Fixing The Awkward Social Situation

“I can feel the twinkle of his eye in his handshake.”

— Helen Keller

Giving Time is a path toward something better in one’s life – being more satisfied, having more time, being happier, and connecting with people.

Ben Franklin Elementary 12 NOLA Shaking Hands

That connection with others can change our lives. It’s both a joy and a blessing. But too often we’re stymied in our social interactions by the awkwardness of breaking the social ice.

This week, my family has been breaking the ice a lot here in my home town in Iowa. There’s been a happy stream of family to see and catch up with, along with many chance encounters with old friends and classmates. That was expected.

What was not expected was the many elderly people I’ve been around at my parents’ care facility. As we walk through the quiet hallways, my parents say hello to some of the other residents. In past visits, I’ve generally just trailed along behind, smiling, nodding, and feeling uncomfortable.

This visit though, I’ve tried to make an effort to introduce myself to everyone – staff and residents. Initiating the introductions has made a remarkable difference.

I’ve met a number of the guests and all have been quite courteous. Sometimes they have a story to tell, sometimes not. But all the time, it’s changed the experience for the better.

If you find yourself avoiding people, or have trouble connecting with others, perhaps it’s just that initial awkwardness that’s getting in the way. If so, make eye contact and offer a friendly hand. People will most certainly reciprocate your gesture.

A change in those few seconds of your day may be all it takes to start connecting more.

Yesterday’s gift of time … Took a little extra time to greet and introduce myself to many people … Did the same to the other bikers as our family biked along the High Trestle Trail over the Des Moines River valley. 

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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