If we’re lucky, we have friends we may not see for years, but when we pick up the conversation like it’s been no time at all since we last spoke. Recently one such friend reached out to me and asked how I was doing and what was most fulfilling in my life right now. What a great question. I didn’t have to think about it much. My therapy work is very fulfilling. And bread baking, which I have written about before, has been especially lovely lately.

I once heard Robert Bosnak say that the difference between talking to a therapist and talking to your friends is that therapists ask better questions. But it would be great if we could all ask better questions. Recently I read an article suggesting we should find a better way to introduce friends to one another, something more meaningful and real than leading with what that person does professionally, as if that were the whole of a person’s identity. My friend Bethany is exceptionally good at this. She has a story about everyone in her life, and always introduces me as her first hospice volunteer from the days when she was volunteer coordinator. She sometimes talks about how I met my husband, just because it makes for a fun story. These are things I like being known for. She never mentions where my current paycheck comes from, because it isn’t important to her.

If we were to replace the question, “What do you do” with something else, I think, “What’s most fulfilling in your life” would be a great candidate. Friends, what other good questions do you have? What else should we ask?