Casual conversation is powerful! Walk into a coffee shop early enough, and it’s not unusual to find someone wearing their morning robe, pajamas, or slippers. I love that coffee shops are places of casual conversation. In fact, coffee shops are about as casual as things get. If you happened to bump into me around town over the past few months, you probably noticed I have taken casual to a whole new level. Recently, I had the privilege of stepping away from my career for a brief time to bond with our new daughter. In addition to tons of baby time, this also means that shaving has been reduced to once a week or less. I’ve spent as much time in my “Trust me, I’m a Super Hero” T-shirt as humanly possible. This incredible Christmas present from my in-laws is by far the most comfortable T-shirt I own.
The Biblical Basis for Casual Conversation
Believe it or not, there’s a Biblical basis for keeping things cool, calm, and relaxed. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” And in 1 Timothy 6:6, the Apostle Paul writes, “Godliness combined with contentment brings great profit.” But living in a casual and relaxed manner is often easier said than done. Here are three strategies for taking a casual, calm, and content approach to life. And each one involves creating more room for casual conversation!
1. Converse better by picking your battles.
A few days ago, we had one of those glorious California thunderstorms. The next thing I knew, an announcement from a loudspeaker at the college across the street, blared into our living room. It commanded all students to remain where they were and to shelter in place. Wondering what was happening and wanting to keep our family safe, I posted an inquiry on a community Facebook forum. We learned that the lockdown was because there was a man with a rifle on campus. Fortunately, the incident was quickly resolved. It turned out that the supposed gunman was actually a student carrying a closed umbrella. Being in the midst of a three-year drought, apparently, we Californians have forgotten what an umbrella looks like 🙂
What’s interesting, however, is that over the next few days, people responded in droves to my post. One argument after another broke out on this “friends” site, with people using the incident as an opportunity to tout their views on the danger of guns or to expound on their necessity. My wife informed me that this type of bickering goes on all the time. Apparently, some people don’t have a whole lot better to do than to argue. Because we live in an age where people are more connected than ever before, it’s also easier than ever to find ways to engage in disgruntled conversation. Thus, learning to pick our battles is a must. Constant bickering is unhealthy and creates undue stress. Simply stated, most things are not worth arguing over.
Casual Conversations for Couples
Couples must learn how to pick their battles too. Fighting is not a mandate. As a therapist and a coach, I love helping couples have good conversations. Sometimes these are financial conversations, sometimes they are conversations that bring growth. The most important thing is that couples pick their battles, then putting the fight aside and diving back into casual conversation. This is how the happiest of couples connect!
2. Converse better by allowing others to be wrong.
Allowing others to be wrong is also known as extending grace. Romans 5:8 says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God calls us to Himself as we are, with no strings attached. He meets us where we are and allows us to grow, develop, and transform over time.
[Tweet “Because God extends grace to us, we should extend grace to others.”]
In seminary, when conversations become heated, one of my favorite teachers would help the class return to a grace-filled attitude by stating, “It’s ok, one day God will work out all of our little heresies.” This was a brilliant way of reminding passionate theology students that while sound doctrine is important, so is good behavior. Not all issues need to be resolved right now.
Growth is an ongoing process. There are times where reasoning together promotes growth and other instances where it wounds and divides. It takes wisdom to discern the difference. Allowing others to be wrong means letting go of arguments and allowing others to do what they believe is best. So get back to casual conversation by agreeing to disagree.
[Tweet “It’s quite possible for two people to think differently and maintain a valuable friendship.”]
3. Converse better by using the five-year test.
The five-year test asks the question, “How important will this be five years from now?” If that answer is “Not all that important,” then chances are it’s not worth stressing over right now. By looking at the big picture, we can avoid upsetting ourselves and wounding others. Many relationship battles don’t make much difference in the long run. If the five-year test doesn’t add up, then maybe it’s time to stop arguing and get back to casual conversation.
Diving Deeper into Casual Conversation
What do you think?
- Have you ever gotten caught up in a pointless conflict when it would have been better to take a more casual approach?
- If you’re good at staying relaxed and collected, how do you do this?
I look forward to hearing your ideas about the power of casual conversation in the comments below!