My ex-husband would always berate me when I spoke to a stranger. He would wait , thank God, until the person was out of earshot, and then the lecture would begin. “Why do you talk to people you don’t know?” “How do you know they aren’t annoyed by you invading their space?”
Well, first and foremost, I am a people person. I love to meet new individuals and discover what they do and where their from. I truly, cannot think of one incident where someone treated me with anything but delight that I had engaged them. My retort to my ex was always the same. “They might have been strangers before, but they’re not anymore.”
He was never amused by my response, but thats part of the reason we’re not together anymore. His life revolved around safety and not making waves. Talking to people he didn’t know could be embarrassing. What if they ignored him or acted uninterested? I on the other hand came from a family of smoozers.
I was born into an Italian family from Brooklyn. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and if they didn’t they soon would. Wherever I went with a member of my family you could be sure that they would engage someone they never met and eventually bring them into the fold. Not all of them became a permanent part of the clan. But many of them did and it helped create the fabric of my life. My books have reflected the many characters I met and their stories have been woven into my work as a stress management consultant.
Over the years I have noticed that as a culture we have become more and more distanced from one another. I know that technology has something to do with it, but the wedge that has been driven between us has also been driven by the constant fear messages the media fills us with. What if I talk to someone who might stab me if they don’t like the way I look. Or, what if I inadvertently touch someone that is riddled with the latest plague? And after all, doesn’t everyone want to simply get where their going? They don’t want to take any time to simply have a pleasant chat with a stranger?
How sad, not to realize that the world is made up of many fascinating people that could enrich our lives if we simply said “hello”. Just smiling at someone helps create a connection. Unfortunately we are getting so used to looking down at a gadget in the hopes that someone is trying to reach us, that we have forgotten how to reach out to those around us. Remember when you’re looking up you see the world, when you look down all you see is the ground.
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