A Truth About Connecting or When Someone Says ‘How Are You?’

“Hello, how are you?”

“Fine, thanks, and you?”

And so it goes. You ask how I am and I give you a pleasant sounding but knee-jerk response. Generally there’s no connection in this scenario that happens often several times a day.

I told a bit of my truth

A while back Intuit called to see if I’d participate in a study. The gal who called asked me how I was and I said something like, “well, on the whole fine, but my elderly cat’s in the hospital.” I don’t know why I said that – it was true (and the elderly cat is fine), but it certainly had nothing to do with my relationship with Intuit. You can imagine my surprise when the woman replied, “I have an elderly cat and she’s been throwing up… I’m not sure what to do!”

We talked maybe a whole minute about our cats then went on with our mutual business, but I felt I had made a real, albeit temporary, connection with her. I didn’t ask, but I’ll bet she felt the same way. Two slightly brighter spots in both our days.

I wonder what would happen if we gently told the truth and kept it short and sincere? Real connections between people, even strangers.

Today I was at the dermatologist’s office in Chula Vista, CA – about 10 miles from the boarder between Mexico and the U.S. Not surprisingly many people in the area speak Spanish – most, in fact, also speak English, or at least a little bit. I have a tiny bit of broken Spanish, but not much.

Three women escorting an elderly lady came into the office, but went into some office to the left; I could hear them talking amongst themselves in Spanish. A few minutes later, the receptionist arrived in the waiting room with a vacuum jug of coffee which I pounced on. Maybe 10 minutes later the group of four women came joined us in the waiting area. I happened to catch the eye of the elderly women and we genuinely smiled at each other. Without even thinking I said, in English, that there was coffee and gestured toward the jug. Sure enough they soon had coffee too.

Later as I was being led down a hall to a treatment room, I again caught the eye of the elderly woman and again we smiled at each other. Somehow we’d made a connection.

I have to be out of myself and in the present moment

What I’ve noticed is that when I take a moment to make a connection, either through telling a bit of what’s going on with me, or even just a smile, it almost always works and I’m uplifted. Judging from the response, so are the folks I connect with.

But I have to be in the moment, not all snarled up with my own problems or thinking about what’s gone wrong, or even right. I have to actually see (or on the phone, hear) the other person as another person and act from my heart.

Will this save the planet? Create world peace? Probably not, but it sure makes me feel better.

How about you? How are you with strangers? Even acquaintances? Share your story if you like.

Love, blessings and abundance,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Miller February 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Love this, Anne. Think what a happier world this would be if we simply made this small effort.

I make a point of making a short, funny remark or other nicety to strangers, particularly to those who seem in a grumpy mood. You never know what their day has been like. On my personal blog, I shared this story about a stranger I met in church. I know his name and a bit about his family. I like to think we are both the better for it.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing the link to the story.

annew February 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Shares always welcome… and small wonder we like each other!

Sharon Hurley Hall February 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Loved this, Anne – being open to opportunities to connect is a good first step.

annew February 12, 2014 at 12:55 am

sort of starts there I think.

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