This weekend I saw a bunch of kids playing with each other. They were sledding down a massive hill in freezing temperatures with the wind biting at their fragile cheeks. The parents complained about the snow and the cold and how long they’d been there, but the kids just kept playing and begging for more time on the hill.
Several of the kids would reach the end of the 100 yard sled run about the same time. They’d hang out at the end for about 30 seconds talking to each other (no doubt discussing the fun they were having instead of the temperatures). By the time they reached the top of the hill, the children would proudly introduce their new friend to their parents. Many times they’d become, in their words, best friends. Typically, their mom or dad was more worried about the snot dripping down their kid’s face than the fact that they’d made a new friend. Occasionally, the parents would ask the name of the new “best friend,” and more times than not, the kids didn’t know each other’s names. You could see the exasperation on the face of the parent: how could anybody have a friend, let alone a best friend, and not even know their name?
As adults, we’ve learned to be cautious, skeptic, and even cynical about meeting new people. We think kids are childish and irrational because they make friends so easily. We’re supposed to network to meet new prospects or mingle to meet new people, but we’re so concerned about what those strangers will think about us that we miss out on the chance to meet some great people.
Get out of your comfort zone. Go to a new venue, a new restaurant, a new networking group. Walk up to somebody you normally wouldn’t. Introduce yourself. Meet someone new. These new acquaintances can make a difference in your life. They may share hobbies or interests with you, connect you to people, or most importantly… become a friend… maybe even a best friend.