Truth time: I embarrass my kids sometimes. Really. I do. I have this thing about striking up conversations with people. My kids, who are 26, 22, and 19 are pretty much used to it now, but it doesn’t stop them from rolling their eyes or shaking their heads. But no, I am not a crazy stalker.
Sometimes it is just a comment about something with which I can connect to the other person. For instance, in line at the grocery I may comment on how good the pack of cookies look that the person in front of me is purchasing. Or maybe how I have never tried that brand of whatchamacallit that they are purchasing and follow-up with something like “Since you are buying it, I assume it is pretty good?”
About 97% of the time, the person will respond and a small conversation will ensue. It makes the monotonous task of standing in line pass more quickly. If someone beats me to this tactic, it makes me feel better. Sort of like a validation of my presence.
Also, I issue compliments to people. A lot. By the time they are reading this part, my kids are doing the head shake, eye-roll thing right now. But I’ll bet they are smiling, too!
It takes almost zero effort to complement someone, and you never know how much of an effect it can on their day.
Today I was on a chat with a customer service rep (CSR) and the conversation started this way:
CSR: Thank you for contacting Audible.com,Alicia. My name is Sharmaine. I can certainly look into this for you.
Me:Thank you, Sharmaine. Love your name.
CSR Sharmaine: Thank you for that. Alicia. You name is beautiful too.
Me: Thank you. Yours sounds like a character that should be in a medieval novel. She would definitely be the heroine.
CSR Sharmaine: Thank you for that, Alicia. I appreciate it. 🙂
This took very little time and she was checking on my issue all the while. It was a very pleasant experience. Considering that she is a CSR on the support line, I imagine she gets some irritated customers, so this let her know that I was NOT one of those. I was going to be an easy-peasy assignment.
Besides, I meant what I typed. I am pretty sure a “Sharmaine” could be married to a Knight of the Round Table and completely able to take care of herself when her Knight is out protecting the land. She is probably a favorite confidant of Guinevere . ( I sort of have a runaway imagination.)
I am pretty confident that Sharmaine left that customer call feeling better than she had when she accepted it. I also left the call with my issue resolved and feeling happy with a story of Guinevere and Sharmaine prancing through my brain. A win-win situation if ever there was one.
You never know how much that person may need to hear something nice at just that moment. If someone is being surly to you, usually it is because something else has gone wrong in their day. This act might just turn their day around!
Trust me, I know. I have had that experience myself. There is a guy who used to work with me who always found something to complement. There were several times that I just didn’t feel great and honestly wanted to find a rock under which I could hide. But it always seemed that he would show up at just the right moment with a complement and my whole attitude would change. Just. Like. That.
When I say these things, I am being real. I am being honest. Not condescending. People know when you don’t mean what you say. I don’t believe in the saying “If you can’t say something nice…” I just generally try to find something nice to say just to be friendly. Even if I am the one having the bad day. It truly makes me feel better. I swear!
Learn to accept compliments. Don’t try to turn them down or around. This one is one of the hardest for me.
Person 1: “Pretty dress.”
Person 2: “Oh, this dress is so old.”
Person 1: “I love your hair.”
Person 2: “Oh, it’s such a mess right now.”
Come on. Accept that comment at face value. I can goad you on this, as I used to be terrible at accepting complements! But then I realized that I was taking away the joy from the person giving the complement. Basically saying “You have no idea what you are taking about.” And y’all, that is WRONG! Being gracious is an admirable quality.
So give and accept those complements. And let them seep into your skin and make your day so much better!
Do any of you ever talk to random strangers? If so, what do you talk about? How do you start your conversations? I’d love to hear! Really. I would!