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Talk to People, Ask Questions…

I just reread the last blog entry and realize that I was complaining without offering a potential solution.

I walk Gigi twice a day, first thing when we get up in the morning then around 4 in the evening. In the morning we are alone. But from time to time we run into the fellow (Dan the cop) from across the street walking his two great dogs. Although we chat a bit, I realize that everything I know about him comes from another source. The afternoon walk.

We, Gigi and I, walk with a neighbor named David in the afternoon. He has the amazing ability to know everything about everyone in the neighborhood. I have been thinking about why and have realized that he actually talks to people. When we seen someone on the street he says hello and usually asked how they are. He asks after their dogs, or kids, or parents. He is interested. I know all about Dan the cop because David has told me about him. David asks questions, and more importantly, cares about the answers he gets.

Ah ha, you say. There is the solution to the overwhelming technology that is stripping our humanity. Talk to people, ask questions. But it’s not so easy?

You actually have to care a bit. You have to be interested. What you will find out that learning about real live people in your neighborhood is much more interesting than rehashing the lives of the same people over and over on social media. If you have problems, who knows, the solution might be next door or down the block.

People love to talk about their kids, and if they are with a gaggle of them, involving the kids in the conversation can get things going. And ask about their pets. People will go on and on about their dog. Be prepared to talk about your dog, if they ask. And they will. If you know where they live, compliment their house, or car, or tree, or flowers. If you don’t, ask.

“Hi, my name is John, this is David” can elicit their names. The problem then is to remember the name so you can use it next time. David knows everyone’s name. I’ve lived there 35 years and know no one. I’ve noticed that I do know their dogs, and sometimes David will say “you know, the fellow with the Doberman” and I will know exactly who he means.

The pandemic has brought many more walkers out in the afternoon. Talk to them. It’s a great way to get to know people and hone your interpersonal skills.

Tech and social media has lulled us into a sense of cocooning, that is, staying at home, not talking, not asking, not learning.

It’s so sad. Change it. You will be glad you did.

JVH

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