Plunging into conversation

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I met someone lately. We talked briefly on a previous occasion, but today was the first time we officially met. It was my first time visiting a popular restaurant in Chicago, and he greeted me at the front door asking how many were in my party. I was not alone; I was with my mother and grandmother. The place was swamped for a Wednesday afternoon. Despite the abundance of full tables, I made eye contact with this someone several times throughout the course of my stay. At the end of the meal, I waited with my grandma by the front door while my mom retrieved the car. The handsome stranger happened to be sitting at the front door as well. Again, we made eye contact, but did not say anything. Finally, I broke the silence. It turned out well in my favor- we chatted back and fourth for a while before my mom pulled up with the car. I politely stated, “It was lovely talking with you. Enjoy your day,” and walked out of the restaurant. It was then that I realized I had not asked his name.

A few weeks passed, and my mom and I decided to go back to the restaurant for lunch. Needless to say, I wondered if he’d be there. I walked in, put our name down on the list, and saw him. I was sure he had not noticed me until we made eye contact. “You made it back!” he exclaimed. “Hey, how are you?” I asked. He smiled and put out his hand. “I’m well. What’s your name again?” he asked. I put out my hand, “I’m Katherine”.  And with that, we were introduced.

He walked my mother and I to our table, and he stopped by on several occasions throughout our meal. We exchanged good-byes on my way out and that was that. I don’t know when I’ll return to that restaurant, since I won’t return back to Chicago for several months, but that small encounter made a world of difference.

“Too much chase is too much effort.”

Now, I’m not sharing the story of this encounter in hopes that you will go out and stalk waiters or waitresses. I’m acknowledging this experience to share the simplicity of conversation. If you want to be introduced to someone, introduce yourself. If you want to learn more about someone, ask him or her. Never fear rejection- that’s silly. The worst thing a person could do is to ignore you, and that is highly unlikely.

At the same time, understand when the other person is not interested. This idea of the “chase” or “chasing” is relevant for friendships, and relationships, alike. It is not healthy for your emotional being to constantly be putting forth energy into something that you don’t benefit from in return. I think people are naturally inclined to seek acceptance and understanding.

When someone does not treat us with the same level of kindness and attentiveness as we give them, we blame ourselves and assume we have done something wrong. If the other person does not value your friendship, or relationship, enough to respond to your calls/texts, or plans to spend time with you, something needs to change. For example, if you are the one who  always suggests plans with a friend and they don’t reciprocate, they are not worth your time. Never think that they do not want to spend time with you because there is something wrong with you. However, this works for both sides in a relationship. If you have a friend that that is consistently suggesting plans to hang out, and you flake on them more than once, you need to shape up.”

Specifically speaking about romantic relationships, I am a strong proponent of “courting’’.  I am very old-fashioned when it comes to dating. In a world filled with promiscuity and “sexting”, the art of dating, romance and chivalry, is lost. I think a little mystery is a good thing. For example, you do not need to provide your entire life story the first time you meet someone. Personally, this is easier said than done. I am definitely a chatterbox. My guy friends always tell me, “Play it cool.” I do not consider, myself, a “cool’’ person, so instead of remaining passive, I try to listen to my own advice and just enjoy chatting with people.

However, when I meet someone I’m interested in, I introduce myself and start a conversation. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. I figure, what is the worst that could happen from saying, “Hi, my name is Katherine. It’s nice to meet you.”