Every day I listen to the same radio host on my drive home.  Somehow she magically unfolds the most hilarious city-wide conversations from the most mundane conversation starters.  I often find myself laughing out loud, alone in my car.

I think the key to her hosting skills is curiosity.  She has no ownership over the direction the conversation will take - she just listens and asks questions, sometimes to probe and sometimes to clarify.  Assumptions and judgement seem to be momentarily suspended.    

In the past, I had never understood what would compel someone to call into a radio station.  These days I wonder if the anonymity of calling in to the radio appeals to people because there are no first impressions to cloud the room.  Storytelling is a vulnerable act.  On the radio, the interaction is quick and affirming.  The risk of rejection is minimal, and there is no saying how the audience is responding.  

Sometimes I wish that there was more of that radio-like storytelling in ordinary life.  I can only imagine the stories I am missing out on.  Whenever I turn the radio off, I start to wonder about the callers.  Who are they?  What judgements and assumptions would I have made if I had saw them?

The benefit of being curious about people is that it leaves behind lovely warm feeling.  Every day when I turn my radio on, it feels oddly homey and comforting to me.  Being curious makes the world a little safer and a little softer for us all.