Do you ever long for a deep conversation with someone? Today’s episode is about a creative measure someone took to make that happen. It reveals what many of us long for, and how we can make the world a better place, one conversation at a time.

As with every episode, our purpose in this podcast is to help you find more joy in the relationships God designed for you.

The Next Door app

I’ll start by telling you something interesting I found the other day on the social media app, “Next Door.”  It’s a bit like Facebook but for neighborhoods. You sign up to get posts from people living in your neighborhood, and it’s usually people asking for recommendations. Things like, “I need a plumber,” or “I’m new in town and am looking for a good dentist, who would you recommend.” Things like this. 

Last summer, for example, I found a high school student through this app willing to pull weeds from our flower beds, so it’s great for items like this.

But you’ll also find annoying things like a recent post that read “Why is the Taco Bell on Moreland Rd closed all of a sudden.” That’s not so bad, but it generated a long thread of comments about how horrible Taco Bell is, followed by a string of Taco Bell fans praising the place. Followed yet by another string of “Why are people so lazy they can’t make their own tacos at home? What’s wrong with you people?” 

I think you get the picture. It’s why I delete the app, but then months later sign up for it again.

An unusual request

Anyway, the most unusual post I’ve seen in a long time came from an attractive woman by the name of Nicole who posted her picture with the following:

I turn 40 in roughly 4 months.

To celebrate, I’m challenging myself to have deep conversations with 40 different individuals.

What’s in it for you? Maybe some clarity in an area you’re questioning or better sense of your purpose or even just someone to listen to you unload.

What’s in it for me? I get to connect with YOU. Simple as that.

I want to close out my 30s by connecting with as many people as possible. And if we already know each other, let’s do this anyway!

Message me if you’re up to help me with this challenge.

Summary of the Responses

The last time I checked 99 people responded to Nicole. Here’s a summary of those responses:

    • Slightly more women responded than men
    • No one said “no” or anything negative. Everyone either said “yes” in one form or another, “Happy Birthday” and nothing more, or they had a question
    • 9 people commented something along the lines of “Oh, you’re so beautiful.” One person said she looked like Julia Roberts. None of these 9 agreed to a deep conversation Nicole is looking for.
    • 2 people wanted to know more
Selected responses I found interesting

Jim: Wish I were 40 yrs. younger

Nicole: ha! Flattered, but I’m married!

Guy: Hello Nicole! I’m Game!! But I’m a talker…You better be ready!!!

Joseph: The years have been very kind to you! What are some of your interests?

Anna: I would love to do this. I am 78 years old. This could be very interesting. And maybe loving & caring. I could use more contact w/ good people. How do I get on board?

Melody: Please be safe meeting all those people

Emily: I’m in. Always great to meet new friends. Happy early birthday 

Mark: Hello Nicole, what a way to start and meet new friends. I would like to connect and have some conversations.

Angela: What a wonderful way to celebrate your milestone birthday! I am having a milestone birthday today @60! I have a lot of life to discuss and would be honored to help you accomplish this worthwhile project!!

Steven: Absolutely, any time!

Tami: Hi Nicole! I’m Tami, and I am so intrigued with your project!! I would love to help you with this. I’m a writer and deep conversations are my jam!

Craig: Very interesting idea.  I love to chat with new people!

Laura: If you haven’t met your 40 conversations, I could use a good conversation with a kind soul.

An interest in deep conversations from young and old

Meghan: I wish there were more people like this with good intentions! I’m in my mid-20s. Intellectual conversations are kinda really my thing.

Jeri: I would love to participate. I just turned 70 and looking for connection.

Larry: I am 66; is it to just unload problems or to really make new friends–if you want to make new friends I am there count me in-

Karen: I would love to help you . I am in my early 50s and love meeting new people and making friends.

Kat: Well, I am 76 years old and I have lived through a lot! I was a postwar baby and as I became a teenager we dealt with birth control. Then there was the Vietnam war, civil rights. Live near the Bay Area in the 60s and saw lots of disobedience and Craziness. I lived to see John Kennedy shot and killed Martin Luther King shot and killed and Bobby Kennedy shot and killed. Those were sad sad days for America. I could go on and on, but I won’t.  You get the idea.  At this point in my life, I have lost almost everybody that was of significance in my life growing up. But I’m still part of the class of ’64 for our high school and we are a very connected class since we went from kindergarten through high school together for most of us. By the way, happy happy birthday

Lyn: Nicole, I'm game if you're still collecting names. I just celebrated my 75th…definitely a milestone!

Michelle: Hi Nicole, I’d love to assist with your quest.  What a lovely way to celebrate your next birthday.

