Try this: say hello

Trying new things is a great way to feel an invigorating boost in life. Occasionally, on a Monday, I’ll be posting an idea for trying something new with the details or how and why I think you should do it, too. Consider it your mission should you choose to accept it. 😀

It was a Friday morning and I was on my way into my office. I was walking down the hall that leads me there and passed the door of a woman who was relatively new to the company and to whom I’d never been introduced. We work in different departments and for two whole years, we’d never officially crossed paths. We had, of course, literally crossed paths in stairwells and hallways, but never in a scenario that would allow us to get acquainted.

I trudged past her office, noticing that all the other doors on the floor were still closed. As I got to the door that leads from her hallway into mine, I stopped, took a deep breath and walked back to her office door. I leaned in and I said, “hi.”

I’m a serious introvert. I thrive in quiet and calm. I speak with purpose and (almost) never frivolity. In all honesty, I strongly feel that the fewer words I hear in a day, the better. I often come home saying, “I wish people would talk lessssssssss.” But I did it anyway.

What came of it? Well, to start with, we chatted for about fifteen minutes and got to know each other a little. In the months that have passed, she and I have developed a fun and friendly relationship and continue to connect a couple of times a week. I like her a lot and we keep spending more and more time together. It’s nice to have someone new to debrief with even if it’s just during chance meetings throughout our days.

Reaching out and talking to a stranger can be challenging. Maybe you’re shy. Maybe you’re not interested. Maybe you feel like you already have enough friends/contacts/acquaintances. Maybe you’re exhausted and feel like you can’t give any more.

Say hello. To your neighbour, to someone you pass on the street, to the person sitting next to you. I’ve maintained friendships for years with a student who sat beside me on a flight to Hawaii, a fellow festival volunteer who waited in registration line next to me and my matron of honour is someone I stood beside at a winery tasting.

Say hello and you risk someone not saying hello back, being dismissed or being ignored. But if that happens, so what? You carry on with your day.

Say hello and you take the chance that you could end up talking with someone you really like. Say hello and you might just enjoy a momentary smile and a nice little conversation. Say hello and you could make a friend.

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If you had the Matthew Good Band song Apparitions in your head the whole time while reading this, well, I don’t know what to tell you. So did I. Interesting fact: it’s nearly impossible to find that video online which is a real shame because it is such a great one. If you never saw it or haven’t seen it in years, I encourage you to take another look at it. Also, it’s TWENTY years old this year. Sigh…

Do you have any great stories about times when you spoke to a stranger?

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