30 seconds is all it takes to make someone feel validated. To make someone feel heard. To give someone hope. The deepest desire of the human heart is to belong, to be included and to know you are seen and valued.
Although I sometimes feel small talk can be tedious, for me, it is such an important life skill I feel is worth the effort. One of my heart rules is to always speak to someone, strangers or not, if you can. It keeps us connected. It is one way we can love on other people with very little effort.
You see, I use to think that I needed a large amount of time and interaction with other people to truly get to know them or to touch their lives in some way. I have learned that all it takes is short interactions to truly hear another person’s heart.
~~Each morning I get up at 5am and I have a morning routine that I do. Part of my morning routine is to sit on my porch and read one of my books or to write in my journal. Each morning an older gentleman walks by with his dog. I had never spoken to this man before but always looked up and smiled as he passed by my house.
One day I decided to speak to him. I simply said, “Good morning. How are you today?” He told me that on this particular morning, it was a tough one. He was missing his wife he had been married to for 45 years. She passed away only 2 years prior to our interaction. He told me that she sure was a beautiful soul. I told him I would be thinking about him and I had hoped that his day would be a fantastic one with sweet memories of his love. He went on his way until the next morning.
The next morning I said to this gentleman, “Good morning. How are you today?” He told me about how his 2 boys would be coming over for dinner that evening and he was full of enthusiasm as they reminded him so much of his love that he lost. I told him to have a lovely day and to enjoy his dinner with his children. He went on his way until the next morning.
We continued this interaction almost every day and we still do. Throughout our 30 second interaction each morning, I have learned all about him and his life.
This is only one example of how we can get to know someone with little effort. We have many daily interactions with people that we may never see again and that is okay!
~~I was walking past a strangers home when a young mother came out of her house with her small child. She was crying. I said, “Hello, how are you today?” she took only a few moments to share that this particular day, she was taking her baby to daycare for the first time ever and she was scared. This momma was able to vent her frustration and fear which I can only hope helped ease her anxiety if only a little. Someone heard her.
~~I was standing in line at the grocery store and an older woman was standing behind me. I glanced back at her and simply said, “hello” and smiled. She said hello and told me she was having such a bad day. She woke up late. She ran out of gas and had to walk to a gas station. Now the long line at the grocery store was holding her up more. This woman was having a terrible day so far. I asked her to please go in front of me and I hoped that this would be the start of her day improving.
~~Any time a child looks at me with their unsure eyes, I smile a big warm smile. Kids need to know that they are seen and accepted just as they are.
~~If you think of someone today, tell them.
~~If you see a card that speaks to you and reminds you of someone, mail it.
~~If someone does something for you, thank them. Express your gratitude.
Love on people today. Be intentional with your interactions with other people. Reach out to others. Make eye contact. Smile. Be kind, always. YOU could be the difference in someone’s day. ❤