And rightly so. Being with others makes us feel safe, secure. Community anchors us in the midst of a confusing and overwhelming world. Having others around us, orients us to what matters to them, and what matters to us. And if we’re paying attention, we can usually learn something new from people we talk to.
I have to say, some of the best discussions I’ve had with people have been with people I’ve never met before. I find it easier to talk to them, than a lot of other people, at times. There’s no emotional baggage, there’s no interpersonal history to contend with, there’s just two people filling the space between them (for however long) with ideas and information (for whatever purpose).
Last week, in fact, I had a great conversation with the car dealership shuttle driver who was giving me a ride home while my van was being worked on. We’d never met before, and we’ll probably never cross each other’s paths again, but we had a great discussion about the area we lived in, its history, and routes we drive (or avoid) for our commutes.
You wouldn’t think it was such a life-changing experience, but it was genuinely a great time — lots of interesting info and tips exchanged, ideas swapped, jokes told… Come to think of it, that was the kind of conversation that makes a real difference. It was the kind of exchange that enriches your life and also gives you valuable context for the world you live in. Learning more about the area you moved to… getting inside information on what roads are terrible at what time of day… finding out about what’s going on in the area…
Yep, those actually are life-changing experiences.
And we need them. We crave them. So much, that we’ll go out of our way to find them, and we’ll seek them out some more.
When the shuttle driver dropped me off, he asked if I needed a ride back to the dealership to pick up my car at the end of the day. I told him no, I had already lined up a ride.
I was good.