My friend, Nancy-the-Insightful, would always ask "the birthday questions" whenever we were out to dinner celebrating someone.
The cool thing about the birthday questions is that they immediately take the conversation deeper than would normally happen in the course of a celebration and best of all they create the knowing and intimacy that can only be shared by really good friends.
Friday night, we got to go out to "our place" for Shane-the-Connector's birthday. This time it was especially wonderful to see friends because I've been so housebound. I remembered Nancy's tradition and I had the chance to ask Shane the following...
1. What jumped out at you as significant about the past year?
2. Share one of your happiest moments over the past year.
3. What has caused you to grow in the past year?
4. How do you think you have changed in the past year? (John changed this to past decade because it was a milestone birthday for Shane.)
The birthday questions aren't set in stone and Nancy morphs them depending on the friends involved. One thing is for sure, it was really cool to me to hear Shane share about the deeper stuff last night and I think Nancy's tradition is beautiful.