The quarantine has made me reevaluate a lot of my relationships and crave deeper connections. We've stepped away from situations that produce casual conversation, like school drop-off and grocery store greetings; for the past months, if I am in a conversation with someone it has required a significant amount of forethought and planning-so the conversation better be good. They have been good. I have intentionally placed more effort in making my conversation more fulfilling for me and my conversation partner. I have been expanding conversation topics and digging into pieces that are revealing and inspiring. I am coveting the conversations with my girlfriends now more than ever.
An ingredient that I have added to my conversations with girlfriends is premeditated questions. It started with my first ever quarantine Zoom call with some dear high school friends. I was worried we’d get into a conversation lull and left staring at each other thinking “This is a total waste of a good wine buzz.” That didn’t happen, nor would it ever with this crew, but the fleeting concern prompted me to jot down some questions like: "Would you rather make out with a well-known English teacher or gym teacher?" (names will not be included in this article to protect the privacy of all involved) and "Whatever happened to that girl who brought sushi for lunch before it was cool, she was super quiet and sat behind Katie in 11th grade English?" The questions pulled us back and we reconnected to the seedlings of our friendship that have continued to grow past bad dates, college parties, failed tests, cross-country moves, jobs, and babies. I've decided the question experiment is a keeper.
The questions below are beneficial in two ways-they build a connection between two mamas and cause a "dreamer connection" where both moms can safely discuss their dreams and goals with comfort. This is a friendship gift worth millions. Once a conversation like this is initiated, it doesn't stop, you can continue to come back to it and check it with each other. The dreamer connection will strengthen and grow over time. And when a dream or the goal has been fulfilled you have a person to celebrate with who has been with you since it was first uttered.
The second benefit: the birth of your idea and goal is now solidified. You have shared in a safe place so now the two mama-genius minds will water and shed light on it until it has grown. I don't have a specific stat, but I'm confident that after sharing your goals or ideas with a friend they are 97.3% more likely to flourish. Back to the water and light-giving piece; if your mama friend knows of a way to support your goal, she will put it at the top of her priority list. Your mama friend is going to get so excited about supporting you- just like that time she researched the seat belt law for 3 hours and text you her conclusive findings after it was briefly mentioned or when she arrived at the beach with two wagons full of beach supplies so that you could hang with your newborn and not have to worry about the mounds of beach stuff (she even bought baby sunblock on the way...it WAS organic) or those times she watched your little one and brought dinner when your hubby was away for work; she will show up for you and do work so that you can fulfill your goal. She will pour her time, effort, and connections into your dream cup because all mamas just want to hang with each other by the pool sipping on large glasses of LIFE JOY.
Here are some questions to start your mama friend quest toward professional fulfillment together:
What fills your cup? AKA what do you sneak away to do when the baby is napping and you want to return your best self?
How are you different at home vs. at work? What strengths do you see in both sides of you?
What have you learned about yourself during quarantine?
What do you like most about your job?
If you could create your own job what would it be?
What's an important goal you want to accomplish this year?
What's been the most meaningful project you've ever worked on? Why?
What magazine subscription would you sign up to receive? Why?
If you went back to school, what would you study? Why?
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
What's an invention you've thought of recently?
If your kids could watch you at work, what would you want them to see?
What are you most proud of professionally thus far?
Tell me about a memorable/fulfilling workday.
How can I help you accomplish your next professional goal?
Do you have more questions that have brought about a supportive partnership for you and a friend, please share!