Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Reasons to Talk to Strangers

I went to ink! coffee with Holly & Cass two weekends ago to write and do lesson prep while they studied. First of all, I got a blended chocolate and banana espresso smoothie, so that was amazing. Second, while I was getting my coffee I became best friends with the barista. 

He asked why we were up to, so I told him. He told me he thinks it's so cool when people blog and that he's always wanted to start a blog focused on interviews, but never felt qualified to do it. I told him that was silly and he would start it anyways. He's in such a cool position to meet a bunch of people, working at a coffee shop. We talked a little more about dreams, and then I quoted Tangled at him and went to get working.

image via.

loved this little encounter and am so grateful for his willingness to chat. I am constantly amazed by how honoring others by talking to them or acknowledging them can turn your day around. Holly told me that last week she was walking home from school and when some random guy have her a high-five, it just made her day.

Events is reading The Hidden Power of Kindness by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik.

Approximately every sentence he writes jumps out at me and kicks me in the pants, but this really struck a chord with me:
"Greet people enthusiastically and sincerely. A man's name is to him the most important sound in his language."
Seems simple, right? But I think my mouth dropped all the way to the floor and I started banging my head against my desk when I read this. How many times to I walk by another human, even at work, and fail to acknowledge them? 

Christine had us pick one thing from chapter one that we were going to work on for the next week. Greeting people was my personal challenge. Guys, it was embarrassingly hard. Even in a place where our main goal is relationships, we too can shy away from greeting one another. But, I persevered in my challenge and I'm glad I did.

After many awkward and failed encounters, and a few pretty great ones, here are
5 Reasons To Talk To Strangers:

1. It's actually not that scary. Seriously. You can smile. So what if you feel awkward? Actually, why do I feel awkward when I greet someone I don't know?? I know it can brighten my day when someone says hello & says my name. Why can't I do that for other people?

2. You honor & acknowledge the other person's dignity & worth. Guess what? I'm not the center of the universe. And neither are you. There are billions of other people out there with value and a story to tell. You just have to ask them.

3. It leads to great conversations with people you wouldn't expect. Exhibit A: Ink! Coffee Barisita, my new bestie. You'd be surprised how a simple "hello, how is your day?" can lead to deep, meaningful conversation.

4. It's a way to step outside of yourself. I used this quote when I wrote about loneliness and stepping outside of ourselves to fight that struggle, but I think it applies just as much here.

5. It increases your capacity to love. To love is to will the good of another. So if we know making connections and saying hello does the other good, we can love them by doing this. We also increase our capacity to love when we think of the other person's need first.

So carry on, my friends. And tell me, when was a time you had a good experience talking to a stranger?

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