I was watching an episode of a show called GIRLS and there is a character Mimi-Rose Howard who storms in for a couple of episodes as this beautiful and eccentric artist. In one particular episode she is sitting in a cab and for no reason at all says to the cab driver “Your name is Adeem?” the driver replies “Yes” then Mimi says “That is a really beautiful name.” Adeem’s face lights up with surprise and he can’t help but blush and thank her for her kindness. I bet she made his day.
How often do you ask for or acknowledge the name of the people you encounter? When was the last time you were in a cab, at a Starbucks, or really anywhere, and when someone asks you “How are you today?” you respond with anything other than “Good and you?” while you look at your phone, the menu, or walk away. You may never see that person again outside of your 2-5 min. encounter so maybe you think you won’t make a difference in their life, it doesn’t really matter, or you’re distracted by your own thoughts. I am definitely guilty of this.
We forget so quickly that we are all human. That grey haired mother of two cashing you out at the grocery store. The young female athlete in the picture you are commenting on. The high school graduate working as a barista to pay of his pending college debt. All of them have a name, a family, maybe a lover, a dog, some amazing talents, a wealth of knowledge and a story – have you ever asked them?
You might say we can connect all the time in infinite ways, whether it be via email, text, phone, social media, etc. However, it is a double edged sword. The “screen” makes it easier to forget that the person on the other side is a real person with feelings and emotions. All while the instant and constant connection makes it a lot harder to be present with those right in front of you.
I want to be like Mimi-Rose. I want to see a 2-5 minute interaction as an opportunity to make someone’s day, leave them a little better than when I got there, or at the very least make them smile. I want to ask questions, give compliments, and acknowledge people because they are human.
- Give someone a compliment just because (“Your hair is such a beautiful color”)
- Ask someone anything other than “How are you?” – try “Has anything exciting happened today?” “Do you have plans for this weekend? – I heard it might rain” “Are you from this city? How long have you lived here?”
- Call someone by their name and if you don’t know it, ask for it. “What was your name?” “Mike” “Thank you Mike, you were very helpful I really appreciate it”
- Keep technology for designated times when you couldn’t be missing a connection right in front of you.
- Smile more, and make eye contact.
You can make someone’s day and you might be surprised at how much it makes yours too.