‘More than the weather’ was the simple phrase that came to mind on a day when a startling number of folks spoke to me solely about the weather. If we desire authentic relationships now’s the time to abandon this type of chitchat.
I’d understand constant weather related conversations if I was chatting with a full-fledged meteorologist or storm chaser (if you are a weatherperson — that’s just awesome). For those of us who aren’t up at 4am to track and report blizzards or record unseasonably warm spring temperatures, let’s talk about more.
Below the surface-level weather comments you’ll find a rich well of conversation waiting to be dipped into.
The next time someone brings up any form of precipitation, redirect the dialogue.
The sense of loneliness, isolation, and alienation is so prevalent in our culture because authentic connection and communities are crumbling. Does this decay have anything to do with the way we talk to each other? When we exchange pleasantries about the weather we’re not showing up. We’re not being real, not sharing our true selves. We’re sealing off our hearts, passions, ideas from others and that means we’re not seen or heard. Talk of the forecast places mental distance between ourselves and others. It keeps them at arms length. Understandably, we think we’re protecting ourself from becoming wounded by others, but it’s a habit that leads to loneliness.
Vulnerability isn’t easy but it’s worth it. Sharing our heart with others slowly erases isolation.
I’m not saying we should gush emotion to everyone we meet. Some ‘nitty-grittys’ should only be shared with the people we trust, but having heart-felt conversations is still important. Share something of substance in the next discussion you have.
Perhaps you’re a bit more analytical or reserved and don’t relish ‘mushy’ conversations. Cool. Let’s be real though– you think about more than the weather. Have an intellectual conversation. Maybe you adore research. Tell people about the latest articles you’ve read; invite their response. Passionate about passing the bar exam? Share away. The chatter about ‘the dropping temperatures’ can wait.
Doctor Dean Ornish states that, “people who feel lonely and isolated are more likely to smoke, to overeat, to abuse drugs, to work too hard. Also, many studies have shown that people who feel lonely and isolated have three to five times the risk of premature death not only from heart disease but also from all causes when compared to those who have a sense of connection and community.”
Whoa! We need to ditch the observations on the latest ‘cold snap’. It likely won’t foster lasting fellowship with a single soul and there’s a chance that it’s chipping away our well-being. Go share something that matters to you with another wonderful human. Lean in to creating a life of abundant friendships, for your heart, for your health.
Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown defines connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Do you remember the last time you gleaned sustenance and strength from a conversation about the weather? Yeah…me neither.
Take a risk. Add something of value when you talk to others this week.
Lodge this phrase in your head. For me, it’s a simple reminder to ask deeper questions of the folks I see ever day, and remain vulnerable enough to honestly share my own ups and downs.
In the light of the fragility of life, there’s so much more than the weather to share.