December 7, 2022
Talk To Strangers
As career professional sales folks, talking to strangers is part of our everyday routine. However, we are in a controlled environment and typically not a public place.
As we are in full swing of the holidays and merry-making, we typically turn our thoughts to the needs of those that may be alone or in need this time of year. What do we do for the rest of the year?
We have all be warned by our parents about talking to strangers or finding ourselves too often in public places with a phone in our hands, reading emails and texts, or catching up with a friend while strolling the aisles of a grocery store. We have all noticed the scene in a restaurant or airport and the number of electronic devices we engaged in. We are speaking texts or listening to music while sacrificing the opportunity for meaningful connections with others.
We are social creatures and need others in our lives, even strangers
We want a less “polarized” world, but these actions create isolation. We are social creatures and need others in our lives, even strangers. A simple smile can change a person’s day or feeling. Research shows that when we walk by another person, with no acknowledgement, there is a slight “sting” that they experience.
On the other hand, when you smile or speak to another person, they instantly feel they have value.
Consequential strangers are people in our lives, but we don’t know anything about them. It would be the barber or barista, postal carrier or store clerk. Calling them by name or asking about their kids (if you know they have kids) will make a difference in our lives and theirs.
Can I borrow a cup of sugar?
I’m sure we have all heard the phrase, “can I borrow a cup of sugar?” As a kid, I grew up with it, especially at my Grandparent’s house. Their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Parks, was an extension of our family, often doubling as the local convenience store. Food, pots, pans and baked goods were passed, literally, across the fence regularly. They always knew each other’s scheduled and kept an eye on each other’s homes and mail.
We recently moved to a new neighborhood, and I started writing down the house number and neighbors’ names to make the connection. I discovered that knowing their children’s and pets’ names could spark a conversation. We have a long way to go throughout the neighborhood but have found that Shannon, who sits outside with her dog, Cuddles, always invites our dog, Sasha, into the yard for a “play date” when we walk by. This was the first connection I felt to our new home.
Finally, when we learn something new about a fellow teammate in our work lives, we feel a connection. Whether good or bad, it will help you understand their struggles and joys. It is good for them and us and makes the world a little better.
As my friend Roseann says, “share your joys, and they’re doubled, share your burdens and they/re-cut in half”. Maybe we should ask ourselves, am I listening?
Watch Scott Galloway’s LinkedIn 30″ video clip on The Loneliness Crisis. It is good for your kids too!