4 questions/month to deeper friendship

by | Mar 7, 2023

A few weeks ago, I woke up looking forward to lunch with my friend, Dianne. Or, Stilettos, as I lovingly call her. 

But a few hours before, while reading The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, I was suddenly yanked into a physical and mental reaction. A trigger I’ve since learned. Instantly nauseous, dizzy, confused, and feeling like my sanity was going to slip from my fingertips at any moment.

This was completely foreign, as I’ve never had such an experience before. And, because I was reading a book on trauma and triggers, I had a gut feeling that my body was trying to tell me something that my mind couldn’t fully understand or remember.

In that moment, I knew I needed to talk with someone. With a friend whom I could fully trust in confidentiality with all of my sudden and seeming crazy. I needed someone to just listen, observe, and ask.

I’m convinced it is of no coincidence that Dianne was already on my calendar. I texted her asking if we could find a private place to meet, rather than in public. She immediately responded and booked a room at her office.

Clearly, Dianne is one of my sacred few. And she was long before this particular moment in need. We’ve been close friends now for over 7 years after working on the same team together.

We are rebel hearted, smart mouthed kindred spirits born in different generations. But over the years, we intentionally cultivated a close connection. Not just through lunch dates and snarky texts about the latest pointless meeting (while those were plenty) but also through deep conversations that helped us through difficult realities .

Much of the depth of our friendship came from a monthly check-in exercise I learned during seminary called “Discerning Direction.” That sounds a bit lofty, but it’s essentially a routine RPMS (relational, physical, mental and spiritual) check-in with someone you know.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Choose a person
  2. Schedule 30-60 minutes
  3. Take turns asking each other 1 question from each of the categories

This easy routine is incredibly effective in forming an intentional and authentic connection with our sacred few. It has helped me face reality honestly, clue into what needs my attention, and embrace what abundance is around me. All while feeling known, understood, and supported.

You can meet more often than monthly. You can ask more than one question. Make it work for you. But whatever you do, use it as a way to go deeper in connection with yourself and someone close to you.

I’m so thankful Dianne and I did.