Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 6 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 6 -Start a conversation with a stranger today

If you are following this blog everyday - my friend Juliette had a great suggestion - Get a note pad or journal and each day write, "What did I learn today?" At the end of the month you will have 30 nuggets to share with others and remember yourselves when needed. I am starting mine today.

Well, it 9pm and I am determined to get this out today. I've been away from my computer all day so this may be short today. I have been to many stores today looking for a dress for my son's wedding. That is a story in itself, but I will stay focused on the task at hand.

I have to tell you I was so mad at myself for putting this challenge on the list. I normally am pretty outgoing and love talking to people but to tell you the truth I do get a little nervous approaching a stranger to talk to them. I think it is a rejection thing. So I'm not sure this was one of my best days but I will share what happened. The great thing about a challenge like this is each day will not always work as planned but we still learn from it.

I was at a local mall scurrying along in search of my dress, I was more aware of those around me than I normally am because I knew I needed to find a stranger to talk to - this was a good thing because it did make me observe and think about others. I was walking along when a saw an elderly gentleman who looked somewhat confused - I looked at him and he looked at me and I said, "Can I help you with anything?" He had very broken English and said something but I didn't understand so I smiled and said, 'I'm sorry can you repeat what you said." He then said a little slower, "I'm looking for lunch." It dawned on me he was looking for the food court, so I asked him if that was what her meant and he smiled and said, "Yes". So I told him how to get to the food court from where we were standing. He very graciously thanked me and when on his way. After he left I felt a little disappointed in I thought about our conversation I realized I should have gone a step further and walked with him to the food court. Well, like I said these things don't always turn out like we had hoped but I did learn something from it - although I was more observant of those around me I still was so wanting to get my stuff done that I didn't take time to think if there was more I should do. A good lesson to learn for the day and one I will keep in mind for next time.

Just for fun I've included a link to "how to start a conversation with a stranger" you never know when God will bring someone into your path to touch there life in some way:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 (New International Version)

Tomorrow: clean one area of clutter in my home.


Cindy said...

I'm sitting here in the den cleaning one area of clutter (my computer desk) when I got the e-mail notifying me today's post was published on your blog.

I was so busy today at home I kind of forgot about today's assignment to be honest. I did run one errand- to Home Depot and of course I struck up a conversation with someone in the plant department without even thinking. So I guess I'm on track for today and ahead of tomorrow's assignment. That's a refreshing change.

It was nice of you to help the man find the food court. I think the lesson is to always be more aware of others than we are of ourselves. We keep a helpful, serving attitude that way don't you think.
Happy day, Coach.
Cindy@Priceless Gain

Juliette said...

During this day’s challenge I think I can declare my life’s purpose and specific calling – it is to have an open heart and a sense of adventure.

I was up at 6am and went for my walk thinking I wouldn’t see many as the sun rose. Almost all were strangers to me and I decided to test out what their responses would be to my morning greeting. Each was across the street when I encountered them with little opportunity for prolonged conversation. Here are the ones bearing mentioning -
1. The barely known neighbor always smiles to me and I asked about his recent hunting trip for pheasant.
2. The very cautious young woman with the Rottweiller who says nothing to anyone but always says hi when I greet her. I think she is just very shy but knows that my response is genuine. She always waits for me to say hi first but gazes at me until I speak. I watch her pass others without interaction. Mine was the only greeting she gave.
3. The speed walker had a bright smile and hello way before I could focus. I smiled more exuberantly, thinking I wonder if how I express life will make a difference.
4. The portly gentleman walking his very small terrier sees me from a distance, but turns his head when we pass. On the way back I encountered him again and made sure that I did not lose eye contact so that he would have to acknowledge my hello and he did.
5. The young mother walking her jogging stroller – my first really big, full of life, and I am glad to see you – hello. Her smile and greeting gave me the same response.
6. The neighbor down the road who walks her paralyzed dog with a special harness, holding up the useless back legs while the front ones continue to walk as freely as always. The dog seems not to mind or even notice a difference. I don’t even know her name but she has lived in the neighborhood many years and we are ‘friendly strangers’ to each other. I am always glad to exchange pleasantries because we share a love for all animals – hers especially for Shetland sheepdogs and mine cats and German shepherds.

The rest of the day –

I agree with Cindy in that having an increased awareness of those around us, give us the opportunity to get involved or not. I had lunch with a long time friend, and I knew the waitress from before. No new ground was to be gained. As I was driving home I thought there was not going to be another opportunity for an adventure into the unknown. I stopped by the library to drop some things off. While I was walking up to the door, there was a young girl behind me talking on her cell. She closed off her conversation with a terse ‘alright, dad. I know!’ I did not gaze back, in a hurry to complete my task so I didn’t see what she looked like. I stepped into the elevator and a high schooler stepped in with me. As the door closed I was tempted to ask her if she had been the one on the phone. I paused. My gaze must have been probing, and I might have had a slight smile rethinking the conversation, because she smiled broadly at me and said hello. I replied. Then noticed that she was wearing the most bizarre outfit, a black knit dress over a pair of jeans, a white cowl and a blue t-shirt knit cap that extended at the top much like an elf’s hat. She could have passed for a member of a cult. I thought I could also ask her about her outfit to generate the conversation and as I opened my mouth the elevator door opened and she was gone. Disappointment. I wanted to call her back. I could have had the most marvelous story to share and it got away from me. You see, I have always talked to strangers, much to the chagrin of my husband and son. Many was the time that they would walk away knowing that I would start probing for details and increase their uncomfortableness. I find those details to be fascinating and people always respond to my inquiries. I hope I see that girl again.

CoachK said...

I can imagine talking to a stranger at the plant department is a regular occurance for you but like you said, it probably was noticed more today. :)

I was happy to help the man at the mall but really wish I had taken it a step further. But I will remember for next time.

Doesn't it feel good to have that clutter cleaned up! :)

CoachK said...

I always love your observations. I know this is a regular occurance for you also - you have no problem and in fact enjoy conversing with strangers, but it was interesting to see how it looked when it was your focus for the day.

Hope you got your yard clutter all done!