People are fascinating. They really are.
I don’t know about you, but I love meeting people, and I love hearing their stories.
I’ve been known to be that person who gets into deep and meaningfuls with strangers I meet on the street, or to have exchanged full life stories with folks before getting off of our elevator ride together.
Perhaps it’s a little weird I used to give my fave gas station dudes Christmas cards, or I know all of my local Starbucks baristas by name as well as their life goals, but it really does make life more interesting!
Do you remember the last time you were on a first date?
It may have been a while, but chances are you were pretty curious about other person. You were interested, engaged, and you wanted to also be interesting and engaging at the same time. You asked questions, you listened.
When was the last time you took that approach to someone in your life or someone you just met?
So I was about to board a flight to Buenos Aires – which is a darn long flight – and hadn’t been assigned a seat yet. I really wanted my usual window, so I waited patiently in the customer assistance line, and made sure I smiled big when I got to the front. I forget what this particular woman’s name was now, but I noted it on her name tag and was sure to call her by it as I said hello.
No doubt those poor customer service reps get yelled and screamed at on a regular basis, and I always try to show a little empathy and appreciation.
I shared with her my predicament, and was really hoping to avoid being stuck in a middle seat.
She was very friendly as she checked her system, and we ended up talking a little about life and what brought her there and both the perks and challenges of her job.
Eager to help, she found two great seat selections; one window and one aisle more up front, and was going to upgrade me to extra leg room! Score!
Me, always a bit indecisive, jokingly said, ‘which one do you feel has a better chance of finding my prince charming next to me?’ Hoping to get a laugh.
She did chuckle, and then responded with: ‘Well I’m not sure, but why don’t I look into which one has at least a single male traveller next to you!’
‘You can do that?!? Fun!’ I responded.
And she did, and suggested I sit in I believe 16J if my memory serves my correctly! And that’s where I sat. And while he didn’t end up being my Prince Charming – he was very cute and sadly for me gay – he was a really nice guy, who drove me to my place, who I actually became friends with, and who I met up with a few times to show me all around Buenos Aires!
You just never know.
I wrote that nice woman at the customer service desk a thank you card and gave her a $5 Starbucks gift certificate before my flight took off. It was a few years ago now, but I still think back and smile on that exchange. And I bet you she remembers it, too.
A short and fleeting, yet meaningful connection. It didn’t take much. And it grows from there.
Loneliness is becoming an epidemic. According to The General Social Survey the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since 1985, and the majority of people chose ‘zero’ for the number of confidants.
And yet we humans are social creatures! We need one another, we learn from one another, and we often benefit from experiencing one another’s energy. We long for authentic connection. And it all stems from a hello and for caring about those you meet.
People and relationships really are what make the world go around.
“People will forget what you say, they will forget what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
Who are you being with the people in your life? Both those you’ve known for decades as well as those you are meeting for the first time? Are you curious about learning more? Are you present with them, are you listening to them? Asking about their story? Caring? Truly connecting?
Here are 3 easy ways you can build instant, lasting, and meaningful connection.
1. Be the first
Be the first to say hello, to ask for someone’s name, to offer a handshake, a compliment, or a helping hand. Don’t wait for someone to invite you. Let it start with you!
2. Get Curious
Treat the people you meet as though you are on a first date. Be interested, interesting, engaged, and engaging. It will make every interaction that much more enjoyable!
3. Open Up, if just a little
Don’t be afraid to get a little vulnerable. If you’re willing to self-disclose a little bit about yourself and your story, chances are they will also open about about theirs. And that is where real connection grows!
So this week I challenge you to be brave enough to meet some new people, make some new connections, and share some stories. I have a feeling all spirits will be lifted!
Have a FAB week!