Do you know these stressful days when you prefer limiting your conversations and simply concentrating on getting things done? Maybe it’s because I am somewhat of an introvert and happen to work with many people (which I enjoy), I tend to have times when I need my own time and space.
Last Thursday was one of these days. I had a number of in-person and virtual meetings, all of them were well prepared and I felt fine about them. There was one appointment, however, that I would have preferred to postpone. It was an early lunch with a former participant of my dance fitness class. She joined the very first class I taught and has been a loyal student ever since. Even though she was not into sports she trusted me as an instructor and turned into an avid Zumba® fan, enjoying the music and the moves. It was wonderful to see her transformation and how she radiated joy while doing sports. Unfortunately health issues had prevented her from attending the class for more than 6 months. I kept in touch sending get well soon messages and was glad to hear she was recovering and was back to work.
After a quick e-mail exchange a few weeks ago the idea for a joint lunch came up. We had hardly spoken more than a few minutes before or after class. At that time it seemed to me that we had very little in common (including the fact that she usually has lunch much earlier than I do), but I decided to discard all doubts and give it a try. After all, I believe in human connections across differences of any kind. It’s such a pity our lunch happened to be on a day I felt I needed time for myself. I resisted the urge to cancel our appointment, and I am so happy I did!
Our conversation started awkwardly with the typical small talk questions – the class, work, weather (note that neither of us is a master of small talks). That’s when I thought this lunch was not a good idea. Things changed in the course of our chat and our appointment ended over a cup of coffee exchanging personal thoughts and ideas. An inspiring and sincere human connection was created in the course of a lunch break amidst all superficiality and hypocrisy we are often surrounded with. It was an eye-opening experience and what made it possible was our openness, trust, and willingness to embrace our vulnerability. I recognize it’s probably not possible or desirable to have and show all of these at all times and circumstances, but it’s worth trying. By the way, I have another early lunch scheduled and look forward to it!