So today I wanted to do things a little differently. Let’s start off with a little backstory and then I’ll give y’all a little lesson. (Don’t you worry it’s not going to be about chemistry or other unwanted things. Life skills are good and needed things.)
*beckons* GATHER ROUND BOYS AND GIRLS. LET MADELEINE TELL YOU A STORY.
A few weeks ago back in the final days of March, we were down in the South for spring break. There is this amazing church down there that holds prayer conferences biannually that we attend. Now just to clarify, we weren’t there for a prayer conference. We were there because we had a week off and wanted to see the Smoky Mountains and the like. But we knew that every Wednesday, they held a prayer night type thing. Naturally, my parents wanted to go. So we went.
What I didn’t know was that the high school and middle school ministries met on the same night. And one of the pastors at the church who is one of our friends was like “Hey since you are here, why don’t you go check out the high school ministry? It’d probably be more fun for you…”
This was the point where I started internally screaming/dying.
I’m an extremely introverted person when it comes to these types of situations if you don’t know already.
this is why I want to be an author. so I don’t have to be social. XD jk. And while I love the people at this church, going to hang in a room with about 200 teenagers that I don’t know doesn’t typically sound like a fun idea for me.
Of course, I was super polite, but I said something along the lines of “ahahahahahah no.”
Anyway, I go back to doodling in my sketchbook until the first song of the night starts. At this point, I’m pretty proud of myself. I had managed to avoid going to youth group!! Score for me!
At least that is what I thought.
About a minute into the song, our pastor friend comes over with one of the leaders from the high school ministry. (btw I know her now and absolutely love her to death) And once again I start to panic. Mentally, I was squawking like a whiny velociraptor baby like “GUYS CAN’T YOU TAKE A HINT? JUST LET ME COLORRRRRRR.”
Ever the sugar sweet southerner, she explained to me that if I wanted to come over at any point in the night, I was completely welcome. (just so everyone understands, I did NOT flat up refuse. I’m smoother than that, Y’all. I said I’d think about it *bows*)
She was so nice, in fact, that when she went away again, I felt almost hesitant. But not quite. Let me tell you that my fear of people definitely quenched that feeling EXTREMELY FAST. I continued to untie the knots in my stomach whilst singing a chorus of God Is Able. My head was beginning to think that “phew I finally escaped” and then BAM.
The lady comes over once more with two girls.
I am introduced, and almost immediately the first one is like “Do you wanna come get cookie dough and hang out? We have cookie dough…”
*becomes more intrigued but is still hesitant*
SOMEHOW my mouth ended up sayin’ yes. Honestly, it had to have been the Lord because… if it had been up to me, I never would have left my bench. She asked my brother if he wanted to come too because she thought he was in high school (she was so shocked/impressed when she found out later that he wasn’t a high schooler.) He agreed and we set off in the direction of pubescent chaos.
So now I find myself walking with two people I don’t know plus my brother. Oh, wait. The girl introduces her brother. One more person I don’t know. YAY.
He and my brother really hit it off, and they, after getting my brother’s cookie dough, go off to play football in the seconds before the thing starts. This girl, her friend, and I grab my cookie dough and then head inside to the main thing.
The little game thing at the beginning was hilarious, the worship was amazing, and the talk that the high school pastor gave was great. By the time it’s over, I felt great. Better than I was expecting. I’d been introduced to several people and felt welcome. Then she did something even better.
“Hey *name of brother omitted for privacy*, why don’t you play ping pong with her brother? I wanna go talk with Madeleine.”
By this time I’m like “YESSSSSSSSSSSSS I LIKE YOU LET’S TALK FOREVER”
It got even better. I got to talk to her for about 30 mins after it ended. Not shallow “what do you like to do” stuff. She was delving into faith and anxieties within minutes of us sitting down. I was so excited.
Then it dawned on me. She is the type of person that I like to be around. I should try to reflect this type of personality. I should be striving to make others feel just as comfortable.
Gleaning off of our conversation, here are some amazing tips on how to make the person feel comfortable, safe, and valued. *runs off to grab paper and pen*
*cough cough* self, take notes. *cough*
- BE WELCOMING AND OPEN! I know it may seem rather simple, but seriously. This is one of the game-changers of conversation. If you seem/act nervous, the person you are talking to will automatically feel uncomfortable. Include the person in everything. No joke. Everything. You won’t regret it.
- SMILE LIKE CRAZY! Don’t question it. Your cheeks will feel like they are gonna fall off, but you will impact the interaction so much.
- TALK TO THEM FREQUENTLY! If you are doing all of the aforementioned things, if you don’t repeatedly involve them, all of it goes to waste. Even just little check-ins to make sure they are okay are wanted and needed.
With these fabulous tips under your belt now, here are the questions that she asked me (in order). Take them and use them as you will. They make for reaaaaaaaaaaaally good, deep conversations.
- What is your middle name?
- What are your interests?
- Tell me about your family!
- Do you have a role model/mentor?
- What in your past do you hold onto?
- What is your idea of your future?
- When did you first meet Jesus?
- When did your relationship with him really click?
- What are your top three anxieties?
- What is your life verse?
As you can see, that day was super good for me. I did things outside of my comfort zone and made two new friends (I got to talk to her brother for a bit too.) I gotta be honest; I had no idea I would like her so much. Even though it’s very likely I’ll never see her again because she is in the process of moving, I have her number and she wants to keep up the connection we started. I was so touched by her kind words and friendly spirit, even for the extremely short time limit. And honestly, that is what I want to be.
I want to be a person who can make people feel so at ease that they just melt right into the experience and forget that they were terrified of it. I want to be a person who can hold an extremely deep conversation with someone completely new to me in less than an hour. I want to be a person like that. I don’t say this a lot, but #goals.
Now go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. 🙂
Love you all,