You takin’ to me?
Seriously! Who are you talking to?
In our hectic, dog-eat-dog, workaday world, where so much rests on productivity, meeting deadlines, and getting things done, we cannot forget that the people we deal with everyday are people. Frequently people walk into my office, or I see them at my daughter’s school, or around town and behave as if people are means to an end.
No, “Hi.” No, “Good Morning.”
They launch into business – usually something they want someone else to know or do. A flippant and dismissive air of , I don’t care about you, I only care about my agenda is all too clear.
It comes across as rude. And you don’t want to be rude.
Before you think I’m just ranting, all this rudeness is actually hurting you spiritually, professionally and relationally. Each day you are given a gift: People! Your relationships with people and what you can accomplish together is an opportunity for your growth and success. Folks know when we’re being used or when you’re speaking to us to advantage yourself and your agenda. We don’t care for it, generally, even though we like you. We’re willing to deal with it for a little while, but not forever.
Instead of seeing friends, coworkers, and neighbors as a means to an end, how about committing to these 4 strategies to connect with others.
1. Ask, “How are you?” when you greet people. 99% of people will say, “I’m fine.” That’s okay. By simply asking, you’ve affirmed a basic truth of our creation; we are made in God’s image. Humans have inherent worth. Would it be so bad if all of us went to bed tonight and knew at least one person inquired about our lives? You don’t have to be interested in the details of other people’s lives, but other people’s lives have details that matter to God. If you’re a Christian, this simple question (in a world where it’s no longer asked) may be the slight opening you and God need to open some powerful conversations.
2. Put Away Your Phone. Families, businesses, and nations have been productive and healthy without cell phones for centuries. Your e-mail, twitter feed, or facebook page can wait. If you’re not concerned about your spouse going into labor imminently, the buzzing phone in your pocket can wait! It really can. We all have cell phones nowadays, whipping yours out and checking your e-mail doesn’t make you look important, it makes you look pompous! And quite frankly, it can be hurtful
3. Take Off Your Sunglasses. Good grief, we’re not standing at the North Pole. The sunlight isn’t going to burn your retinas. You’re not Paris Hilton! What are you hiding from? When you’re talking to someone, look them in the eyes – even if you’re outside. When we look people in the eyes we tell them that they matter, that what they’re saying is important and they are worth our time. Hiding behind sunglasses makes people wonder what you’re looking at and what, other than me, is occupying your attention right now.
4. Touch Someone. You’d be amazed at how many people live from day-to-day without anyone touching them – no handshakes, no hugs, no pats on the shoulder or back. This is unacceptable. Years ago I had a professor show me a video of Mother Theresa. He said, “Don’t listen to the audio, just watch what she does with her hands.” That video changed me. One of the things which amazed people about Jesus was that He physically touched people — even untouchable people. Obvious, this should be done appropriately.