Archive for the ‘positive outlook’ Category

I was at a function today. Created to welcome new families into the school community.

It’s not really like other “normal” communities. Because it is an international school where people come and go like it’s Grand Central Station. People move like I change my underwear. Due to the nature of business. Not my business. Theirs.

At any given table you can have an American, Norwegian, Dutch, German and Nova Scotian sitting there wondering what to do next.

I did see many folks sitting alone while waiting for their children to return from a grade level orientation. Three people at one table not talking to each other. Painful to watch. Utterly.

But I get it. I was there sitting at that same table a year ago. Waiting for my child to have her math exams. And I stepped out of my comfort zone then and said, “Hi, I’m Mary!” And ended up becoming friends with four of the women there that day. I happen to be spending the day with one tomorrow.

It stinks. Being the new person. And not everyone can extend their hand and say, “Hi, I’m Mary.”

But I tell you this. I am trying to approach these situations as if I were hosting in my home and glancing to see if someone needs a refill , some more food on their plate or just someone to talk to.

So, I spied the three women sitting at a table (while I am having a conversation with friends) and not talking to each other. All in the same boat but too shy to reach out. Again, so painful to watch.

I went over and said,”Hey, hey, why so sad over here? ”

And proceeded to ask the ages of their kids, where they hailed from and their names.

Granted I might not remember any of it. It’s just important that they do.

But by the time I left there was communication. I even called my girlfriends over with a “Hey, c’mere, another Canadian over here.” And my friends took over…..

My point is this. It’s really not easy for me. Every time I approach a person I could be rejected. It is outside of my comfort zone. But I remember what it was like to be alone in a foreign country for the first time. And someone extending their hand was like a lifesaver to me. I have stood awkwardly, trying to inch my way into places, only to be on the sidelines while people familiar with each other carry on as if I weren’t there.

It’s so important to be the one that doesn’t cave into familiarity.

It can make the difference in the dinner conversation with husband (who is probably beside himself hoping the family will acclimate) that night. “Oh, it stunk. No one said hi. I hate this place.” Or “I met someone who lived in our town.” Or “I met someone from our country. And we are going to lunch Wednesday. I think I am going to like this place.”

It can color someone’s experience. You can color someone’s experience.

My advice is this. If you are in a social situation or at a new people function try treating them as if they were a guest in your home. Ask if they need anything. Try and find common ground between them and another guest. If not, try to find common ground with them. Make sure their glass is full.

Be that person. You will know. You see that person sitting there alone. Different color, different religion, or different age. Or the same as you. But alone. Step out of your comfort zone. And say, “Hi, I’m……….”

I guarantee you nothing bad will come of it. I swear.

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