This is the list of twenty-one questions we’ll use during our conversation. They start off gently with some nice easy ones, get a bit tricky in the middle and then we finish up with a few interesting ones.
There is only one question which could be answered with a yes or no: no 13. This is by design as I feel it is the most difficult question for most of us to answer truthfully. However, even acknowledging this in your answer, is enough.
Look through the list and answer them for yourself anyway. Then, when you are ready to chat about them with me, contact me at email@example.com or on Twitter @NiamhSTWYMO.
Tell me about your favourite pet.
Describe your perfect day.
What are you most grateful for?
At what time in your recent past have you felt most alive?
What is the one thing you like most about yourself?
What are you most proud of?
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
What’s your biggest regret so far?
What has been your lowest point?
What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Think of the last time you were angry. Why were you angry and how did you react?
Is there something you’re ashamed of? Are you prepared to share it here?
What have you learned that you think other people should know about?
What did you dream of being when you grew up?
What have you been thinking about lately?
What gives you butterflies in your stomach?
What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the world?
What do you like to do in your spare time, on weekends?
Name one thing you’ve done that has made a positive difference to someone else.
What one question do you wish I had asked you today?
That’s it. Easy-peasy, right? 😉 Looking forward to hearing from you.
By the way, in the next post I’ll be stepping up to the mark. Well, I can’t expect other people to volunteer if I haven’t sacrificed myself first, can I? Cue sweaty palms and palpitations….
So down to the details. This is an interview blog. I have compiled a list of twenty-one questions which I chose in order to explore some of the emotions we all experience most commonly. The facts of your answers are secondary. It’s your feelings and thoughts surrounding the details of your life that I’m interested in. For example, you might not be able to tell me that you ran over your neighbour’s cat in case they find out but you can tell me how you felt when “this thing” happened.
I will need to record our conversations so as to do justice to your answers and not rely on my note-taking or memory alone. I feel that it’s easier to connect with people when you can see them so I will try to speak with you face-to-face. The ideal would be to meet in person (hopefully with some tea and cake involved) but I know that may not be physically possible so the next best option will have to be recorded Skype conversations. I may need to reassess this in the future but for now, that’s the plan. I would love it if I could publish some of these conversations as videos on the blog. I think if someone can see your eyes and facial expressions when you are speaking, it’s easier to make a connection. For the moment, I will leave this as optional. If you feel it’s something you wouldn’t mind doing, please let me know.
So let me outline the good bits and the, ahem, less good bits.
You will be doing a good thing. Someone who feels alone or isolated may read your story and feel less alone and isolated. So it’s like being a super-hero with very little physical effort. Sort of.
How often do you get to give an interview without being some sort of celebrity/expert –type? I’m just interested in you and I want to hear your story.
This is entirely voluntary.
I will publish the twenty-one questions in my next blog post so it’s really like one of those open-book exams. You can swot up before you’re asked anything.
You can change your mind at any time after offering to take part.
You can pass on any question but I won’t publish the interview if there are five or more passes.
I will email you your interview after it’s completed and before publication so you can change anything you’re not comfortable with. I will also show you your video interview, if you choose to do one, before publication so you can opt out at that stage.
You can ask me to take down your interview at any time after publication.
I will approve any comments made on this blog before they are published – so no nasty trolls to deal with.
I’d rather if the interviews were not anonymous but I’m open to negotiation on this one.
Slightly, you know, awkward bits
The questions are not easy. Even the positive ones are hard. I’ve answered them myself and there’s one I had to pass on.
You will feel uncomfortable answering some of the questions. There’s no way for me to make that easier for you I’m afraid.
People (hopefully lots of people) will hear your story.
There may be repercussions from your bravery. Mostly positive, but possibly some negative ones too.
If you are a naturally private person, as I am, this will be really difficult. I understand this completely and appreciate the effort it will take to do this. Even if we don’t get a finished product for publication from the interview process, at least you tried.
Some of us will never be able to get over the fear of being vulnerable. We may dress it up as being “cautious” or “sensible”, but it boils down to being afraid of an adverse outcome, mainly that we will be judged by our peers to be unworthy and be rejected. If you are unable to take part in an interview, I ask that you do one thing. I ask that you think about the fear that stops you and how much better the world would be if we didn’t have to feel this fear. There are enough scary things out there besides being terrified of the opinion of our equally flawed, equally scared neighbour. And maybe pass this blog address to that person whom you are most afraid of judging you.
So that’s basically it. To be honest, I was holding off on publicising this blog until it was an all-singing, all-dancing, fireworks-shooting-out-of-your-USB-port phenomenon. But then I realised that I wasn’t helping anyone as long as I was labouring over every word. It’s a pretty simple idea. We have a chat, I pass it on and someone else hopefully reads it and feels better because you shared your story. So let’s get started.