Rich Perry

STRENGTH & FOCUS: Put your phone away and make a new friend

STRENGTH & FOCUS: Put your phone away and make a new friend
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The practice of making friends seems to be a lost art these days. Sure, we all have a thousand “friends,” followers, and fans across social media, but how many of those people do you actually know on a personal level and spend time with?

Do you already make a habit of talking to new people, in real face-to-face situations?

What do you do if someone new sparks up a conversation with you? Do you accept the invitation and engage in a conversation or tend to give the shortest answer possible while building a wall for defense and planning an exit strategy?

The media and some other systems that will go unnamed would have us believe that everyone is out to get us, that we should call “stranger danger” with every passerby, and we should be suspect of those offering help so as not to be taken advantage of or fall victim to a predator. Why do negative stories repeatedly make the headlines for days at a time while positive stories are in and out of the news and only bless the front page occasionally? Hmmm, I wonder…

Sure, social environments have changed over the last half-century, but basic human behavior has remained consistent. We still have the same wants, desires, and need for connection. Now, think of your current social circle; you didn’t always know your best friends. You met them somehow or through someone else, but ultimately, you took a chance on meeting someone new, and look how that turned out. Maybe now you’ll have a chance to add another awesome friend to your inner circle.

I would like to note that I am not advocating blind naïveté with regard to all people. Are there some who prey on and/or take advantage of others? Yes.

Will everyone you encounter be a kind and generous saint willing to give you the shirt off their back and the last dollar in their pocket? I doubt it.

Should you use your intuition and best judgment? Yes, absolutely!

But it’s also important to note that not all strangers are monsters. Remember, you’re a stranger to all the people you don’t yet know, so are you a monster? Should other people be afraid of you?

Go make a friend today. If it helps, start small. While you’re standing in line at the grocery store, rather than tweeting about the snacks in your basket, just smile and say hello to someone standing next to you and perhaps a casual conversation will develop. When you’re on your lunch break, chat with those nearby instead of playing some mindless app on your phone. Yes, parks are still open. I realize the temperature is freezing cold right now, but spring will be here soon and the weather will be ideal for a nice walk through your local park. You can invite a friend to join you or strike up a conversation with someone out doing the same thing as you.

Who knows? You might accidentally meet the right person and, before you know it, you’ve got yourself a new friend!

Lead photo by Keith Perks/1120 Studios

Create the future you want with the choice to change now! This column offers Strength & Focus for the moments you need to overcome the distractions of the week, each and every day. Look for it every Monday on NEPA Scene.