My response to the request for a deep conversation

 I responded with this text, I’ll do what I can to help you with this challenge.

Shortly thereafter I received a text from Nicole that read:

“Hey John! Thanks for offering to help with the challenge!

“Just as a very brief background: I'm a nurse and obtained a certification as a transformative life coach and my goal is to connect with as many people as possible.  There's no catch, just connecting :)

“Here's a link to schedule a time to connect:”


A different “deep conversation” than what was expected

I clicked on the link to find a calendar to book an appointment. Above the calendar read “Free Session.” The word “Free” jumped out a me. It implies, especially after reading further, that some sessions are not free.

Next to the calendar is more information from Nicole that began with:

“Why do this? To connect! I'm a nurse and a health and wellness coach looking to serve my community one conversation at a time. I want to learn about you and where you're struggling right now, and alternatively, what's going great and how to help you build on that!”

Nicole goes on to write:

“Some sessions can be filled with big emotions and that's ok! I want you to express yourself to the fullest, be open and honest, and I'll do the same for you. That being said, if I feel you're not showing up fully in this way, I'll call you out on it and push you a little harder. Not showing up fully is not an option in my coaching space.

“At the end, we'll make sure you have a plan to continue any forward momentum that we've created together.”

My take on all this

I was really tempted to contact some of the 99 people who responded to Nicole’s initial challenge to celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday by having deep conversations with 40 people. I’d like to ask them what they thought and felt when they got the same text I received when I responded to Nicole.  Believe me, that was so tempting.

But if I did that, this episode would be about the ethics of Nicole’s marketing strategy for her wellness coaching business. The larger and more interesting aspect to this story is why these 99 people responded to Nicole in the first place. 

It caused me to go back and look at the responses of these 99 more closely and found they reveal something about what many of us are all looking for these days.

What people are looking for

I think of Anna, who at 78 years of age found the prospect of a deep conversation with Nicole to be in her words, “loving and caring,” and “I could use more contact with good people.”

Then there is Laura who said, “I could use a good conversation with a kind soul.”

And Larry who mentions he’s 66 and “If this is about making new friends I am there. Count me in.”

Another response that is telling comes from Jeri who said “I would love to participate. I just turned 70 and looking for connection.”

And finally there is the response from Kat who spoke about the major events she lived through in her 76 years, almost as a way of auditioning for Nicole, implying that she would have a lot to offer in any kind of deep conversation. 

I was especially touched when Kat said “At this point in my life, I have lost almost everybody that is of significance in my life growing up. But I’m still part of the class of ’64 for our high school and we are a very connected class since we went from kindergarten through high school together for most of us.”

Over and over again people talk about looking for connection and meeting new friends. 

I think it’s because many of us are lonely. Otherwise, why would we want new friends? It’s either because we don’t have any friends, or the few we have are just surface friends.

So what does all this mean for YOU? 

If you saw Nicole’s request for a deep conversation, how would you respond?  Are you interested in deep conversations that would lead to connections with people and making new friends? Or are you overloaded with the things going on in your life that you just don’t have any space for deep conversations much less new friends?

Another thing this brings up is as people of faith, how would Jesus want us to respond to those looking for friends and connection with others?  We can’t connect with everyone, nor be friends with everyone. And if you’re active in a church, please, please don’t say, “tell others they need to get in a small group.”  No, they don’t.

My hunch is that Jesus doesn’t want us to funnel lonely people into a church program or ministry. Rather, I think he wants us to individually reflect his image and character. 

To be what 78-year-old Anna is looking for,  “someone who is caring and loving” and that good person she could connect with.

To be that “kind soul” Laura is looking for.

Yeah, that’s how I think Jesus would want us to respond.

Because someone listened…

I’ll conclude by reminding you of that new feature we’re trying out this season, Because Someone Listened…

I’d like you to describe a time when someone listened to you well and the impact it had on you. Just complete the sentence because someone listened…. You can post it in the comment box at the bottom of the show notes, or you can email it to me at


In closing, I’d also love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to be that loving and caring person, that “kind soul”  people are looking for.

For when you do, it will help you experience the joy of relationships God desires for you. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

Well, that’s it for today. If there’s someone in your life you think might like to hear what you just heard, please forward this episode on to them. Scroll down to the bottom of the show notes and click on one of the options in the yellow “Share This” bar.

And don’t forget to spread a little relational sunshine around the people you meet this week. Spark some joy for them.  And I’ll see you again next time. Goodbye for now.

Other episodes or resources related to today’s shows

139: Why Should I Listen to This Podcast?

021: The Most Important Relationship of All

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