Updated: May 12
Make the first move. This probably doesn’t surprise you, but I don’t have a lot of hesitancy to strike up a conversation with someone I don’t know, aka ‘unsuspecting victims.’
I talk to people in restaurants, in lineups, in airports and in hotel lobbies. The other day I had a great conversation with a guy at the gas station. I life-coach my uber drivers …
When I walk my dog I say hello or make the peace sign to people I might see while I’m walking or I might wave across the parking lot. It’s an acknowledgment, I am saying “I see you” and I am also trying to say, even from a distance “I’m a good person, friendly and aware of you.”
When I was about 9 years old and out running errands with my father he let a guy in another car merge into the traffic lane ahead of us. The man waved, my father waved, it was a simple social transaction that happens all the time, but what my father said to me has stuck for 41 years.
“Kindness and manners Dennis, when one person doesn’t let another person in, when the other person doesn’t say thank you, the whole thing falls apart.”
Here is the gamble you take when you make the first move …
When you’re willing to drop your guard and break the barrier and make the connection, you humanize yourself. You trade reluctance and fear for connection and humanity.
When we listen to the lizard, when we tune ourselves out to what is happening, when seeing opportunities to insert ourselves but we don’t, then we are ignoring the opportunity to connect something magical that spreads and lasts.