is setting up the questioner to ask questions about the things you most recently said and also hooking them by not telling all the details. (It's always beneficial to make yourself a mystery)
PLUS- if you don't want to explain to AUNT SUE about everything you're doing you could just leave it at that and ask her about what she's making for dinner but it's amusing talking about yourself so I'll encourage sharing!
WAIT UNTIL THE QUESTIONER ASKS QUESTIONS ABOUT THOSE BULLET POINTS// Que the questioner to ask questions by not talking until they do. Chances are they'll ask you to go into detail about one of the things you mentioned. Silence makes others uncomfortable and there forward triggers the other to respond. By giving out bullet points you are allowing the listener to chose what they want to hear about. They will choose something that they have a curiosity about which shall kee them and you engaged. AND TADA YOU AREN'T BABBLING.
Here are my examples of questions I MIGHT get asked:
>> What kinds of things are you learning to cook?
>> Where are you working at?
>> OOO! What other hobbies are you talking about?
EXPLAIN THE BULLET POINTS THE QUESTIONER ASKED ABOUT IN AS MUCH DETAIL AS YOU DESIRE TO SHARE// AND JUST LIKE THAT YOU HAVE MADE A BIG DIRECTIONLESS QUESTION A SPECIFIC EASY TO ANSWER QUESTION. Now, it's your turn to go into details explaining the things you have been up to recently. The big scary question is now a simple easy to answer one all thanks to bullet points and the questioner's curiosity in your life!
Go into as much detail as you feel is right when answering their questions. Tell that person how excited you have been about the things you have been spending your time doing. (or how much you need to change your habits! Hopefully, that's not the case!)
Here is what my response might be:
>> OH! Let me tell you about cooking! I have been more aware of the things I have been eating ever since I starting cooking. I try to eat foods that are clean now which means I try to avoid processed foods that come in packaging with lots of ingredients. It's really made a difference in how I feel. So, I have been cooking lots of greens and cooking things with garbanzo beans in them. A favorite food of mine to make is quinoa with veggies. I also make lots of stir-fries with coconut oil in them.
WAIT FOR APPROVAL OR MORE QUESTIONS// Either the questioner will have a question about the thing you just explained having done or comment in response to make more conversation. Or they might want you to tell them about the next thing they are curious about! Either way, you have successfully answered the question without a sweat. Complicated made simple and your life is easier now! The questioner is satisfied and everyone can move on to talking about themselves or bothering your sibling about their life journeys.
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