I love to be out and about. I love experiencing everything that life has to offer. On a weekend when I can choose to stay home or go somewhere, I’m already in my car and on the road. The one thing I love most about going out and doing things is the opportunity to meet people.
Call me crazy, but I think that there’s nothing more thrilling or exciting than meeting new people. When you think about it, it’s sort of amazing that a simple hello can open so many doors. All through life you will cross paths with people of all ages, backgrounds and parts of the world. Each individual has their own unique experiences and story to share. I think that we don’t often spend much time thinking about the significance of meeting people, especially those we meet for such a short period of time.
You may wonder, “what’s the point, if there’s no possibility of a future friendship, relationship or even seeing that person again?” In reality, you have no idea what could come from it. You shouldn’t be so quick to rule out any of those possibilities. Even if you were only to cross paths with that person once in a lifetime, you might be surprised at the impression they leave.
Really stop and think about how many different people you interact with in a day, a week or a month. Some people you meet only long enough for a hello, and others for the duration of a few conversations. Maybe some turn into close friends or people you date. Every interaction has the ability to yield some degree of influence.
I enjoy the times when I meet someone who is similar to me, perhaps hailing from a small country town, or sharing a love of photography. I also appreciate meeting individuals who offer quite a contrast in their experiences, culture, hobbies, values, etc. You see, it’s through these interactions with both types of people that you gain little pieces of the world, and are able to know and experience more of it.
One of the main things with meeting people is that it is eye opening. I’ve had inspiring conversations with people I’ve met briefly at gas stations, hotels, grocery stores, coffee shops, airports and countless other places. I love taking little weekend trips on the whim, so my random encounters with people are in fact fairly random!
It’s a strange phenomenon how some of those people that I talked to for perhaps only a few hours could leave anything close to a profound impression on me. However, I’ve noticed that in meeting new people, I am moved from the rigid confines of my own narrow perspectives. Sharing personal experiences, philosophies and aspirations with “outsiders” can be refreshing. You get a sense of who the other person is, their lifestyle, values, passions, etc., and soon enough you’re seeing life from a perspective other than your own. It’s an enlightening experience, as the world is diverse and each person has a distinct way of viewing it. An individual’s obstacles, accomplishments and passions are some of the factors bearing weight on how they interpret the world. There’s always something to learn because everyone you meet knows something you don’t.
Meeting new people can also lend itself to heightened self-awareness. While interacting with someone new, I weirdly learn new things about myself in the process of learning about them. I find myself talking about certain hobbies, passions, dreams, goals or interests more than others, and I am given a truer picture of myself. Sometimes it’s the eyes of others that allow you to see yourself more clearly. You don’t have to know someone for a long time for them to leave a lasting impact. It also goes the other way around. Do you ever think about the type of influence you have on the people you run into? There are some people who I’ve met for only a weekend, yet those few days and conversations were enough to leave an unforgettable impression. When you meet someone, it’s not so much about trying to make yourself seem interesting to them. In the process of showing interest in getting to know the other person, you become interesting.
Every single day is an opportunity to meet new people, no matter where you are or what you are doing. For some, meeting people requires more of a step out of the comfort zone than for others. The more you put yourself out there, the more natural it becomes. It’s rewarding and worth the initial awkwardness. In a sense, people are like doorways to parts of the world you may not have otherwise gotten to experience. When the opportunity arises to meet people, be open to that simple hello or passing conversation. You just never know.