I believe in interviewing. I am not a journalist, an employer, or a newscaster. I just enjoy talking to people about their lives–where they’ve been, who’ve they met, what they’re doing, and who they are. People with some time generally are willing to talk about themselves, and I fit the role of a curious teenager pretty well.
First, you must read the signs–are they in any rush? Are they in a good mood? Is it safe? The situation, of course, is paramount. Sundays are almost always a good sign–so is warm weather, long lines, or riding on the bus. Now, cautiously start a conversation. This is the pinnacle of the tension. Most people are suspicious, surprised, or silent.
Read the signs again. Analyze their expression. Are they tense? Delighted? Homicidal? Proceed with caution. No sudden movements. Neutral tone. If you do it with the correct approach, you can then gently coax a conversation out of the most silent and private people–carefully feed the discussion until there’s an animated, pleasant warmth between the two of you. There. Perfect. You have a totally improvised, but completely functional interview. I enjoy the whole process. For one brief moment in both of our lives, we are connected through a conversation.
I believe in interviewing because I think it’s important to know about your own species- to know about those who don’t normally have any affiliation with you or your life, but are different and therefore capable of expanding your knowledge about the world. People-interviewing is just as important as soul-searching. To me, they’re one and the same. I love to hear different stories, advice, perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and opinions. It’s important to know their name. It’s important to know them. And it’s important to know yourself.
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