if there is one thing i know, it is that my friends will continue to laugh at me, my parents will worry about my safety, and my boyfriend will roll his eyes about the problem i have with strangers. and i guess the problem is that i don’t know any strangers, really. or at least not for long. you see, i have a habit of becoming friends with people before we have met, before i even know their name, and before they even care to know mine.
in fact, in seventh grade, an adorable tiny girl and i walked to and from first hour together, and then from fifth period to our lockers, to lunch. she brought a brown paper bag with packed lunch every day while i always waited in line for the school lunches. i gave her my locker combination on the first day of meeting her because i couldn’t figure out how to open mine. we each carried our entire stack of books together to all of our classes-out of fear of being late. i had heard her name before since we had three classes together, but i can clearly remember wearing my blue jean dress and my hair in a clip as we passed by the band room when i introduced myself to her for the first time. we’d been walking all over the school with a pile of textbooks, binders, and notebooks for several days before formally introducing ourselves to one another and agreeing to be friends.
and so here i am, 24 years old, continuing to talk to strangers. (as a side note, i can assure you i mean this in the safest way possible and that i understand how dangerous this sounds, i would also argue that i have enough sense to know when to protect my safety.) because the thing about friends is that they always start out as strangers. and i genuinely enjoy the process of getting to know someone, to understand who they are and what they want to do in the world. i like the idea of forming friendships.
in the last month, i’ve had three cups of coffee and three interesting conversations with people i knew little about. i’d like to think that i’ve also become friends with three new people too. i should preface this by saying that they weren’t complete strangers (good old social media) and that we have several mutual friends in common. what’s important to me is that we met. in real life. for a real conversation. we put our phones away, and we talked. not about the weather or about people, but about things of more value. we don’t do that enough anymore. slow down, and if you don’t have the time, make the time. it’s worth it you know.
those conversations are the kinds of things that matter most to me. because connecting through facebook is no comparison to getting to know someone in real life. there is something beautiful about drinking hot coffee and being genuine about where you are now, where you have been, and where you would like to go. i love how soon two people can relate to one another and how interesting conversations have the potential to be when you can wipe away all of the extra details and talk from the heart.
and so i challenge you to exactly that.
a cup of coffee and a heart conversation.
i’d like to think that the world would be a much friendlier place with less strangers.
make a new friend today.