How many of us find it hard to begin a social interaction with someone, whom you’ve never met? I bet many do. Considering many people find it hard to approach people for a simple question, it should come as no surprise that in today’s world it is hard to develop relationships with new people out of your own volition. An interesting study says that nowadays people do not usually have friends, which they’ve met post their teenage years or college respectively. Although it sounds a bit farfetched at first, thinking about it actually makes sense. Your coworkers usually are just that, and rarely become friends, who you can trust. Even if you take up some hobbies in hope of breaking your daily routine and meeting new people, it still rarely ends in a friendship for a lifetime.
The things are even more serious with neighbors. Many people don’t like their neighbors, and even if they do, they do not develop strong relationships, but rather keep going for the small talk when an interaction is necessary. But consider this – won’t it be great, if you actually had people, with whom you can have fun regularly, or a nice chat, or a more serious, deep conversation, and they live in the apartment next to yours, or the house across the street? I believe that you can see why this is such an enticing idea.
Sure, many people at this point would argue that you don’t necessarily choose their neighbors. And by this, they mean that the neighbors can be all sorts of crazy weirdoes, cat ladies, drunks, gossipers and so on. I think we just enjoy being pessimistic about relations with other people, because it is a reason to not interact with them or to at least keep it to a minimum. But hey, you would be surprise how wrong people can be about such a state of mind.
Think for a second about yourself. You have a life, full of intricately related events, which make it interesting and maybe difficult, although you may think it’s boring. Everybody has a story and everybody has a complex life, believe it or not. A certain individual may seem boring to you, or you just don’t want to deal with them, because of first-look prejudice (don’t deny it, it happens, psychology has proven it). But we are a social species, mutual interaction is a thing, which should be common. But in today’s world it isn’t.
Last year I had to move to a new place in Chicago. You know the drill – look for a moving company, set a date for the move, etc. Everything went smoothly and I started the new chapter of my life in the new place. And I did not meet any of my new neighbors. It is a big city, people have their jobs and lives, and don’t usually stop for a chat. I had the habit of just passing by my neighbors, rarely saying even “hello”. I mean, why should I greet someone, in whom I am not interested and who isn’t interested in me. Most of them are probably a bunch of crazy people, like this guy, who always wears his leather jacket. Chicago isn’t that warm of a city, but come on, even in the summer? And that other guy, who always raises his hand to greet me I guess and tries to mumble something, but rarely anything comes out of his mouth.
Well, a funny thing happened. Some of my neighbors were having a party onе night, and although they were not that noisy, I was a bit irritated by something and went to tell them to keep it down. And I am a 28-year-old guy, who has to tell people older than me to keep it down. Such a thought is funny, even now. So I went there and told them to just turn it down a notch and as the door closed behind me I heard “Don’t worry, he’s a bit weird.” And then it dawned on me. In their eyes I was the weird one. They guy who never greets anybody in the building. So I just decided to change my perspective a bit.
I started greeting people, smiling and waving. Many things changed. The guy who always tried to greet me, actually hadn’t been mumbling, but just didn’t want to seem intrusive and stopped mid-greet. Then people started inviting me for a cup of coffee and I found that many of my neighbors are pretty interesting and fun people. By not stretch of the imagination do I like everybody, but there are quite a few, with whom I can see myself being friends.
So just approach people, it won’t cost you much. Even if you don’t turn out to like them or be interested in them, it is at least nice to have people, who can help you if there’s ever the need. And you can actually find that you enjoy other people’s company. And like me you can find out that people who seem weird at first, are actually not so. Except for that guy with the leather jacket, I still don’t know what his deal is.