Immaculate suits, scruffy shoes, plugged into i-pods, clutching a bunch of flowers, glum faces, excited faces, dowdy, trendy, dressed to impress, (not succeeding…) yes, they’re all here…
Pouring out of the station at 6pm, on their way home from school, college, office, lab, hospital and goodness knows where…
Each one fascinating, a story to tell, a heart to break, a mother to love, a cat/dog to greet them, an empty flat to return to, a luxury car to travel home in…
And I have no idea what any of these people ‘do’, how they spent today, will spend tomorrow, or how they spent yesterday.
They are simply interesting, intriguing, to me, waiting in the car park for my husband to come home from what he does every week day.
I’ve been thinking.
Why is it that all that people seem to care about when they meet us for the first time, is what we ‘do’?
You know the scene-
A drinks evening.
A room full of strangers.
The hostess leads me across to one of the guests and she says-
‘Will! I’d like you to meet Linda! She’s used to teach and now she writes.’
And I’m supposed to say,
‘Hi, Will! And what do you do?’
And Will starts to be tedious, telling me he works for local government (yawn) and used to be an estate agent (yawn, yawn…)
On holiday in Greece one year we met a friendly couple and visited tavernas with them most evenings.
But, from the start, we decided not to talk about our work. We would reveal our exciting (!!!!) occupations at the end of the holiday or even hazard a guess.
It was much more fun talking about other stuff and, no, we didn’t guess right!
I received my newsletter today from Jeffrey Tang over at
and to my surprise and delight he’s writing about exactly this topic for his contributors.
So I decided to write my thoughts about it too.
He suggests one way to introduce ourselves is to say what our life’s dream is and in return to ask the stranger about theirs.
I’d like to add these for you to try next time you are introduced to a stranger.
Why not ask…
- What have you done today/this week/ this month for the first time?
- What’s on your ‘Things to do before my next birthday’ list?
- Tell me about your most proud/embarrassing/hilarious/mind blowing/mind numbing /scariest/ moment. You choose!
- Have you ever done anything as a child that you’ve never owned up to?
I’m going to try Jeffrey’s idea (I’ve told him my life’s dream) but I’m also going to try some of the above.
Do try one of these and let us know how much fun you have!