Tuesday, August 22, 2017

sometimes it's the smallest things - springboards to friendship

Immediately after the congregation was dismissed, Mama leaned over and whispered, "I love that lady's haircut!!!"

Two things that are high on our list of things to find when we move: a church home and a hairdresser. We were close to settling on a church home, and Mama never hesitates to ask strangers where they get their hair cut.

As I gathered my sundries, Mom bolted out of the pew to catch the lady with the fabulous hair. By the time I got to them, they were deep in a conversation about hairstyling woes and fixes. Shortly thereafter, the conversation moved on as they swapped stories about how each ended up in Germany.

Before I knew it, we had accepted an invitation to lunch at an Asian restaurant. Jennifer and Mama had hit it off, and they wanted to continue their conversation. (Dad was at a conference that weekend.)

On the way out, Jennifer introduced us to another lady who is clearly the instigator of a lot of church projects. Her first question to Mama: "Do you run?"

It turns out that she's trying to organize a fun run to raise awareness for Compassion International. She's not a runner though, and wants insights on how these things go. My family has never organized a fun run, but we have participated in plenty, so before names had been exchanged we were in a pow-wow about how to organize a family 5k.

And just like that, we had two new friends and an "in" into this church community. All because my mom wanted to find out where a stranger gets her hair cut.

The moral of the story: if you want to make a friend, compliment their hair and ask where they get it done.

But actually.

Sometimes all it takes to make a friend is to compliment them on something they have a vested interest in and then ask them more about it. My mom cuts my hair, so I don't actually ask people about their recommended hair salon. But I've used the idea multiple times with people I want to get to know - I ask them about a project they've worked on that I appreciated, or a book they're reading that I love, and then I use that as a springboard to a conversation. Sometimes it's a two-minute conversation and nothing more comes of it. But sometimes we hit it off and I actually gain a friend from taking the trouble to reach out.

As I prep to move to a new city by myself, I'm keeping this maxim in mind to make me smile and give me the necessary kick in the pants to meet people instead of staying in my nice little comfort zone:

Make a new friend: ask where they get their hair cut. 

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