They all have something in common:
1. They require two or more people to play the game.
2. There’s a ball, a birdie – or words – that are thrown back and forth across a net that separates the game into two sides.
3. When the ball is dropped the other side serves it back again.
Good conversation is like that. One of the participants serves the first words, usually with a question about the other’s life, interests or ideas. The other one replies and answers the questions.
Their hearts are like the net, out there, between them in a vulnerable position where they may possibly be hit, maybe even roughed up a time or two.
When the first serve has died, the other person picks up the ball and serves it back. He asks about the interests of the other, what he or she is thinking, what they may even be feeling.
And so, the words go back and forth, back and forth, almost like a ping pong of words.
Think about these unspoken rules of conversation the next time you’re visiting with someone:
1. Don’t drop the ball on purpose.
2. Don’t allow the other person to do all the serving.
3. Don’t keep your heart safely hidden behind a brick wall, trying to play with an invisible net.
4. Come together in the end, with genuine gladness at having gotten to know the other a little better, as in an imaginary handshake.
Coffee & Roses,