Think of a time when you were a kid and you made an unlikely friend. When you were paired with someone who wasn’t your first pick. Or sat on the bus ride home with someone from your school who you had never spoken to before, and yet enjoyed their company.
At college one day, I was paired with a stranger. We were asked to look at one another and determine what we saw. As the year unfolded I would watch the different cliques in class, I was always the middle man, but secretly wanted be a part of a “circle of trust” – who doesn’t?! It was only after most of the students had dropped out and were forced to make new friends with people who had not initially been their ‘first pick’, that a new friend said to me, ‘You were the girl I was pared with in the beginning. I’d never have picked you. But that exercise made me see you and I felt you saw me.’ We’re still good friends today.
The truth is that people love connectivity, in-spite of what they think they feel. It’s the reason why people turn on the tv, why people watch reality shows or listen to the radio, so that they can be alone without being lonely. Media is easy to invite into our hearts, but why is it so difficult to reach out to others in reality?
Think of the bubbles that rise up in your belly / soul / spine / heart (I’m never exactly sure where) when your team scores at a stadium. High fives are sent ALL around, to ALL types, to complete strangers! And it feels awesome. Think of the Fifa World Cup Fan Mile. Even if you weren’t attending the game, it was fun to walk the mile, to be a part of the fun, to connect. Think of making small talk in queues! Whether it’s complaining or having a laugh, there’s something glittery about reaching out to a stranger, to ‘get’ one another. So why don’t we do it more often?
For me, one of the most modern forms of connectivity is the ‘flash mob’. I first came to learn about this concept via British television when I saw a flash mob take place at Paddington Station (Nov 2006). From there on, flash mobs have popped up all over the globe, including Cape Town. Why are they so much fun? Because we realise that people are trying to make us laugh and essentially, trying to connect with us through movement and humour. And it always feels good.
Although we can’t live our lives creating flash mobs in every moment of the day, the next time someone talks to you, particularly, if you don’t think they’re funny, clever, attractive, think twice about blowing them off. You’re bound not to be someone’s first pick at another time so give connectivity a chance.