Dave, I think we’ve all been in the space conversing with people we’d rather not talk to. This is where boundaries come in place. But you’re correct that most people gravitate toward gossip and complaints. What I’ve found is that instead of cringing and wishing the conversation wasn’t happening, I can be a guide and direct a conversation toward a more healthy and positive place. People love to talk about themselves, so I begin asking question about their life, background, story. My favorite question is “tell me your story.” Sometimes people will look confused and say “I don’t have a story” to which I reply that’s garbage because how did they make it to this point in life without having a background. Then I ask specific questions like where they’re from, childhood, family, passions, etc. This makes the person feel validated and that someone cares. It moves away from the gossip and into building character and virtue.

Storyteller | Combat wounded veteran | Metalhead | Designer | Bleeding on a page just makes it more authentic: https://benjaminsledge.com

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