Communication Courtship: 6 Tips to Set the Scene

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s day with a romantic partner or celebrating Singles Awareness Day with your friends, create the time, space and mood to reconnect and make conversation a priority.

The New York Times article “The End of Courtship?” insinuates that casual dating is now shouldering out traditional courtship dances.  Tapping out texts and emails between daily obligations can be efficient, but is not very romantic.  While these are small ways to stay in touch, they certainly cannot replace dedicated, face-to-face conversations.   Take the plunge and have a meaningful conversation rather than reliving the same shallow one over and over again.  Here are some tips for how to set the scene for your toe-tingly, heart-achingly deep conversation.

“Conversation Pieces” Aren’t Just For Your Grandma: Talking about a shared experience or mutual observation can be a great way to begin deeper conversations about our values and beliefs.  This doesn’t mean you have to quickly jet-set across the world to find a porcelain vase for your mantel, though.  Choosing a thoughtful gift, or attending a performance or exhibit together can give you enough in common to strike up a meaningful conversation.

Be Environmentally Mindful: Rock concerts and construction sites probably won’t be the best location for your conversation.  While romantic, ice rinks also tend to be pretty chilly if you’re sitting down for an extended period of time, so you might avoid settling down there as well.  Think ahead and find a place that is quiet, comfortable and ideally private enough to stage your conversation.

The Importance of Being Earnest:  It’s not just a play by Oscar Wilde, but also a good way to deepen your conversations.  Cut back on the snarky comments or the desire to bring up that one thing about your partner that’s been bothering you the last few days.  There will always be time for that later.  So just for today, try to listen respectfully and speak earnestly.  Don’t hold back on appreciation, and let them know all of the qualities about them you admire.  Let them know what they mean to you and how they light up your life.

For Pete’s Sake, Turn Off Your Phone: Plan ahead and go tech-free for the night.  That means making reservations and getting directions ahead of time and purchasing any gifts like flowers and chocolate in advance.  There’s nothing worse when you pull out your phone to check one thing, then see an email that “needs” to be followed up with immediately leaving your partner feeling jilted.

Come With Questions and Share: This last one may seem the most obvious, but it can help to think about what kinds of conversations you want to have with your friend or partner.  What deeper questions and curiosities do you have about them?  Here are some good questions to start a conversation with someone you may have known for a long time.

  • What is the one thing that you’re the most proud of this year?
  • Is there anything that you’re interested in trying that you’ve been nervous or afraid to pursue? How would you like me to support you in achieving it?
  • Where would you like to see yourself/us in (one, five, ten) years?
  • What is one thing that you’ve discovered or learned about yourself recently?
  • What would you like to know about me?

Poetry: This is why poetry exists.  It explores and elevates human communication to an art, and gives us leave to speak and sing differently.  Try writing a poem, or find a poem to read to your partner that embodies a sentiment you’d like to share.  In fact, I’ll share the opening line of one of my favorite poems from Hafiz, the Sufi poet.

“Why / Just ask the donkey in me / To speak to the donkey in you / When I have so many other beautiful animals / And brilliant colored birds inside / That are all longing to say something wonderful / And exciting to your heart?”

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