Time for Conversation: Everyone has a Biography

My mom is…let’s just say on the older side. She wouldn’t want me to share the number and she defies her age anyway. Nevertheless my siblings and I check in often these days via the telephone and FaceTime, setting up a regular schedule to alleviate alone time.  

Our conversations touch upon the coronavirus, family news and the weather. We worry about our loved ones, healthcare workers and others who are sick and suffering. There might be some silence, too. 

What else is there to talk about to lesson fear?  Plenty. This is an unique time to ask more questions, learn more about my mom’s life or anyone’s life for that matter. Too often we narrow the conversation to the same subjects; yet there’s a whole available biography waiting to be heard and possibly even written.

 
Google defines “Biographical” conversations as the following:
“Biographical interviews (also called unstructured interviews) are essentially a conversation where the interviewers ask a few questions that are relevant to what they are looking for but without any specific aim in mind, other than getting an overall impression of you as an individual.”
 
What might we be “looking for”?  When a person “has the stage” and is fully heard relationships strengthen, understanding increases and goodwill ensues. The listener listens without judgement or a rush to comment. The next logical question presents itself.
 
Most of us except our dedicated people on the front lines have some time on our hands. Even with a work schedule there’s time. Despite uncertainty what we do know is that we’re loved by others, we’re part of a connected world and we will get through this. Why not connect more?
 
In addition to stopping the virus and staying healthy, one way to leverage our quarantine time is to go deeper in conversation. Explore the Inner Journey!
 
Make time to converse.  Everyone has a story to tell.
 
Here is a compilation of “Family and Friends” questions from a Google Search directing me to a school assignment and questions for writing a current bio.  Questions were also garnered from the book, 4,000 Questions for Getting to Know Anyone and Everyone by Barbara Ann Kipfer.
 
Early Childhood
  • When and where were you born? 
  • Do you recall any interesting stories regarding your birth?
  • What is your earliest memory? 
  • Who was the most influential person to you as a child?
  • What did you do during the summertime? 
  • What was your favorite game?
  • What were you most afraid of as a child? 10. Do you recall any interesting stories related to you by any of your elder relatives that you have never forgotten
  • As a child wee you closer to your mother or father?
  • Did you share a room with a sibling?
  • What ancestor of your would you most like to meet?
  • What family member do you take after the most?
  • What did you learn from your parents?
  • What did your mother/father always say?
  • Did each person have a specific seat at dinner?
  • What was dinner conversation like?
  • What object do you remember vividly from your childhood?
High School & College
  • Who was your best friend(s)? Are you still in touch with them? 
  • What was your favorite subject in school? 
  • What was your favorite sport?
  • Is there a teacher or professor that you remember for good/bad reasons? 
  • What did you like most about school/ college?
  • What would people you know find surprising about you as a teen? As a college student?
  • What hobbies and interests were you able to pursue?
  • Did you cram all night before exams?
  • In a class or lecture did you sit up front or in an inconspicuous place?
  • Did you prefer English or science class?
  • What did you ave to teach ourself?
  • What are your strongest memories from Elementary, High School and or college?
  • Did you ever go to the principal’s office?
Career
  • What was your first job? 
  • What was your best job? 
  • What was your worst job? 
  • Who was the biggest influence in your career? 
  • What would be your ideal job?
  • How do you measure success?
  • When did you experience failure?
  • Who was your favorite manager?
  • What is one job you would like to have back?
  • What work are you particularly proud of?
Family
  • What is your goal as a parent? 
  • How would your children describe you as a parent? 
  • How do you describe yourself as a parent?
  • Who are you closest to in your family? 
  • Who do you admire most in your family and why?
Love
  • When did you start to date?
  • Have you ever been married? To whom and for how long?
  • How did you and your husband/wife/partner first?
  • How do you define love?
General (Philosophical & Meaning)
  • What is your definition of “happiness”?  
  • What is your most memorable travel experience? 
  • What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? What is your happiest memory? 
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
  • How do you think people will remember you? 
  • Who is your biggest fan? 
  • Whose biggest fan are you? 
  • What do you like to do in your spare time? 
  • What is your most embarrassing moment? 
  • If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be? 
  • What is your greatest fear? 
  • What is your greatest hope? 
  • What do you think happens after death? 
  • What place does religion have in your life? 
  • What are the main lessons you’ve learned in life?
Writing a Current Bio 
  • Who is someone you admire, and why?
  • Tell me three pet peeves.
  • Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
  • If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? (Don’t overthink it! This is a very poignant question right now?)
  • Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
  • Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…
  • How do you want people to remember you?
  • What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
  • Name three words that you describe you.
  • How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
  • What do you want to make sure you do before you die?
  • What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
  • Name a few of your daily habits (other than a shower and brushing your teeth).
  • What publications do you regularly read?
  • What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?
  • What are some causes you care about?
  • What do you do with friends in your spare time?What would be your personal motto?
Resources: