by Tom Kubrak
Remember growing up and your parents and teachers might have told you to not say hello to strangers. Well… now that we understand that, I’m going to challenge you to do the opposite and say hello to strangers.
Amongst a few examples, say hi to the person in line with you at the coffee shop, in the grocery store, sitting next to you at the bar, strike up a conversation with the neighbor across the street, the mailman, the person in front of you at the apple store trying to get the new Iphone.
To many extroverts, like myself, this is something that may come relatively natural but it still isn’t easy to do. There’s always that worry that the person will just tell you to “bug off,” which tends to happen occasionally, but the few times that the person does welcome the conversation, you never know who you’ll meet and what benefits will arise from it. If you’re an introvert, you’re going to have to work at it, just like all of us had to do at one point… practice.
A little story… I finally introduced myself to this person after seeing him multiple times at a local music cafe in my town. We talked for only a few minutes, but found out we both have a passion for writing. After our conversation we exchanged numbers and ‘put it on the table’ to hopefully meet again soon. Since that experience, we both started a writing group and meet up regularly to discuss our writing projects. Not to mention the fact that we live on the same street! My writing has drastically improved and I now have a friend that has already helped me out in more ways than I can count. I never would have had this opportunity either if I decided to keep my mouth shut and not introduce myself. This person has also turned into a client for my business and has helped me out in so many ways.
You might still be telling yourself, “Dude, your crazy, I have enough friends. They help me out and we hang out all the time. I don’t have any time for another friend!”
We all have time but it’s up to you how you want to allocate the time you have. The relationships you already have with people will still be there but that opportunity to say “hi” to someone in line at Chipotle will not always be there.
You might still be telling yourself, “But I’m an Introvert I don’t like talking to people. I get really nervous around people.”
Believe it or not I used to get really nervous around people I didn’t know too. How I got over that… I talked to them. Yes, it took time, but I had to start sooner or later.
Challenge yourself, by talking to one new person a day. It’s probably not going to be comfortable the first few times but you’ll finally be able to take your training wheels off and ride with the big kids after a little while.
Think about how you met the top friends in your life. Did they just fall out of the sky and say, “Hi I’m your friend!”
Of course they didn’t. That’s a little crazy. Usually, it was from an awkward circumstance that somehow turned into a conversation and then turned into a long lasting friendship.
Don’t forget that. Don’t be satisfied with what you have. Keep pushing for more. Whether it’s in friendships or just what you want in life. You not only deserve it for yourself but there’s someone out there who needs you more than you can possibly imagine.
“Every moment is an opportunity.” -Anonymous