Whether you’re 6 or 86, a new beginning can be a little scary. Maybe it’s the first day of school; maybe it’s the first time at senior bingo. While a familiar face is comforting, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Even as adults we tend to stay within our comfort zone: socializing with those we already know or introduced through friends. When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a stranger?
Oddly, I was in a parking lot when this happened last week. I find it strangely coincidental when two cars parked next to each other -within a huge lot- leave at the same time. Such was the case the other day. The gentleman next to me and I were loading our trunks simultaneously.
Down several aisles, a woman was pushing a cart with her daughter in full-blown tantrum. He & I commented that we didn’t miss those days, but acknowledged that the challenges merely change as kids get older. In a five minute timespan, our conversation went from tantrums, to teens, to hockey, to food, to his declaration that he’s the owner and executive chef at a local sustainable restaurant.
I told him about Favor the Earth, and we spent a few more minutes sharing our favorite green ideas.
For those of us that are a little less social, and a little more pro-solitude, going out on a limb can be unsettling. Often times, though, the risk is worth the reward. Like finding an incredible new restaurant to try…one where you can tell your dinner guests, “I’ve met the chef!”
What would you even say? How do you begin a conversation when you’re happier observing?
The Chicago Tribune asked dozens of first graders what advice they would give incoming kindergarteners to help make friends.
“Don’t give up.” -Sean Tadevich
“Use kind words.” -Erin Kammerzell
“Don’t be afraid of the big kids.” -Briana Slaney
“Be nice.” -Jolie Petritis
Yes, sometimes it’s just that easy.