Face to Face

When was the last time you sat down with some one face-to-face, one-on-one, with no other good purpose than simply to get to know them (better)? It’s amazing what you learn. By doing so, I have learned things I may have never known.

Learning these new things has enhanced my life. I have come to appreciate different perspectives. In a world of Bing and Google, I have come to new knowledge without looking at a computer screen. I have learned that wisdom, connections, and creativity come from the depths of flesh and blood.

In one day I sat with three completely different people:

  1. A person going through a major difficulty in life told me that he has learned that what is even more difficult is to see others who have no faith and no church. What perspective was brought from an unfortunate situation.
  2. A pastor from a different denomination taught me the finer points of church polity and offered unexpected encouragement that was really needed. A helpful introduction to someone else is also going to come about as the result of our face-to-face meeting.
  3. A person who deals with central city children each and every day taught me once again about homes and situations that I can only imagine…and hope to change.

In a fast-paced, technologically-driven world, we far too often pass up or fly right by face-to-face, one-on-one meetings. It’s a shame. There is much to be missed. There is much to be learned. There is much wisdom to be gained. There is much creativity to be sparked. There are many connections to be made.

I challenge you to sit down today, face-to-face, one-on-one, with another person…even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

  • Ask probing and specific questions.
  • Avoid “yes or no” questions.
  • Explore something about the person you had never known before.
  • Keep your mouth closed for a while and simply listen.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s seat.
  • Try to discover one new thing about the person herself or himself.
  • Try to discover one new thing you can learn from the person.
  • Following the meeting, discern the creative spark that was lit as a result of the face-to-face.

What have you learned from having a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Face to Face

  1. yesterday i faced-to-faced with an 8 yr old whose father took his own life the day before. i learned that she wanted to talk about her dog. alot. we looked at pictures that she had created on her computer using photo booth. i learned that her teacher at school is very nice. i learned that she has a boy dog with a girl dog name. she learned that i will come to her when she needs me. she learned that i will listen to her if she wants to talk about her dad or her dog.

    pray for her today. tomorrow is the funeral.

    in lighter news… i love this post, and this is something i love to do. agreed, the key is to listen and ask questions. sometimes, i'm deliberate about doing this with people who are harder for me to like… because once i know something about them that is beyond the surface, it's much easier to care for them. i encourage my actors to do the same thing. look beyond themselves, ask questions and find things to make you care about others. on purpose.

    • Wow. What a moving story. My heart aches.

      I love your idea of intentionally speaking face-to-face with those that are harder to like. It's amazing how walls come down when we do that.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. YES, Tom! So important, and a vital part of life we so often miss. If we creative, academic folks actually treated others with the respect we heap upon books … what valuable information we might learn.

    Your words whisked me back to the Bible, imagining the grumbling pharisees, outside of houses they would never have entered owned by people with whom they would never have conversed, as our Lord sat at table with sinners, prostitutes … anyone … connecting. And the great miracle, of course: THE MET HIM!

    I also truly appreciate your practical points for worthwhile conversations. I'll add one to the mix (and, of course, a story): My dad and I were in Rome, and I was having a conversation with our tour guide, a young local woman. We were on a long bus drive, and she and I conversed for nearly an hour. Fun. After it was all over, Dad turned to me with a surprised smile: "Good grief, Peter, you could be a journalist! Those questions you asked—how did you act like you actually cared about the answers?" "Easy. I actually cared!"

    So I'd add that, in conversation, let your curiosity and concern lead you to questions you actually care about. And actually care about the answers that are being shared! Wipe away any false presence or conversational fakery. Go in open to the other and you will, indeed, meet the other, face to face and heart to heart!

    Again, thanks Tom!

    • Thanks, Peter, for the wonderfully *creative* response! I totally agree with your added point about curiosity, concern, and really caring. It leads to wonderful discoveries and moments!