If I had to choose one thing that I couldn’t do without in my life, it would be real conversations. Depriving myself of that would reduce my quality of life immeasurably.

Etymologically, conversation means we turn with each other. It is where we follow the thread the other sets up and then see where it leads. It requires a curiosity about another’s world and a desire to share. It is so much more than talking or even listening.

There is an inevitability about it leading to more than facts or information – it is always going to be philosophical. By that I mean we will pick up on attitudes to and beliefs about life, work, the world, because we are sharing who we are, not just what we know or do or have.

It has nothing to do with intellect – it is about following our native intelligence, and being prepared to share our hearts with another. It is opening ourselves up and encouraging another to do the same.

These conversations are a part of friendships and close relationships for me. I am lucky to have quite a few people who are always up for a real conversation, and indulge my enjoyment of it.

And then there are those moments when we can also share a real conversation with a stranger, and bring something different into our world. We discover shared passions or interests, and we also explore our differences and gain a greater understanding of different attitudes, cultures and backgrounds, that are not part of our world. It is such a lovely way to learn and grow!

I have recently had two wonderful conversations in this vein with two very different people: one with a very bright successful businessman, and one with a delightful wine grower. I may not ever meet them again, but they have enriched my world by sharing something of themselves with me.

Next time you have the opportunity, prompt a real conversation: offer your stories, talk about what you love, what matters to you, and ask them for their stories in return. People are pretty amazing when you engage them in real conversations.

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