“Your sign makes it all clear” said a woman to me yesterday. Connecting and disconnecting, it seems like we have forgotten how to do it, which makes we are avoiding each other. The clear message on my sign apparently makes that people know upfront what I ask for and are therefore willing to give in to their curiosity and start connecting with a stranger. It certainly made that woman to sit down and look into each other’s eyes for two minutes.
At the moment a stranger approaches us, we are already wondering what he or she wants from us. We are not used anymore to something as easy as a random conversation. Let’s face it; there are so many obstacles to overcome; How to make clear all you want is just a conversation, now, at this moment? You do not want a date, you don’t need money and you certainly do not want to marry the other person.. Just a conversation, that’s all. And how to start, you do not know what might be of interest to the other person and talking about the cold weather feels so useless. So often we do not even start a conversation with a stranger.
If we have ended up in a conversation, how to get rid of it? Like someone recently told me “I really liked it when someone started a conversation with me in the train, but I also felt relieved when he had to get out at a certain moment. My journey would last for another hour and I felt it would have been too much if I had to continue talking with him all the time.” Had to?! Yes, because also ending a conversation/connection is an obstacle; it often is considered as rude, as a rejection of the other person. Whereas that is not the intention at all.
At the moment I’m having a conversation with someone, but rather would do something else, that doesn’t say much about the other person, it says all about me. No, the other is not boring, but I might be really tired and just feel like staring out of the window. Or if I’d rather talk with someone else, that doesn’t mean the first person is not of interest to me, it means that I am the one in need of something else, a different kind of connection, topic, approach, opinion, etc.
When I really feel like eating mango, you can offer me pancakes. I will eat them when I’m hungry, but it will not change that I still feel like eating mango.
To learn how we can connect and disconnect we can make it all very clear:
Everyone can write a note every day. Thereby you give someone else the opportunity to start a conversation with genuine interest; not about the cold weather, but about something you like to talk about. “My passion for Metallica” or “What would you do in my position?”
And the rules for disconnecting; the conversation lasts as long as you both want to. So even if you do not feel like talking any further, you disconnect. How?
Topic visible = I am open to talk about this topic
Flip over note = thanks for the connection, I am now in the need of focusing on other things/people
The latter is exactly what I will do now; focus on something else. Thank you for reading.