We’re all familiar with small talk, the casual and informal chit-chat we engage in during social interactions, but what is ‘big talk’ and how can it encourage more meaningful connections?
What is big talk?
'Big talk' refers to engaging in meaningful conversations that delve into intimate or significant topics. Predicted to be a top trend for 2024 by social media company Pinterest, the idea is to go beyond simply hearing the words when another person speaks, but instead seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them to encourage more purposeful exchanges that resonate long after the conversation ends.
Small talk vs big talk
The main difference between big talk and small talk is the depth of the conversation. Small talk may consist of chatting politely about the weather or what we’re getting up to at the weekend, whereas big talk aims to delve into meaningful subjects, requiring self-reflection and offering a deeper understanding of a person. That’s not to say small talk isn’t valuable, brief conversations can help us feel more connected regardless of how small the interaction may seem.
How to practise big talk
Discussing deeper, more meaningful topics might seem intimidating at first, but pushing through the initial barrier is key to building stronger connections over time. Here, we share simple ways to incorporate big talk into conversations.
Ask open-ended questions
Encourage conversations that go beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, instead try to dig deeper and ask thought-provoking questions that prompt personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Gradually, you'll gather small pieces of information that contribute to a fuller understanding of someone as a whole. Questions like "What do you think about...?" or "How do you feel about...?" can lead to deeper discussions.
Try not to pry
Engaging in naturally deeper conversations involves moving beyond superficial topics, but it's important to remain mindful of respecting boundaries. While it's beneficial to ask probing follow-up questions that prompt deeper responses, it's crucial to be considerate of the other person's comfort levels. Opening up can take time, so patience is key to encouraging meaningful conversations.
Share personal experiences
Open up about your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This can help create a deeper connection and encourage the other person to do the same.
Avoid distractions and give the conversation your full attention. Being present in the moment can help you connect more deeply with the other person.
Take it slow
Try to lead the way by starting with lighter topics, especially in unfamiliar situations. For instance, starting a conversation about a shared interest can naturally transition into deeper discussions about emotions, opinions, and personal experiences. This establishes a comfortable environment that encourages others to share more openly.
How can big talk strengthen romantic relationships?
Enhanced intimacy: Sharing personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences sparks a stronger emotional connection and creates a sense of intimacy and closeness.
Improved communication skills: Practising big talk involves active listening, and effective expression of thoughts and emotions, which can enhance communication within a relationship.
Understanding and empathy: Delving into meaningful topics helps partners understand each other on a deeper level. It promotes empathy, as individuals learn about one another's perspectives, experiences, and emotions.
Strengthened connection: Regularly engaging in purposeful conversations can help to maintain and enhance the connection within a relationship. It also demonstrates a genuine interest in each other's thoughts and feelings, reinforcing the emotional bond and sense of partnership.
Building trust: Having conversations where partners can share their fears, insecurities, and past experiences can help to encourage trust and authenticity.
Here, we've gathered some questions you can ask to encourage deeper discussions:
- What is one thing you've always wanted to do but haven't yet? What's holding you back?
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
- What do you think is the most important lesson you've learned in life so far?
- When are you happiest?
- What's your love language?
- If you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
- What are five things you’re thankful for?
- What did your first heartbreak teach you?
- What's your favourite memory from childhood?
- Has your relationship taught you anything about yourself?
- What's your biggest achievement?
To connect with a counsellor to discuss your own relationships and ways to strengthen them, visit Counselling Directory