I’m a bit of an asshole sometimes (frequently?). However, I don’t apologize. I have a low tolerance for bullshit.

Some people get more of my patience, even a little more leeway than others. Some get none.

But this does not change the fact that relationships are essential in life. Connecting, networking, socializing, friending, whatever you want to call it. I might have that asshole side, but I absolutely have that connecting to others side.

If you sit in your corner and don’t interact with others, it is a lonely, lonely life indeed.

Currently, I am in New Jersey.

I’ll be honest, I’ve observed here a fair number of rude and obnoxious people. But I saw a lot of those back where I am from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (more in Dallas, than Fort Worth) as well. But what I find more importantly, and indeed every where I go, is that people are in general friendly.

It isn’t that hard. Smile at someone, they smile back. Say “hi”, and they will usually say “hello” back to you.

In my traveling between New Jersey and Pennsylvania these last number of months, I have met and had fantastic conversations. I find that most people are warm and glad to talk, they are just not as likely to initiate conversation.

I myself am always ready to talk and engage with people. (And if someone is rude, I’m always ready to dropkick them to the head and push them off a cliff. Just sayin’.)

Here are some examples of people I’ve met, and had very engaging conversation.

Mark and Annette at a yard/rummage sale at a church

I initially started talking with Annette, and at a point we disagreed on regarding the bible, she called over Mark to help out. He and I started talking, and talked about all kinds of stuff about life. Annette invited me into the parsonage for lunch with her, Mark and the pastors wife. Before I left, Mark took me on a tour of their church building, which is really, really old and gorgeous. As a side note, Mark is giving his first public sermon tomorrow, and I am going to visit and listen, just for support.

Employees at various thrift stores I work with

I work with a number of thrift stores, but there are two that are notable from the aspects of the people I’ve met. The first one is Hope Outlet in Reading, Pennsylvania. This is a mission, and I met a bunch of the guys that are working, and living in the mission. All of them were friendly, and just like everywhere, some were more friendly than others. It didn’t hurt that my sweet baby girl Luna (dog) is outgoing, and won just about heart of everyone she met.

Another notable thrift store is House of Mercy, located in Manassas, Virginia. I’ve only been there a couple of times, but Luna was similarly engaging. The employees and volunteers there were asking me questions, have general conversation, etc.

Owner of a used bookstore

Jessie runs a used bookstore, and I met him online in a Facebook group. He deals in used books, and seeing that he is only a few hours away, mentioned I’d like to visit his store. He was very agreeable. On my last trip to Manassa, VA, I returned by way of Delaware and met him and his wife. Jessie took me on a tour of the store, and we discussed ideas, and talked about a few other things. Excellent visit.

Couple that own a laundromat

I had to wash and dry a couple of blankets. Laundromats work real well for this. I picked out a new one, and the owners were real friendly. They’ve been married like over 50 years, and came to this country from (I don’t remember). Just as I was leaving, I dropped back by and told them how much I appreciated their great service. We exchanged pleasantries back and forth, and the husband invited me to come back and visit, even if I was not washing clothes. That is some pretty good warmth, especially from “cold, rude New Jersey”.

Older lady at laundromat – very sweet

Just a couple of days ago, I was again at a laundromat. Mainly there to wash Lunas blanket, as she can sure make it smell. This lady was a cheerful older lady, and I made an offhand comment about the convenience of laundromat washer/dryers. Well, it was on. We talked about all kinds of stuff. It was a very great meeting.

Guy in parking lot at wegmans

The other day I was letting Luna out to take a break at the grocery store parking lot. I was all the way at the edge, and a guy pulled up a number of spaces away to take a smoke break outside. He commented on Luna (sensing a theme?) and we started talking. This was such a great conversation that went all over the place. Again, more New Jersey warmth.

Lady walking in store just before I wrote this post

I saw this lady walking with her husband. They were an older couple, but she seemed friendly, kind of a smile on her face. I simply smiled at her, and she lit up and smiled back. Nothing major, but is alway nice with then kind of thing happens.

Potentially meeting a guy that I follow online that buys/sells used books

I (at the time of writing this), I will in just about less than a week likely meet a guy that just opened up a second book store and has a podcast. He is one of those people that are very warm, giving, and seems pretty cool. He is in Dayton, Ohio, and we will detour about an hour in order to swing by there on our way to Illinois.

My point of all of these stories, is that you have to just be warm, friendly and engaging with people. Most people will respond in kind, and are just waiting on you to be warm and friendly. Most people do not want to be the ones to open up. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism, but being the one to open up first really expands the number of people that you get to meet.

There are more, and I just thought of another one. A guy named Peter that he and I wound up talking about health and weight loss. He works in the Finance industry, and he and I are so very far apart in the circles we run in, in society. But the conversation, ideas, and time spent was well worth it.

You never know who you will meet, what they do for a living, and what the impact will be in life.


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