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. 🙂