It’s no secret that we are becoming known as a society who has become incredibly disconnected. Our relationships have become defined by how much we like and comment on each other’s posts on social media.
Any casual banter with the person next to us in an elevator, in the doctor’s office waiting room or at the store has been replaced with our faces in our phones.
We exchange more text messages than we do phone calls.
We are too busy trying to get tasks done that we don’t even notice the people that are around us while we are doing them.
Hand raised… I’m as guilty as anyone.
That’s why - especially in a world that is struggling to find peace, positivity and common ground right now - it’s so important that we start finding ways to connect again on a human level. Or should I say… that we start MAKING TIME to connect again.
I know, I know—time.
There’s not enough of it already and now we have to MAKE TIME among all of the other things we already don’t have time for to do something else?
Actually, yes. Yes we do.
Because it’s THAT important. It’s that important that we all start believing that the little things we do, and the meaningful encounters we have as human beings on a daily basis have an impact on this world. The kindness that we extend to a stranger or even a friend could be the thing that sets off a series of other positive things that turn into something great.
We have GOT to believe that.
But if you’re still not convinced you have enough time to make a difference, here are four SIMPLE ways to positively connect with the people around you, while doing the things that are already part of your day.
1.) While grocery shopping, find a way to compliment a stranger.
It’s safe to say that we probably encounter a minimum of 20 people while in a grocery store. I feel equally secure saying that we can find at least one of those people to whom we can offer a compliment. I don’t mean making something up… It’s about being authentic in what we say while making a conscious decision to make a positive human connection in a situation where we would normally keep to ourselves and move on.
… It’s as simple as telling a Mom with a cart full of kids how great her outfit looks. Even though she’ll have a tough time accepting your compliment, extend it anyways. She’ll reach for that shirt the next time she needs to feel good in her own skin.
… Or telling l the cashier at checkout what a great job he does if he says more to you than the standard money-coupons-receipt exchange. You never know if he has a boss who doesn’t tell him that.
… Or asking the elderly woman in front of you at the checkout line what her secret is to looking so amazing.
2.) While cooking dinner, add a couple of extra servings to the oven and take it to your neighbor or friend
We all know that coming up with dinner ideas and finding the time to make them every week is a struggle. So if you’re having a night where you actually have the ingredients and have enough to throw a little extra in the pan… why not do it… package it… and drop it off. Is it about saving them time? Sure. But letting them know that they are thought of? That’s an even greater gift.
3.) While at a restaurant - go out of your way to approach a table with a family of young kids and let them know they’re doing a good job.
Parents are currently raising the next generation of humans. It’s kind of important… and it’s really not easy. We question ourselves. We are not sure if we are doing things right. The world keeps getting scarier. It is stressful and sometimes that anxiety gets in the way of us being at our best. Giving a parent some outside validation might not make things easier, but it absolutely gives them a little confidence to keep trying. And is there anything our world needs more right now than parents who are relentlessly trying to raise good people?
4.) When you go to open Facebook to aimlessly browse, grab a note card instead.
In this day of emails, texts and social media-ing, the handwritten note has become a lost art - so when you go to the mailbox and find the handwritten envelope in the midst of all of the ads and bills - it’s a little bit of an awesome thrill in the middle of an otherwise mundane daily task.
… Whether you send it to another Mom to remind her what a great job she’s doing.
… Or you address it to a friend at their job and include a quote that might help them through whatever they are dealing with.
… Or you send it over to the manager of a business that you frequent and let them know about an employee who does an incredible job. Imagine that person standing in the morning meeting hearing that read in front of their peers.
I assure you these things will mean more than our “like” that we would have put on a post about what our acquaintance ate for dinner that day.
These aren’t the only acts we can do. And these acts aren’t huge.
But while one small act might not change the world, if we all put ours together, we just might be able to make it a little better…