Everyone has a story.
Some are dramas, while others might be comedies or even horror stories. But nonetheless we all have something that defines us. My entire life, I have been curious about people. My friends laugh at me when we are on the golf course, especially if a new person joins the foursome. David or Shelly will say, “Well, it’s time for Hal’s interview.”
What is equally frustrating for my wife and literally drives her nuts is when I ask the waiter or waitress while they are taking our order, a bunch of questions about their life.
My wife came to the restaurant to eat, not to have them sit with us and share their dreams and ambitions with us.
Maybe it’s the curiosity I was born with, or that my undergraduate degree in sociology was a good choice because it refers to the study of the development, structure and functioning of human society. Either way, people fascinate me.
The problem is I am as guilty of a bad habit that so many other people have as well.
We rush through life and sometimes are more focused on our electronics, wanting to read the next email or text or whatever platform of social media we might be using. In other words, our faces are buried in our telephones and we stopped looking at people’s eyes, smiles and focusing on them rather than our devices. Think about it, when you are on vacation, do you engage more with strangers?
Everyone you meet has a passion for something, and until we ask a few questions and find out about them in a sincere and genuine manner, we will never know what the other person is all about.
This could involve a deep meaningful conversation or just a tiny bit of fact finding to have a nice dialogue on something other than the current topic of the day, weather or sports. When we truly connect with someone, we feel good about the interaction, what we might have learned about them, or even what we might have shared about ourselves.
The one great thing about getting older is you tend to think more about things that are important, and with age comes the importance of relationships, whether they are family or friendships.
This might sound a bit sappy, but I do feel the more we learn about others, the more we learn about ourselves. Either way, we all desire some sort of happiness which is usually derived from other people that we spend time with.
Next time you meet someone, even if it’s for a fleeting moment, think about that other person, rather than yourself. Do they have a story to tell, can you learn something from them or maybe you are just being fascinated with an answer to a question you might have asked them?
You will never find out anything about other people until you ask. Remember being a kid and all you did is just want to play? Possibly, you were on a playground and you went up to the kid around you and just simply said to them, “Wanna play.”
We can still do that, but instead of playing, we can have a conversation, and play as adults while still keeping that childlike curiosity. We can just play differently.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.