There are no universal questions

I was talking with colleagues today. Someone expressed a desire for a question that’s good to ask everyone.

Some weather we’re having, huh?

People often talk about the weather. Maybe because it’s a universal phenomenon that affects people. But no, some areas have pretty much the same weather all the time, and therefore rarely speak of it.

What’re you excited about, lately? Won’t work so well for people with anhedonia, I expect.

What have you learned recently? Gives some people performance anxiety.

Some people can’t stand small talk. So, really, there aren’t going to be any innocuous questions you can ask to pass the time when that’s the case.

Reflecting on Buddhist philosophy, what we have in common is that we all suffer and we desire not to suffer. But that’s probably not a subject for small talk…!

I think there are no universal questions. Not for chit chat.

But inclusivity isn’t about finding one size fits all. One size never fits all. Any attempts to create one size that fits all will exclude some. Instead, offer people some choices, to recognise that we are all different, and that that’s okay wonderful. And give people an easy out, a pass option.

One size never fits all.

As much as we want to create opportunities for connection, such interactions should be optional, not mandatory. Especially at work.