Did you have a good Christmas (or New Year’s Eve or birthday or…)?
It’s a loaded question. It is easier to answer yes or nod or deflect even if the holiday was a rough one. But to say no is jarring because that’s not the expected answer. Depending on the people involved, it can lead to an awkward interaction. If the follow-up question of what happened is asked, perhaps the person isn’t comfortable sharing in the setting. Or the person asking isn’t ready for the conversation that follows.
What if we altered our question a tiny bit?
How was your Christmas (or New Year’s Eve or birthday or…)?
The person can answer and share whatever they want. It’s not as jarring to hear something didn’t go well, because we haven’t set them up for a certain answer.
How we ask questions reflects how we engage others. Are we making slide-by-contact, or are we trying to listen to and invest in someone?
Being intentional might take more time as you interact with others, but the resulting relationships are nearly always worth the effort.