In former times it was normal to chat with people whom we met on our way. We said “hello” when others were crossing our path, even if we didn’t know them at all. Today we pass each other, staying silent, looking towards the floor or to the horizon, pretending not to notice the other human being. When that is impossible, like in an elevator, we feel awkard, drawing back into ourselves and hoping the elevator would quickly arrive and save us from the exposure to the stranger.
Doing so we miss on out huge opportunities of reconnecting to life. Humans are social creatures, but most of us have bought into an exaggerated individualization which has led us to separate from others, to shield ourselves from connection and intimacy – to our collective detriment.
It takes an act of courage to step out and actively engage with people we meet in our lives and whom we have never seen before. Talking to them when we feel that they might be open to connection is a way to learn about their stories, their lives. We will discover that they are far more interesting than we had thought, that we can learn from their experience and, after all, that we have a lot in common.
Our guest Kimberly Speight set a challenge for herself to speak to 100 people she had never met before in 100 days. And, yes, it was a challenge and she took it on with curiosity and confidence. Her experience with talking to these people who she met in waiting situations, in shops or airplanes was overwhelming positive. She saw how people opened up when someone was really interested in their story and truly listening to what they have to share. And she realized her own development in communication skills and self confidence. A win-win situation which she has now crystallized in her book “I need to know you”
Enjoy our conversation about that challenge and how we can support each other in stepping out of the isolation which has become the societal norm in our western countries.