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November 28, 2023 5 mins

Bond better with positive small talk

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning,
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is that complaining is boring. Instead of focusing your
conversations on hassles, be alert to the delights all around

(00:26):
you and share stories about that instead. I don't know
what it is about human nature, but a lot of
get togethers feature a lot of complaining. I guess everyone
has had some travel woe, which then provides an excuse
for other people to share theirs. Everyone's had some problem

(00:49):
with their home renovations, or with buying a used car,
or filing their taxes or something, And yes, the world
is far from perfect. I remember when I was with
a group of folks and everyone was going on and
on about how busy they were, and I kept thinking, Hmm,
is this really constructive for building relationships? Like, Hey, your

(01:13):
life sounds terrible, We should be friends. I think it's
generally better in life to focus on either the positive
or on constructive things we are doing about whatever we
are dealing with. Like, yes, it has not been fun
that my WiFi has been out for a week, but
I've been spending some fun time in Starbucks. In the

(01:33):
library with my teenager. Oh, we are waiting for it
to get fixed. Or yes, our flight was delayed to Arubab. Wow,
the beaches there are amazing. Have you ever had a
rum punch on the beach? If others are complaining, we
can try to redirect that too, like wow, getting home
from Thanksgiving sounds like it was rough, But was it
good to catch up with your grandmother. Life is what

(01:57):
we make of it. And when we hype on the
neck and retell those stories, those are the ones that
become more stark. They become our memories of an experience.
Why do that to ourselves? The world can be frustrating,
but there are a lot of delights. I am writing

(02:18):
this at a time of year when there are still
some gorgeously colorful leaves outside my window. I can look
at all the brown leaves on the ground, or I
can choose to look at the few that are still
cheerful and read. Lots of people lately have enjoyed the
poet Ross Guay's book of short essays, The Book of Delights.

(02:40):
He wrote about a delight he encountered every day for
a year, A beautiful flower growing from the crack between
the curb and the street, strange sayings that have an
interesting history, a lavender Infinity scarf. He chronicled his delight
in unusual things in ordinary wares, and he described some

(03:01):
bittersweet delights too. Rosque recounts noticing more delights as a
result of writing about delights. He comments that he developed
delight radar for his delight muscle as a result of
acknowledging a delight every day, and he found his delight
grew when he shared it. So here's an idea. When

(03:24):
you find yourself starting to complain as a way to
build bonds, why not try to build a bond over
a delight. Instead, start tracking delights that might be worth sharing.
Most people would be as interested to know about a
new coffee shop that makes really good muffins as they

(03:45):
would be about the fact that the utility company is
still doing construction on your street after they said they'd
be done two days ago. They'd like to know that
you are having a really positive experience with your kid's
third grade teacher as much as they would like to
know that the bus keeps coming three minutes past the
time the schedule says. Usually, when we are chatting with

(04:08):
people we are trying to relax and build connections. While
complaining can sometimes do this because everyone has experienced frustrations, Ultimately,
complaining is kind of boring. We are much more engaged
and joyful when we focus on delight instead. What has

(04:29):
delighted you lately? You can tell me at Laura at
Laura vandercam dot com. In the meantime, this is Laura.
Thanks for listening, and here's to making the most of
our time. Thanks for listening to Before Breakfast. If you've

(04:53):
got questions, ideas, or feedback, you can reach me at
Laura at Laura VANDERCAMDT. Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia.
For more podcasts from iHeartMedia, please visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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