A couple days ago, a girl whom I went to high school with called me out of the blue and said, “What are you doing?” I told her I was just finishing lunch and she said, “I’d love to see you. I’m here with an Italian friend of mine whom I’d like you to meet, can you come by now?” Timing was perfect so we met at a restaurant minutes away from where I was. She speaks Spanish and English, he speaks Italian, Spanish and English and I speak Italian, Spanish and English, so no sooner did I arrive did we find ourselves in a triangle of language a Spanglish and Italish. I caught up and I found out her worked at a near by fine dining restaurant. It was a brief but fun meeting and our conversation lasted maybe ten or fifteen minutes at the most before we went our separate ways.
Last night I took a girlfriend to dinner and it happened to be at the place that Italian guy was was working, though I hadn’t made the connection yet. Well… We no sooner walked in the door and I see this tall figure do a double and triple take of me from at least 30 feet away. I recognized him and smiled broadly but his response was unprecedented. He came rushing over, arms in the air, huge smile, an even bigger “Ciaooooooo!!!!!” followed by an enormous hug and an additional trail of friendly Italian speak. You would have thought we were reuniting as long lost brothers! The hostess was flabbergasted and smiling, Jenna was smiling and marveling at how she could know who this person is who must certainly be a best friend. Italian guy gave me another firm embrace, and I introduced him to Jenna and caught up for another moment before we were seated. The look on his face was complete elation and joy, like nothing else mattered in the world except that we catch up for this one moment.
I was rolled over. Steamrolled with happiness. Giddy even. (And I have to say giddy is not a response I am familiar with when it comes to other men…) What a reaction! We barely sat down for two seconds when he came darting out to the table again speaking a 1000 miles a minute in Italian, hands animating each word, “Now look! I can’t be your server but I’ve already had words with the waiter who is handing this section. I told him he better take exceptional care of you, or he’ll have me to answer to!” Wow! More smiles and then he walked away.
Immediately Jenna wanted to know WHO this guy was. I said, “Baby, I met him YESTERDAY for fifteen minutes!” She said, “Wow! You met him YESTERDAY? I thought you’ve known him for years!” And we talked about it a few more minutes before finally perusing the menu. What I was struck by most though, was this idea of, wouldn’t it be nice if that was the default way we greeted people? Can you imagine? If infectious laughter and smiles and embraces was the default way we approached the world?
Before you get to logical on me and say, yes but if everyone did that it wouldn’t be special, or that’s just not how the world works, or that is cheesy, or you’ll never get EVERYONE to be that way, some people are just cold.. and all the other refutes… stay with me a moment longer. Besides, when you’re laughing and smiling and having a the time of your life do you ever interrupt yourself and say, “Wait a minute! This might be a problem! I might get to used to happy stuff… or there may be limited supply and I don’t want to use it up. Back to seriousness.”?
What if ONE person treated you that way Italian guy treated me on a daily or weekly basis? What if throughout your entire week, once a week, ONE person lit up like a Christmas tree when they saw you and greeted you with overwhelming acceptance, friendliness and joy? If all fears and concerns of judgement or what people would think went out the door… Would that make a difference in your day? In your week? For me it brightened my evening. In that moment I KNEW, without a doubt, I want more experiences like that in my life. I want to feel this good and this appreciated even more!
There is nothing like the power of a good question and nothing quite like a great question:
What if that one person was who made that difference was you? What if you were the one who people couldn’t wait to see because your energy and zest was so off the charts, or pleasant to be around that more people couldn’t get enough of you; and they wanted to be around you, talk to you, have fun with you.
All too often our friends and family call us or we call them and we’re greeted with an, “Oh hey!” or “How are you?” Can you think of ways to break the pattern for your relationships and friendships and set a new tone of zest for being alive?
Yes we can.