I heard the enthusiastic “Hello!” over the music coming through my headphones and looked around. One of my neighbors waved from across the street. I slipped the buds from my ears and shouted a greeting back. I was nearly done with my regular 3 mile walk, a few houses from home.
“Do you walk often?” she yelled.
I crossed the street to her front yard. “Fairly regularly.”
“I want to walk. Can I walk with you?” she asked.
I had been waving to this woman while walking Cooper since I’d moved in a year ago. “Sure. How about tomorrow morning? Is six too early?”
“Okay, see you tomorrow at six!”
I went home and told Mike I had a date to walk with the neighbor in the big white house up the street.
“Cool, what’s her name?” he asked.
I’m not certain that’s exactly how the conversation went, but it’s damn close. And we really didn’t exchange names until the following morning at six am.
I love this story. You see, that’s how me and my very good friend, April met several years ago. All because she put herself out there by approaching a stranger, and because I reciprocated. We both took a chance that day. And I am so very glad that we did. Because now she is one of my closest friends!
The truth is that you just never know what will happen unless you try. Based on April’s family’s comings and goings (their cars must whizz past our house a dozen times a day) it would be easy to assume she was far too busy for a new friend. Or because she has children and I do not, either one of us could have assumed we wouldn’t have much in common. But it didn’t matter. She wanted to walk and saw me walking. That was the spark that set things in motion.
And all you need is one little spark. A shared commute, a flirtatious glance, children in the same class, someone who works in the same building, the handsome man in your Saturday morning yoga class, a friendly neighbor… The world is overflowing with possible human connections. All it takes is a little courage to put yourself out there, a smile and a friendly greeting. After that, see where it goes. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
In mine and April’s case, sure, I could have said, “No, I walk alone” in a very villainy accent. Or we could have gone for a walk and the conversation may have been awkward or we’d discover one or the other wasn’t a nice person and we wouldn’t make plans to walk again. The worst that could have happened is that our lives stayed the same, no better no worse.
Instead, we hit it off splendidly! We would walk well over a hundred miles together over the ensuing years. Mike and April’s husband have become close friends and we adore their children. They have a key to our house and have helped with Cooper when we’re away. They are our wonderful friends, our closest “family” within a 70 minute drive, and we are incredibly grateful to have them in our lives.
Look around you. Another friend or future date might be sitting on the bar stool across from you, live down the street, frequent your gym, or make your weekend smoothie. You won’t know until you put yourself out there.
April did. And I am so damn glad she did.