Monday, April 30, 2012

Speed Dating!

Sometimes life throws strange stuff at us. Take the other day for example. I was innocently carrying on with life when all of the sudden I find myself in a speed dating rotation. By time I was done I had “speed dated” 106 women.

Our culture is struggling. People are lonely, hurting, isolated, and longing for fulfillment in life. When you watch the ads on TV they try to appeal to the fact that we deserve better or that we’ll be a lot better off with this one magic product. There are websites devoted to helping you find the “right one,” and mountains of self help books.

It would be silly to ask why all this appeals to people. Everyone wants a better life and wants the silver bullet solution to all their problems. People want it because they need it. They know they have needs that need to be filled.

Of course, we all know that almost all of these “solutions” are not going to work, but that doesn’t stop us from looking for the ones that do work. Searching for success and good things is, in fact, a good thing. But after my interesting experience I started asking questions about what’s under the surface.

The fact is that the world needs help. But honestly, if I wrote a blogpost about solving the world’s problems, you would laugh at me. Solving the world’s problems is neither practical nor is it within the possible scope of a blog post. So, a better question about the state of our culture is “What can a reader of this blog do within 24 hours of reading this post to make one person’s life a little better?”

Want to know what I came up with? Here it is: Speed date someone!

Yes, I know, I am a crazy idea factory, but check this out. Speed dating is when you take the time to focus on someone sitting in front of you for a few minutes of listening and talking. You don’t have to invest huge amounts of deep thought or emotion, the goal is to focus on them and hear what they have to say and then share something that shows a little of who you are in return.

Now, I know you think I have lost my rocker, but try it. Focus on someone right in front of you. Listen to what they say. Share from the inside of yourself. Focus, listen, share.

Here is an example: You are at Walmart, you pass by someone stocking the shelves, say hi. Ask a question (not “where is the Greek Yogurt,” although that is my favorite question in the world) and then listen to their answer. Then share a genuine thought from your heart. Then smile and walk away.

When you are at a restaurant ask the server to help you choose between two items, take their suggestion and tell them that your mother makes it great and they are competing with her now. Then smile and be done.

When you are walking past your neighbor ask why she is up so early. Then explain your own reasons. Then smile and wish her a good day!

Ok, yes, you caught me. These examples aren’t really proper speed dating. Really, I know that most people have to be tricked into listening to advice.

But look at the truth. The basics are there. Focus, listen, share. It doesn’t have to take more than a minute and a half. But you can learn about the world you are living in and encourage a stranger in 90 seconds.

Now that I am done moralizing, let me tell you about my speed dating experience. It was fun. As I said I did it at a conference and “speed dated” 106 lovely women who were very charming and most were able to put a smile on my face. Unfortunately for me, it turns out that they were all married. Why these married women were willing to participate in speed dating is beyond me. Maybe it was my irresistible charm...

But life is full of firsts, and now I can check speed dating off my list.

Who is the most interesting person that you spoke to this month? Was it me? ;-)

Post by Jeremiah Lorrig
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