I recently watched the movie Green Book. The film is about a blue collar caucasian who who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour through the 1960s American South. You know, the typical Hollywood formula… I enjoyed the movie and recommend it. But the highlight for me was a great quote from Viggo Mortensen’s character that jumped off the screen and sucker punched me in the earhole:
‘The world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.’ – Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, Green Book
Make The First Move
On a planet of 7.5 billion digitally connected people, none of us should feel lonely. Yet we often do. Most people wish they had more, deeper or more fulfilling personal and professional connections. But we fail to recognize that the easiest way to make this happen is to make the first move.
If you want more or better professional contacts be the one that makes contact. You are the one that should make the first phone call, send the first text, or write the first email. It’s that simple.
If you want to reconnect with your high school friends, cousins or former co-workers from that place where everyone bonded over the stupid boss, you should do the connecting. Your mobile phone offers at least a dozen ways to make this happen. If you are not weird, and there is no guarantee that you are not, chances are very good that others will be happy to reconnect with you too.
8 Easy Ways To Create New Connections Or Reconnect Old Ones:
- Coffee/Chocolate Milk Meetings You don’t have to drink coffee. I don’t. Heck, you can eat caramels or enjoy them apples. It’s all arbitrary. #namethatfilm
- Afterwork Happy Hours My friend Susan Stearns’ Happy Hour game is super strong. She gets a group of former co-workers together a few times a year. Thanks SS!
- Book Clubs My friends Betty Garrot and Stacy Sollenberger are both half bookworm, and are in 3 book clubs right now. It’s a great way to facilitate social interactions and improve your bookmarking skills.
- Dinner Parties This is a great way to jumpstart or turbocharge personal relationships. My neighbors Yassir and Ghada are excellent at this.
- Video Conference Meetups I created a monthly video meetup with my college track teammates. It’s now a highlight of my month. On Wisconsin!
- Group Texts Several of my high school classmates and I have a group text that regularly flares up with jokes. Like it did this week when our classmate Dan Richards was interviewed on NPR. Thanks to Marcus Chioffi for starting that one!
- Meeting At A Restaurant or Bar. In a 2-day span this week in Atlanta I met with 10 different people at restaurants: Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, Diana Keough, Theresa and Jabari Pride, Harper Cornell, Nicola Smith, Scott Jenkins, Heather Hudgins, Kim Hoey and Mark O’Brien. I am pretty good at this game. And lucky that people agree to meet me.
- Go for a hike or ride. This is a healthy way to multi task. The opposite of #7.
The Golden Age For Human Connections
Never in history have people lived so close together, had such phenomenal resources to facilitate interactions, yet felt so isolated. This is bullshit. And it’s all because most people are longing for someone else to make the first move.
Don’t wait for anyone. Be the initiator. Create an alumni group that consists of people from a school, employer, program or organization you enjoyed. Invite people to be part of the group and watch how positively they respond.
Form a group around shared interests. Develop a professional organization of people who do what you do. Be the spark. Be the glue. Heck, be the who dang craft closet that brings the project to life, and see what happens next.
Phone A Friend Friday
I have long considered Fridays, Phone-A-Friend Fridays. So every Friday I contact someone I haven’t talked to in a long time. You can this too. You are sure to surprise and delight someone. All while reducing global loneliness levels.
There is nothing more important to your personal and professional happiness than meaningful connections with other humans. Don’t be afraid to make the first call, text or send the first smoke signal. Start today. Because we all get ahead when we get together.
*Please don’t just read this. Do something about it. You can start by sending someone this blog post as an icebreaker. If you send it to me, you will make me laugh, and cause my ice to break.