What’s the right approach to take with others you’ve just met or with people, or even friends, you’ve known for a while but have not been especially close to lately? Maybe you’ve been working pretty hard and for one reason or another you feel out of commission socially. Maybe you’ve been overworking and just not paying attention to others. How do you rebuild, become part of the world again?
Put yourself in a position to talk to others. Probably many of them know you already. They may even be friends, and you think you’ve been away for so long it may be hard to just pick up where you left off. You may be a little surprised by that. We all live in such a small enclave. You may not have even have said hello to them in some time. Indeed, they may seem surprised even if you just say “good morning” when the opportunity arises. In some cases, they simply may have thought you as the unfriendly type, especially if you were not that close to begin with. You know of each other, and may have been introduced at one point, but it never went any further. You may be that guy down the block who seems to go about the world knowing who he is and what he is doing, but who many believe is just “known to be unfriendly.”
Now, let’s just say you have more time now to cultivate social relationships. You may have lost your job, had your hours cut or you are just close to retirement and wondering what that world is going to be like. If you try to reconnect, many people will treat you as though you have been away for a long time. Perhaps you have been.
For most, you will feel quickly at home even if the friend you suddenly talk to is not at all sure why you are showing an interest. Likely they will get over their initial surprise, and simply treat you as they would someone who is back after a long absence. In the beginning, they may not even be certain who you are exactly. Maybe, it’s just been a very long time since they’ve seen you or talked to you. You are different, they are different. The renewing relationship advances in stages and suddenly is comfortable again, at least at a casual level. You usually can rebuild thoughtfully with those you’d think you’d like to know better again. Put yourself in a position to talk to them. Listen, talk, ask questions. Get the perspective of the other.
Indeed, most people warm up quickly. Issues raised can become more personal suddenly. Why would anyone want to talk to you after such a long time, you think? But, why not? In many cases you may decide to go slow, but issues can progress too rapidly. Questions sometimes may be too personal. You go back and forth, but generally it’s good to go deep, but not too personal. You do want to find out what makes your friend tick. That’s mutual actually. Your friend has the same desire. The only rule of thumb is that the conversation not go too deeply too quickly.
In general, even though you are not family, you are becoming a friend in whom one confides and shares good news, or simply friends who are happy to see one another, and who may be happy to be seen together. In effect, you invite them to be close, and they, you. A warm relationship develops. You may pat one another on the back on meeting or exchange hugs on parting. “Hugs are gifts humans give to one another. They are surprisingly easy to exchange; one size fits all.”
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Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health. He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com. Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.
He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training. He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries. In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.