On Connecting To Strangers
The Sidewalk Talk Blog
Four people turned up tonight - FOUR magical unicorns.
Within minutes I felt the same level of heart and openness and shared willingness to grow and learn that I have felt over the years in San Francisco at Sidewalk Talk. We each went around and talked about what drew us to sitting and listening and how our experiences in our lives shaped how we view people and how we wanted to serve as a listener.
I mean seriously...how often do you have a first meeting with strangers in a different country and get to come together and co create and be vulnerable all at the same time like this? I am still pinching myself. Real intimacy in a first meeting.
We already have date number two set up.
As we parted ways each member hugged me and said goodbye to me in German. I beamed as they did. All night we had been speaking in English. This felt like a grand gesture that they hugged me and said goodbye and safe travels in their native tongue. What I felt was “you are one of us now”. I told them so. They smiled. And we all left energized.
And so it is with this project - the often under-talked-about magic bond among chapter members where strangers come together to build something special. Some of my dearest friends and people I admire so much are the people I have met listening on sidewalks. We gather month after month to listen and then have dinner together. It is a family of kindness and belonging.
Many people move to new cities and think it will be easy to make friends like university days. But without that vehicle of college, it is hard, really hard. I have done it...twice.
Tonight, I feel so much more hopeful and expansive.