Do Talk to Strangers

noticers talk to strangers nadinewouldsay

The hostess smiled and greeted me. Before she could ask me how many I asked her how the day was. I waited for her response and chatted for a quick minute or two.

It was a Tuesday but there was a big conference in town so they were packed like a Friday with midweek staff. I mentioned that I had previously been a hostess and we bonded over that. We chatted about something I can’t remember for a minute or so.

Eventually I said I was with a party and she led me to them.

I forgot about her immediately. I was now with my friends and happy as a clam. Whatever that means.

About two hours later when my friends and I were leaving, she stopped me and thanked me for caring for her night.

What? Oh that two minute dialogue that I barely remembered? I smiled and nodded and wished her a cheery night.

It took nothing for me to genuinely ask her how the night was going. I did not do anything special. It was not fantastic.

I’m trying to emphasize how little of an effort it took for me to care for her in the moment we met.

There have been more than a few times when strangers have thanked me for listening to them and giving them a minute or two or my time.

These moments aren't magical for me. I'm not sitting with a fairy wand excited to do something magic. I'm just willing to slow down my day sometimes to ask someone about theirs.

Noticers aren't afraid of talking to strangers.

I catch the gaze of the guy who hands out the free newspaper every morning and wish him a happy day. Sometimes he smiles back and sometimes he looks just as tired as he did a few seconds before I smiled. It doesn't really matter to me if it makes his day. What matters is to notice.

I could list off the names of the baristas that work at the café on campus (Kelly, Betty, Jenny, Jim, Peter, and the new girl who I keep forgetting to ask her name). Sashi runs the cafeteria on campus. Mike sits outside the grocery store all day everyday. I have a post about him coming up later this month if I'm brave enough to share it.

I'm not sharing these names to brag that I happen to be good at remembering names. I'm actually not good at remembering names. But I work at it. Because I think people matter.

People are worth noticing.

Are you a noticer? I hope so.

Share below ways you're intentional to engage with the various people who fill up the "extra" parts of your day. Like when you're in line for coffee, getting the deli meat, or waiting for the bus. Or anywhere! I'd love to hear.