Meaningful Conversation – Guide to Deeper Conversations

Meaningful conversations are important to create and maintain relationships with others.  There’s an art to it, but it’s not as difficult to do as you might think.

Relationships and friendships are maintained with meaningful conversations.  Meaningful conversations allow for connection, honesty, openness, strong relationships, and close bonds. Popular topics include growth, attraction, and happiness.

What does a meaningful conversation look like to you?  The last time you had one, what did you do or say that made it meaningful for you?

What Is Meaningful Conversation?

A meaningful conversation is a mutually beneficial verbal communication involving two or more parties, with full attention and participation by all.  There’s a purpose to the conversation, freedom of expression, and everyone gets something out of the conversation.  It starts with a small conversation, grows with open-ended questions, and active listening.  Those involved are open to sharing their thoughts without fear.

Couple on a park bench - Meaningful Conversation - Gone Minimal
Couple on a park bench

Benefits of Deep Meaningful Conversation

Meaningful conversations are key in creating and maintaining positive relationships that are long-lasting and beneficial for all.  There are many benefits to having deep, meaningful conversations including the following:

  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Appreciation
  • Shared experiences
  • Well-being
  • Chemistry
  • Attraction
  • Understanding

Now obviously you won’t receive all of these benefits with every person you have these meaningful conversations with.  It depends upon who you’re talking with and what type of relationship you’re working on.  But all of these are things we strive to attain throughout our lives, so let’s talk about what a meaningful conversation looks like.

Meaningful Conversation Topics

There are many topics of conversation that can be considered meaningful, and it depends a bit on who you’re having that conversation with.  There’s probably even some topics you wouldn’t want to bring up with some people.  Some conversation topics are always meaningful, including some of the following:

  • What do you want to do with your life?
  • What are the best and worst things that have ever happened to you?
  • Who do you want to be, and what’s holding you back?
  • What are your life goals?
  • What would you do if you knew you would die tomorrow?

As you can see, these are pretty broad topics and are designed to start a deep and meaningful conversation.  Another thing you probably noticed is these are not yes/no questions.  Using open-ended questions makes others think and use their own words in order to respond, which opens the floor for more conversation. 

When asking these types of questions, you can even ask the other party(ies) to expand upon their answers to stimulate more conversation.  Most of the time-however-you won’t have to with the topics above!  You do, however, need to consider a few things when trying to have a meaningful conversation.

Here is an insightful video on the art of meaningful conversation:

How to Have a Meaningful Conversation

Having a meaningful conversation may be more likely in a calm and relaxing environment with few distractions. Having a meaningful conversation involves more than just talking but moreso it is actively engaging and showing a genuine interest in the discussion. Regardless of who you’re trying to have a meaningful conversation with, there are a few criteria that must first be met. 

  1. Make sure you have their attention.
  2. Make time.
  3. Put down the smartphone or laptop.
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Avoid distractions.
  6. Don’t fidget.
  7. Speak clearly.
  8. Pay attention to nonverbal communication (yours and theirs)

These criteria will contribute to a more meaningful conversation, regardless of the age or relationship of who you’re speaking with.  Now let’s get into the specifics of relationships and conversations.

Meaningful Conversations With Friends

Keep in mind that they’re probably your friends for a reason.  What drew you to them in the first place?  How long have you been friends?  What do you have in common?  Also keep in mind that they will have differences in opinion from you.  This doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful conversation-in fact it’s quite the opposite. 

You can develop a greater understanding of someone else’s opinion that differs from yours with meaningful conversations.  It’s important to remember that staying calm and listening intently without interruption shows great respect and admiration for a difference in opinion, plus it leads you to a greater understanding of the world outside of your own “bubble”.

A meaningful conversation is a mutually beneficial verbal communication involving two or more parties, with full attention and participation by all. 

Meaningful Conversations at Work

Work relationships vary greatly, and so will the conversations.  There are some things you may feel comfortable sharing with your coworkers and other things you do not.  Meaningful conversations at work should be defined by boundaries that generally pertain to discussing only work.  You’ll more likely have conversations with multiple people at a time, so it’s important to give everyone time to express their ideas and feel comfortable doing so. 

Don’t interrupt if you don’t agree or have different ideas.  Consider having a meeting coordinator to keep conversations on track and to watch time limits.

Meaningful Conversations With Boyfriend

Interesting tidbit for you-males and females do not think or even communicate the same way!  When having a conversation with your boyfriend, keep this in mind.  They tend to have a one-track mind and will compartmentalize different trains of thought and ideas.  They don’t generally jump around topics, they need to be led there or choose topics when they’re ready.  So try to stay on track in your conversations!

Meaningful Conversations With Girlfriend

Females’ brains are wired very differently from males’ brains.  Your girlfriend may have fleeting thoughts, or one thought may lead to another, and it seems like they’re disorganized when they’re just spaghetti.  This simply means there are multiple trains of thought occurring at the same time and this sometimes comes across in conversation.  Be patient with speaking with your girlfriend, and verify her train of thought by repeating ideas that she has expressed to demonstrate you’re listening.

A group of friends laughing together - Meaningful Conversation - Gone Minimal
A group of friends laughing together

Meaningful Conversations With Family

Family means different generations and of course, different ideals.  In order to have a meaningful conversation with family, keep in mind that different generations mean different communication styles, different ideas of right and wrong, and different upbringing.  Be open and listen to others, and don’t be judgmental when someone’s answers differ from your own.  These differences and a deeper level of understanding can bring a family closer together.

Meaningful Conversations for Couples

First-review the topics over meaningful conversations with boyfriend and girlfriend.  We have different genders in some cases and different thought processes, and this can greatly affect our conversations as a couple.  Maintain open communication, verify understanding by repeating ideas, and of course put down that smartphone!  Nothing is more distracting than technology when you’re trying to maintain eye contact and get your point across.  

Meaningful Conversations With Preschoolers

Conversations with preschoolers can be very different and very meaningful-especially between parents and their children.  When speaking with preschoolers, make sure to use language they understand.  They may not maintain eye contact and they may fidget, but their little minds are working so hard to explore and learn and their active listening will vary from adults.  

You can develop a greater understanding of someone else’s opinion that differs from yours with meaningful conversations.

Meaningful Conversation Topics – From Real People

I asked 5 family/friends what top four topics they prefer to connect on when having meaningful conversations. Here is what I learned and what they shared:

Meaningful Conversation Topic# of People
Future plans5
Career goals2
Current state of the world5
Life and Death3

Other Resources:

Regardless of the people involved or the topics discussed, a meaningful conversation can bring people closer together.  We live in challenging times and with technology always in our faces, so it’s important to consider age and generational differences when talking with others.  When we take the time to listen and authentically listen, a meaningful conversation can absolutely change someone’s day (even our own!).

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