I love a good conversation.
What makes for a good conversation?
For me, depth. Breadth is a nice-to-have.
Good conversations are transformational, not transactional. Though, the latter is necessary for living.
This post is about how you can know if the conditions are right to have a good conversation.
Let's talk about water balloons.
As I write this, the weather is getting warmer, and I've seen a lot of ads for water balloons on our kids' YouTube binges lately, so I felt the analogy was sitting there, asking for me to use it.
If you've ever filled a water balloon before, then you know the tension I'm about to describe.
When you want to play it safe, you will not stretch the water balloon beyond a certain capacity.
You will fill it to about the size of a tennis ball, and it will be the perfect size for throwing. Maximum efficiency.
Occasionally, you may decide, to get risky.
You will fill it, keep filling it, until you're really reaching the bleeding edge of its capacity.
In fact, you may even be willing to sacrifice one water balloon to know where its capacity really ends, so that you can fill the next one to capacity.
Then you're left with this watermelon-sized balloon, which prides itself on effectiveness not efficiency.
So what are the differences between a tennis-ball-sized water balloon, and a watermelon-sized water balloon?
Well, one is obvious. The amount of water it's carrying. Put another way, the amount of additional water it can afford to carry.
Have you ever tried throwing a tennis-ball-sized water balloon? Sometimes it doesn't burst! They're strangely resilient.
Alright, analogy over.
What are the conditions for having a good conversation?
Imagine the words spoken in a good conversation acting like water filling a balloon.
If you and your partner are both watermelon-sized before the conversation even starts, you won't be able to hold much more.
I mean, you can try. As far as I know, even though we say so sometimes, our brains don't literally explode.
It wouldn't make for a very genuine conversation though. Are you really in a position to take on more water if your balloon is already the size of a watermelon?
The conditions for good conversations exist if you and your partner are a couple of empty balloons in need of filling.
Together, you create the water.
Together, you will reach capacity.