I’m weird in probably many ways. But in particular, this: I love meeting new people. I love small talk. I love small talk that grows into big talk.
I used to be really terrible or terrified to talk with people, but years of working in customer service (waiting tables, barista-ing, retail, etc…) gave me plenty of practice. Plus, growing up I watched my dad, who was/is a great conversationalist. And his trick was this– ask questions. Don’t interrogate, but ask. Be interested. Listen. Develop more questions. Because what subject is everyone’s best known? Themselves.
I’ve been told I’m the “world’s worst introvert” because I can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. I talk to people in line at the grocery, at coffee shops, just about anywhere I go. I also rarely put on headphones because I feel like it’ll impede getting to talk to someone new.
Today I got to meet a new person that may become a part of my life. If they don’t, I still have a lovely afternoon where I learned about a different faith; I met a person with a lot of dreams, one who is experiencing some very tough decisions for a young person to make. I loved hearing their story. I loved giving small bits of advice (do it. have the adventure.) I loved connecting with someone I knew very little about before today.
I don’t know, there’s something very comforting and connecting in getting to hear someone’s story. It makes me feel part of something bigger. It reminds me that there are so many lives to live. You remember that your experience is so different from anyone else’s… and yet– so much alike. I’m one of seven million and my story is my own, but my struggles and pain don’t isolate me, they connect me with people. My experiences can help someone else. My smile and questions can put someone at ease. Can help them remember they’re connected, too.
What about you? Do you hate small talk? Do you wear headphones? Have you ever met anyone on a plane?