Greetings gone right

The moment when you wildly wave and cheer on your friend you pass while she’s running on the trails…

Fist pump “woot, woot, woot!” 7:48 AM

                                                                Then realize you don’t actually know them.

Common, common occurrence.

The other moment when you make a sarcastic remark about both being late to a very important meeting, then realize it’s the guest speaker/Superintendent of Education of the State you’re walking in with.

The moment you greet a stranger, have a mini-conversation then wildly greet and hug them again once you realize you actually know them and have significant history from a long time ago; you just haven’t seen them in a while.

We have many of these moments, especially if you’re a fairly outgoing networker, extroverted individual, and grew up in a small town (that probably makes a difference for some reason).

This is a really big part of my life. When I lived in a downtown neighborhood, I probably had way too many guys hit on me, because I was constantly waving and greeting people I genuinely thought I knew, then realized I didn’t. I get this from my dad, a college professor who I’d walk around campus with and regularly hear “Hey Luke! Hey Rachel. Hey Peter…. I hope that was his name.” I LOVED the moments when my dad said quickly after we walked by, “I hope that was his name.” It showed me he cared more about intentional connection and potentially getting it wrong, than appearing perfect and missing a chance to interact with his students.

He learned it from his mom. I come from a long line of extroverts that see every stranger as their next friend; I couldn’t have asked for a better inheritance.

My mind is constantly aware of any form of connection I could make with a person. If there’s not an apparent one like you’re wearing the shirt of the college I went to or you’re presently eating chocolate, I feel we’re one question away from saying, “ME TOO!” or “That is so interesting!” The conversation will then stay interesting as long as I choose to have a value for their unique perspective.

As a disclaimer, I understand that some plane-riders, grocery shoppers and bus-sitters fear people like me, maybe even detest them. Trust me, I do know how to read social cues and more often than not, the other person ends up talking more than me, carrying the conversation they thought they didn’t want to have.

The moral of the story to me today is, when you have a random act of appreciation, love, greeting, ecstatic “hello” or “I’m going to cheer you on,” just give it.

If you wait till you know if it’s a friend or not, you may miss your chance.

If you wait and realize it’s a stranger then stop, there is another stranger who just outlived a long, awkward stare from the person trying to figure out if they were a friend or not.

If you give it, your friend is pleased.

If you give it, the stranger may be confused, but they sure won’t forget it and you could’ve made their day brighter.

If you give it and they’re mad, that’s really on them although you might have something to work through about how friendly you feel like being after that point, but here’s what I think –

The world would be a bit happier place with a few more nice human gestures, encouraging interactions, and awkward moments. 

Have any spontaneous greetings to share that ended either good or bad!? Post below. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Greetings gone right

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  1. I can remember a time when I was studying in France, but was at a youth conference in Holland. While walking through the hall to go to the next session, I heard my name being called out and I didn’t recognize the person right away. With big eyes he asked, ” do you remember me? I was the foreign exchange student who was miserable and your parents took me in and cared for me the rest of the year!” Wow! Holland was a long way away from a small town in Indiana!

    During this school of ministry year, I met a couple one day whom I got to sit with during class. After the introductions, the gentlman looked at my last name in my name tag again and said…”Huh? I know someone with that last name in Wintherthur, Switzerland.” I asked, “is his name, _______?” He answered with wide eyes, “yes it is!” I was so astonished that we would know the same person from Switzerland and meet in Redding, CA. I replied with delight, “he is my uncle!” Then I saw the tears begin to well up in their eyes as I realized we were entering a sacred moment. He said, “your uncle was like a dad for me. He helped me through so much and I grew under his mentoring. Had it not been for him, I would not be here today.” Now that is a BIG wow as I realized how I was getting an amazing chance to see the fruit of my uncle and this couples’ perseverance…hey never gave up!

    At the Bethel Festival of Cultures, this past year, I was waiting in line to get a tasty Swiss Cheese Fondue and chocolate sample. Suddenly, I had an idea to ask to get my picture taken with the amazing group of Swiss volunteers behind the table. While there, one of the ladies said, “I know your name is Darlene, but how do I know you?” I asked for her name and I knew I knew her name as well!! We went through names of potential places and people in Switzerland and the US. Finally, it dawned on me. “We used to work together at the same Christian Conference center, Schloss Hunigen, in Oberdiessbach years ago!!!” Again, with great amazement, we greeted one another like old time friends who had met over 18 years ago and were now getting reconnected, state side at an International Festival in Redding, CA.

    Small world? I think so. At least it is for sure that way in Redding, CA with over 40% of the students who are international!

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