Over a decade ago I met a very special person. When we first met, I asked him what he did for a living. His response to me was that he was simply an observer of human behavior. I really connected with that as a job description and decided to adopt it for my own personal and professional life. After spending ten plus years as an observer of human behavior, I’ve noticed an enormous pattern in that most adults rarely talk to strangers.
I’ve spent seven of those ten years paying close attention to observing the human behavior of children. The differences I’ve observed between adults and children when it comes to interacting with strangers, is astounding.
One time, while waiting in line to use a public restroom, a three-year-old girl who I had never seen before, made eye contact with me and asked if I wanted to hear her sing. My response was “Sure!” and away she sang. When she finished we had a lengthy conversation about music and how much she loves to sing. I’ve witnessed hundreds of children who can’t resist having a chat with complete strangers, adults and other children alike. I’ve concluded that children more often display their innate and authentic interest in other human beings.
As a child, I, like many children, was taught to never talk to strangers and to be very fearful of strangers. Based on my observations, most of us carry this caution with us through adulthood. However, I often wonder what life would be like if adults were as friendly to complete strangers as children often are.
There is much for us to learn here. Think about the last time you stood in line at the bank or grocery store with complete strangers. Did you strike up a conversation with the stranger standing next to you? My guess is, likely not. And it might not have even occurred to you to do so. At most, adults acknowledge strangers with a nod of the head or half-hearted smile. Adults effortlessly walk through their days often not even really seeing the strangers who pass through their lives, carrying with them the caution that they shouldnever talk to strangers.
So my question for you is this: How different would this world be if all human beings allowed their innate and authentic curiosity for other human beings to be part of every day? How would your life be different? What kind of place would our world be if everyone took this approach? Want to find out? Try it for a day! Talk to strangers! I’m not saying to be na•ve and to make poor choices. I’m suggesting that you try out assuming positive intentions of others and pave the way to be interested in a stranger.
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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International