Whenever someone asks me; ‘what do you do?’, I always feel somewhat inferior, as though what I do isn’t ‘good enough.’ Do I say I ‘write a blog?’ (too vague). Do I say I’m an ‘Author?’ (makes me sound self-entitled). Do I say I ‘write poetry?’ (again, a bit vague). What sounds more ‘glamorous?’ I end up spending more time thinking about how best to answer this meaningless question than I do thinking about whether or not I actually like the person whom I am talking to which, obviously, isn’t the way things should be. A question that I would much rather someone ask me, and one which I myself now ask when starting conversations with new people, is the following;
‘What are you into?’
Framing the ‘what do you do?’ question slightly differently can, not only massively open up a conversation, but it can also encourage the person at the receiving end of the question to open up more about their life, too.
Try it out the next time you go to speak to someone new. Just ask them what they’re into and watch their eyes light up as they decide which of the many things that sets their soul on fire to tell you about first. Photography? Poetry? Blogging? Writing? Books? Fashion? Philosophy? Spirituality? Astrology? The list for me could go on and on.
Why should you be asking people about what they’re ‘into’, and not what they ‘do?’ Well, for someone who works as a means of ‘getting by’, asking them ‘what do you do?’ can have the opposite effect of lighting them up inside. Take someone who works in a supermarket stacking shelves, for example. Whilst I am in no way discrediting this job- its an incredibly important job that needs to be done and one which I’m sure many people enjoy- for lots of people their job role will not be something they ‘enjoy’, but merely something that they must do in order to afford to live. Asking what they do then would tell you absolutely nothing about them as a person, and would be more likely to put an end to a conversation rather than open it up. In contrast, asking them what they’re into can lead to so many more conversations off the back of the answer(s) they give…
‘So you’re into photography? Wow, that’s amazing! What style of photography do you like best?’
‘You love books? Cool, I love books too! Top five books of all time?’
You see, so much more can come from asking what a person is into as opposed to asking them what they do.
So, next time you’re stuck for a conversation starter, just remember these four, simple words;
‘What are you into?’