How often do you pass by people, barely managing a smile? How often do you ask someone how they’re doing, let alone spitting out a “hi” every now and then? I had an interesting conversation with someone today—yes, a conversation—about how she had become distant and disengaged from the people in her world. She told me, “I couldn’t tell you who I sat next to on a plane for a million dollars.”
Are you living your life like this?
Are you getting your Starbucks without greeting your barista that you’ve seen a dozen times? Are you recognizing the waiter, the store clerk, and the librarian that you’ve seen day in and day out or do you just hand over the money and walk away? It can be all too easy to ignore people if we feel slightly inclined. I can’t quite figure why because these moments of intended ignorance are often more awkward than if we would just have the “awkward conversations” in the first place. And let’s be honest, these chats are rarely as awkward as we make them out to be in our minds. Keeping to ourselves only keeps us in a lonely place, so we do we keep ourselves there?
This summer has been a huge learning experience in terms of meeting people. Before my internship, I had kept to myself a bit and I’ll admit, I did the stare-at-your-shoes or talk-busily-on-the-phone gesture every now and then. But once I started working, there was no opportunity for shyness. Which brought me to realize–there is no warrant for intended shyness (or quite frankly, rudeness) in any situation, be it work related, a social gathering, or a mere encounter.
So I encourage you to strike up a conversation with the people you come across in your everyday life—I can guarantee you’ll feel happier when you do. It may not be easy or natural at first, because I believe we are taught to live in a culture that keeps to themselves, but I think it’s time that we start communicating as much as possible. You’ll notice that you smile more, laugh more, and think more when you take the time to ask relevant questions and engage with others. You never know what a conversation will bring.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook