In the grocery store my son has suddenly become stiff. He has locked onto a young girl in another buggy and is unable to funtion now. Every time she looks at him he moves to hide behind my leg. Watching him shy away from her when he could have so easily made a friend sent my mind to the age-old argument of nature v.s. nurture. Did my son learn this behavior from me? Or, did he just come with the software for observing before engaging? What does he have to lose? It is so easy for me to see there are no consequences for his actions but he stands there paralyzed by some hidden force. Finally, he digs deep and bellows out a “Hey!” The girl smiles and hides.
Why has it become so hard for our generation to look someone in the eye and say “Hello?” The benefits of building relationships on this big, blue spaceship have never been greater. Since our early ancestors threw sticks at each other, learned about fire, and patiently waited for Breaking Bad to come out, tribes have made us human. We are the sum of all of us. There is someone out there that you have the tools to help. They are looking for you. They are hoping you will say hello.
I decided that I wanted to set a better example for my son and say hello more often. In the last two weeks I have made many new friends. I met a guy on the side of the road when I was out for a run and found myself at his 400 acre preserve a few days later riding mountain bikes through awesomeness. This friend had lived only a mile down the road for the last 6 years. How many good memories have I missed out on for lack of getting out there and being a friend.
Walking through the busiest airports in the world daily, I have fine tuned my facial expressions to avoid contact with others. Yesterday as I passed through multiple airports and walked by hundreds of unfamliar faces I changed up my plan and tried to really connect. I talked with several folks from near and far. Roger was going to watch his son play basketball at a prepschool, David, a salesman for Fedex was going to meet some customers. But, the highlight of the day was meeting 3 airline crewmembers from Vancouver, British Columbia. Pierre, Jeff, and Martica invited me into their gang and we spent the evening in a rental minivan tearing up Houston. We had dinner at Texas Roadhouse, took a trip to Walmart, and told beer-infused stories by the pool. Great memories, great times, and all for the low price of a smile and saying hello.
We are all humans, take a risk today.
“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Leave the name of your new friend from today in the comments below! Have a great one!