What is normal?
I went to my local convenience center to throw some trash away yesterday. As I was throwing my bags into the compactor an older lady pulled beside me to do the same.
I like to listen to podcasts a lot so I had my earbuds plugin. The thought to say hello, good morning, or maybe even help her with her trash crossed my mind but I hesitated for a second. It looked like she had a lot on her mind and didn’t really want to talk and it didn’t look like she had a lot of trash anyway.
But I did it anyway.
She only had one bag so she was finished unloading before I finished my so I simply asked how she was doing and then we had a 10-second conversation. No, I didn’t solve her biggest problem or lead her to Christ but the look on her face changed. Come to think about it, the look on my face changed as well. We were both smiling.
We live in such a plugged-in culture now. Everyone is chin down looking at a screen or ears plugged listening to something that human interaction seems weird and uncommon.
Be weird and talk to someone
Do you want to make a difference?
Well, simply talking to someone could make a huge difference in their day. It might not solve whatever problem they’re going through — but it might take their mind off of it for a brief moment. You probably won’t hit it off and immediately become best friends — but they might just have needed someone to notice them.
I’ve seen this with cashiers. Typically they look stressed because of the long lines, lack of breaks, standing all day, and probably rude customers. So I try to be intentional and ask how they are.
I could be wrong, but it seems like this changes the dynamics of the transaction. I believe the reason is that, if only for one customer, they don’t feel like my biggest concern is for them to hurry up and get me out of there, even if it might be. Obviously, some don’t want to talk and some will look at you like a weirdo, but some don’t and that’s why we should do it. For the few that it makes a difference.
So try being weird today and talk to someone. It might be:
- a cashier at the grocery store
- a waiter at your favorite restaurant
- the bank teller at the bank you’ve been going to for two years
- your coworker
All it takes is a little bit of intentionality, but it can make a big difference in their day and yours.