Have you ever experienced a moment when you asked someone how they were doing, and they were honest? I mean the moment when they get real in sharing personal pain points.
I want to tell you about a time that went I out for breakfast, and I asked the cashier how he was doing. I ask him this question each time I see him, but this time was different. I usually expect to hear the same old, “I’m here. I am fine.” This time, he told me that he was feeling absolutely miserable. His voice was angry, and I was taken aback. He talked about some ongoing family conflict that he was facing and some financial trouble that he was experiencing. He shared frustration with his coworkers as well.
I remember another time a few years ago when my wife and I went on a lunch date to Purple Cow one Saturday afternoon. The waitress was kind, but she had sadness in her eyes. We asked her how she was doing today. She said, “Thanks for asking.” Then she sat down at our table and spilled her guts.
So how do we handle it when people share more than we bargained for? I think that actor Sidney Poitier said it best when he spoke of living consciously.
Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment.—Sidney Poitier
9 Tips for Meeting People in the Moment:
- Acknowledge that sharing personal experiences requires a lot of courage.
- Put away distractions.
- Listen for understanding
- Validate feelings by acknowledging what you hear and see in their demeanor.
- Empathize with them. Give them permission to feel what they feel.
- Be understanding and supportive. We are all human beings.
- Avoid trying to fix their difficult situation unless feedback is requested. This can come across as judgmental or minimizing of their experience.
- Avoid clichés.
- If you have the opportunity, stay in touch, and follow up.
Sometimes being in the moment is hard because it takes some level of personal sacrifice. Sometimes it is hard to make time to meet others where they are in our legitimately busy schedules. No worries! I get it!
What I am encouraging us to think about is the profound positive impact that we can have on another human being’s life by lending a supportive listening ear.
Here is a challenge for you. I dare you to find someone this week whom you can show incredible kindness and support. Meet them where they are and see what happens. If I were a betting man, I would say that you will be a blessing to them, and you will be blessed by the experience.
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