It's not what you know, but who you know...the realities of life. It's not a bad thing. For me, it is one of the hardest. My conversations with people usually go this way:
"Hi, how are you doing?" I ask as someone I recognize approaches me. I wish I could remember her name.
"Fine, how are you?" she asks and we shake hands.
"Great! Thanks," I say, racking my brain on the next question. Should I ask her what's she doing here? No, that sounds rude. Should I ask who she's here with? No, she'd probably think I'm stalking her. Or I probably won't know the person anyway. And then my brain goes numb. The awkward silence has come and gone as she finally says, "Well, I'll see you around."
And that, in a nutshell, is my skills in building relationships. I just can't seem to get past the initial greeting.
I am a nut-case.
But...I also realize the importance of creating meaningful relationships. It's not important to know everyone's life story, but you should have a selected few that goes beyond Hi, how are you. It is a skill I admire in people. My sister has it in spades and I love watching her in action. She asks people the questions I could only muster in my head. And they respond!
It is important to create meaningful relationships because it is then we share who we are, and in return, we get to really know people-- not only a face, a name or a profession-- but on a deeper level.
I continue to work on it and I am getting better. With the holidays around the corner, this is a great opportunity to go out and develop my skill, to offer a kind word to a stranger, carry a conversation with neighbors and co-workers.
How do you engage with people?