I recently read a book by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer called A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. The book's point is that curiosity is a valuable tool for learning about people and the world...and for making life richer and more interesting.
In the book, Grazer discusses how he had "curiosity conversations" when assembling the cast and crew for the many TV shows and films he produced over the years. Asking people to talk about things related to their background or experiences that piqued his natural curiosity usually resulted in more in-depth information and insights than typical interviewing techniques.
I firmly believe the same is true in the dating world. I'm a naturally curious person myself, and I usually ask a lot of questions when I first meet people--and later too--because I'm truly interested in learning more about their life, outlook, philosophies, etc. When I was unattached and crossing paths with new men all the time through online dating sites or at meetup groups or singles activities, it was fun learning about them. And the way I did that was by asking for more detail about whatever they were talking about.
Most of the time, that facilitated great two-way dialogues in which we each asked questions and learned some fascinating things about each other. I really love it when someone is curious enough about me to ask follow-up questions about whatever we're discussing.
But there's a fine line between being curious and being "nosy". Some people find it intrusive if you ask too many questions. They might feel their privacy is being violated. They might not feel comfortable talking about themselves. Or they might wonder why you want to know all those things about them. In general, the latter group of people aren't naturally curious themselves--which is why they can't relate to your desire to know more.
In the early stages of meeting and dating people, women are often the ones who ask most of the questions. It's their nature to use conversation to build intimacy. Not so much with men. They talk more to convey information. I've heard men complain that women asked so many questions at a first meeting that they felt like they were on a job interview or being "interrogated."
Sure, some women use the first meeting to gather the vital "stats" they want on a man about his profession, relationship status, living situation, financial security, etc. And I can understand why some men think women are prying and maybe even "gold-digging." But, more often than not, a woman is just trying to find out how compatible she might be with a certain man...how similar they might be in world view, lifestyle, interests, and values.
That was certainly my intent when I asked new guys more than just a couple questions. To me, it's a fun adventure to learn what makes people tick and what hearing their stories can teach me about my own life.
How about you? Are you a naturally curious person? And do you think that makes it easier to have easy-flowing, fun conversations when you're meeting new people in life and/or in the dating world? I'd love to hear your views! Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.