This June we were in France. It was lovely. Many of the days were spent visiting Andrew’s aunt and uncle in south-central France.
Today, 2/3rds through August, I came across an article and thought, “Huh, maybe that’s why talking to Andrew’s aunt and uncle was so pleasant and full of smiles and laughs?”
Or maybe it was the fact that no one in our group of 8 was fluent in the other’s language except my father-in-law and Andrew’s uncle (my FIL’s younger brother) who speak Farsi. So, often times conversations would go from English – Farsi – French – Farsi – English. Or, conversely, French – Farsi – English – Farsi – French. As you can guess, sometimes a quick question of, “What kind of jam is this?” became quick the relay race. It was fun and provided a lot of laughs. Like a game of telephone in elementary school, we giggled with excitement and anticipated what we thought the answer might be.
Language barrier aside, I found Andrew’s aunt and uncle so easy to be around. There was a level of comfort and warmth I was not expecting from distant relatives I had never met. Our conversations, if you can call frantic hand gestures and looking things up on google translate conversations, were pleasant. Even if it was “small talk”.
So, coming across this article made me think back to those conversations and time spent together. The article, which isn’t long and you should read, points out that in America when meeting someone new or making “small talk” we tend to always ask, “What do you do?” An innocent enough question for the most part, but there is more to it. In this post I touched on how I hate that question and consciously try to steer away from it. Maybe I’m more French than I thought? Oui oui!
The next time you are having small talk or meeting a bunch of new people, I challenge you to not ask, “What do you do?” Build relationships over GOT, bespoke flannel, your midwestern accent, your love of sparkling water, heck, even the weather! I’d rather relate to people about the gosh darn weather than get asked over and over, “What do you do?” I live. I relate. I love. I try laugh and smile often.
Read the article here!