The Lost Art of Deep Conversation

Maggie at Valley View
Maggie at Valley View

To my surprise, my “Failed Blogger?” post seemed to strike a chord among those who joined the conversation and sharing of thoughts. The number of people who liked the post smoked (that’s gearhead for far exceeded) my precious one day visits. I know, I know, it is not supposed to be about the stats. But what nearly everyone said is that they are interested in sharing their really deep thoughts and have others listen and join the conversation. The other day I saw an accidental poem on Fog Up The Windows that lead to my own accidental poem that became, along with my “Failed Bolgger?” post, inspiration for the lost art of deep conversation.

But first we have to go back in time to arrive at our destination. About four years ago I was accepted as a member of my employer’s Ombuds program. For those of you who have never heard of an Ombudsman, in Sweden in the early 1800’s an ombudsman’s office was created “to act as an agent of justice, to see after the interests of justice in affairs between the government and its citizens”. As a Ombuds, I work as part of an informal process of problem solving and conflict resolution. It required additional training and the willingness to be available to stop work when someone needed somebody to listen and offer ways to resolve their problem. It was during the training that I observed something I had never seen before. While asking a question from the back row, every head in the room turned to look at me when I spoke. The primary trait they look for in an Ombuds is someone who has the ability to listen.

listen: to give attention for the purpose of hearing; to heed or pay attention to what is said.

People who have the gift of listen will give you their full attention when you talk to them. So I found myself in a room full of listeners. After this happened to others in the class as they asked questions, I shared my observation with the instructors who had never noticed this occurring before. A very surreal experience.

conversation: oral communication between persons; colloquy (this is where I suddenly find myself lost in words)

colloquy: a conversational exchange; dialogue.

For a truly deep conversation to occur it takes trust, someone willing to listen and an exchange of thoughts and ideas. Unfortunately, as a society, we have too many distractions in our lives that we are unable, or unwilling, to disconnect from our busy schedules, or electronic devices and subsequent social media, and just sit and have a conversation.

Last night some long time friends stopped by unannounced with a pie they had just bought at the farmer’s market. It did not take long for the conversation to go from casual to deep because of the long time friendship. It started with myself and the couple who came to visit. Then my daughter joined the conversation who is really good friends with their twin daughters. When my wife arrive home from work the conversation grew to five and in total we ended up visiting for about 2 and a half hours. There we several things we discussed that will lead to further conversations in the future.

All the things necessary occurred to allow for a deep conversation. Time, willingness to listen, a conversational exchange, and trust.

Your challenge this weekend is to put your cell phone on silent, disconnect from social media, turn off the television and go visit a friend or family member and have a deep conversation. Be willing to just listen if that is what is needed most.

And for those of you who may be wondering why Maggie is in this post, it is because she was listening while I took this picture overlooking the valley where we live.

5 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Deep Conversation

  1. Sitting down to talk is so important. Memories of a night in front of the TV have nothing on memories of a great conversation. I don’t know if we can go completely disconnected this weekend but we will make time to visit – unplugged.
    Love your picture of Maggie. 🙂


  2. Sarah

    Awesome entry, and a great motivator to get “back to basics” electronics/distractions..just pure one on one connections. Thanks, Patrick!


  3. 1,000 likes if I could Patrick! My husband and I often refer to our primary love languages… meaningful conversation happens to be my primary one. to say that I value building relationships through meaningul, deep conversations is a terrible understatement. thank you so much for writing about this. It is something we cannot afford to trade for the flighty… distracted… superficial relationships/conversation the world is offering through all our “edgy” gadgets.


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