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April 3, 2024 4 mins

Sometimes conversations are easier without the eye contact

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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 to talk side by side. Sometimes it is
easier and more comfortable to connect when you are not

(00:26):
gazing deeply into your conversation partner's eyes. Things feel less fraught,
and when you are not looking for fraud. That is
a good thing. I have noticed over the years that
I really like running or walking with friends. Partly that's
because it feels like smart multitasking. We get some exercise

(00:50):
while catching up, but also because I am fairly introverted.
To me, conversation is easier when it is not the
only thing I am doing. It takes the pressure down
several levels. This is likewise a good thing when the
pressure might naturally be high. I have a lot of

(01:12):
conversations with my kids about school and activities and friends,
but these are often easier when we are working on
legos or driving somewhere. There's no pressure of looking at
each other continuously. It sometimes feels safer to be vulnerable
when your facial expression isn't on view. Side by side

(01:36):
contexts also let you have some stretches of companionable silence.
In the spaces between talking, you can reflect and process.
There is no pressure to say the right thing right then,
because you are doing something else at the same time,
and that can become your primary activity for a bit.

(01:59):
You can acknowledge someone shared verbally or just with a
reflective hmm, and then allows some silence while you both
take in what they've said. Even with less weighty topics,
it's nice when companionable silence as possible, so you can
just enjoy being together without feeling the obligation to keep

(02:19):
the conversation going continuously. So if you want more or
better relationship time with your kids, partner, or friends, consider
how you might get conversation time when you're side by
side with your kids. This may mean reframing driving them
places as an opportunity for connection. Yes, it can be

(02:44):
a time suck, but for older kids in particular, it
might be worth accepting some of this, or even offering
some of this as the price for getting side by side.
Connection with your partner or friends can cosier. Looking for
opportunities beyond sharing a meal, You and your partner could

(03:05):
go walk the dog. You could go to costco. You
could commute downtown. Together, you and a friend could set
up a regular walking route. This can even work with
work colleagues. I know folks who have bonded by sharing
a taxi ride to the airport. And if you've got
a challenging conversation with a colleague or direct report coming up,

(03:30):
doing this as a walking meeting means that the temperature
might get lowered a little. You can share your thoughts
and they can share their feedback with a little less
of the pressure that comes from staring at each other.
I mean, looking into people's eyes can be amazing, but

(03:50):
sometimes options open up when you don't need to do
that for an hour straight. 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

(04:16):
got questions, ideas, or feedback, you can reach me at
Laura at Laura vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast is a
production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts from iHeartMedia, please visit
the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to

(04:38):
your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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