Whenever my girlfriend and I go running or walking in our local park, I always make a point of saying hello to the people that we pass.
My girlfriend always put this down to one of my many idiosyncrasies (funny habits) and for awhile she didn’t make any mention of it; until the other day when I said hello to a man who looked like he was obviously not in the mood to be friendly with anyone.
My girlfriend says to me “Why did you say hello to that guy, you could just tell by looking at him that he wasn’t going to say hello back”
To which I replied, “I don’t need to get a ‘hello’ back to make it worthwhile, what’s important to me is that ‘I’ say hello, I can’t be responsible for what other people do”
“But that guy was obviously an a$$hole, you said hello to him and all he did was scowl at you like you just lit a burning bag of dog sh!t on his front porch”
“Because those people need it the most”
Learn To Socialize Without The Need For Validation
You have probably been walking down the street or been out at one point or another and somebody has smiled at you and said hello to you on the street. At the time you might have felt shocked by this, you might have wondered why they said hello to you in particular, you might actually feel like for a moment, the world can be a pretty friendly place and is perhaps not so cold, dark and isolated as we often feel it is.
Consider the power of that gesture. One word, a simple acknowledgement which can have such a profound affect on us. That simple greeting could change someones day for the better, it could even change their life for the better.
It is something so easy to do, it takes next to no effort on our behalf and it can have such a positive affect on the world around us; so why don’t more people say hello to strangers?
We are living in an age of isolation and mistrust. We live in a world where most of us feel like we have enough friends, and every person we pass on the street could be a potential b!tch, a$$hole, slut, rapist, murderer, pedophile. We know they exist so they could be anyone, and because they could be anyone, with the wrong attitude they can become everyone.
So perhaps this is what stopped people from acknowledging every stranger and perhaps this is what caused us to become increasingly introverted, isolated and distrustful of others; we might not want to invite every stranger we see to dinner, but would it really kill us to just say hello?
But most people know that if someone was going to murder them or do horrible things to them, then acknowledging them and saying hello, showing a small act of kindness is unlikely to provoke an attack; but is that what we really fear, or is it something else? Something petty, something selfish. Perhaps what we fear, is being kind to a stranger and not having that kindness returned. Perhaps what we fear is a simple lack of validation, we allow ourselves to feel like dorks because the people we were kind to choose not to return that same kindness.
This is nothing but insecurity.
If you are confident within yourself and you believe yourself to be a beacon of positivity and awesomeness to the world around you, then it shouldn’t matter if you get anything back. Does the sun ask the Earth for warmth?
You are not doing this for them, you can’t be responsible for their sh!tty outlook on life; you should be doing this for yourself because it adds purpose and positivity to your life and that’s an amazing reward in itself.
Socialize With A Stranger A Day
Hopefully by now I have given you something to think about, hopefully you are now thinking, “its not that hard, I could say hello to some strangers, easy peasey”, if I haven’t inspired you to do that by now then you may as well stop reading now because I’m about to give you a challenge that will be a bit trickier.
You don’t have to do this right now, if you are a naturally introverted person you might just want to start with ‘hellos’ and then work your way up to a conversation but if you are like most people, you are fully capable of having a meaningful conversation with a stranger if you apply yourself.
So here is the challenge.
Have a meaningful conversation with no less than one stranger a day for the next 30 days.
1. Your conversation MUST encompass more than hello and goodbye.
2. Sales people don’t count unless you are able to break them out of ‘work mode’ and have them talking to you like a friend.
3. Internet conversations do not count. It has to be a real-life interaction.
Ultimately you are the only one who will be policing yourself on these rules. When I set this challenge for one of my previous clients who was a computer programmer and worked odd hours; on the days that he couldn’t get out in the real world to approach and talk to strangers he would just open up the phone book, pick up a name and have a conversation with the person on the other end of the line.
You don’t have to socialize with a beautiful stranger, although you might find that more rewarding, it can be anyone you want to talk to. Maybe they are waiting in line with you at the supermarket, maybe they are sitting next to you on the train, it doesn’t matter, so long as you socialize and engage with someone on a personal level.
This challenge is all about breaking down the invisible barriers we put between ourselves and the world of people around us. The more strangers you talk to, the more you will begin to relate with the world about you and the more you will begin to like humanity as a whole.
This is my challenge, if you think you have what it takes I suggest you put up a journal on the Player Forum and that way we can give you some positive feedback as you go along.
Best of luck!
By Kieran Black[social_share\]