Yesterday I spent the day practicing something suggested in Personal development for smart people.

I’m paraphrasing without looking at the source, which I don’t necessarily like doing as he spent a long time explaining this idea, and I’m going to short cut the whole thing.

Anyway, the idea is to treat everyone as if you’ve already known them for a long time and already have a relationship with them – as if they are already someone you care about and are connected to.

Yesterday I was doing client meetings and travelling, so came in contact with lots of new people. I looked people in the eye and talked to them as if I already knew them. Everyone – the guy on the bus, the hotel staff, the nice lady at Qantas who gave me an earlier flight, the folks at airport security, the people at cityrail I had to talk to about my stuffed train ticket, the random guy in the lift who caught me being silly and taking up all the space (and of course the clients).

It was so cool!!!

Everyone I talked to reacted. All smiled and were happy (airport security guys joked with me about my shoes). All talked to me as if I existed. I spoke to them as if they existed. I made minor connections with everyone.

It felt amazing!

It was so much better than the normal way strangers interact, looking right through each other as if they don’t exist. And for the couple of things where I needed help (earlier flight, mixed up train ticket), things worked out better than I think they would have if I was flat/distant/grumpy.

Now the challenge is to keep doing it 🙂



  1. Daniela Meleo Reply

    Donna, great strategy to improve how you respond to the people you interact with during the day. I’ve been thinking about something similar lately, when I’ve caught myself being a little negative towards others who I don’t know well, and who seem (to me, at the time) to be just adding to work stress & generally being painful. I’m trying to re-focus, give them the benefit of the doubt and, as you suggest, treat them like we already have a friendly relationship. I’m hoping this will make a difference!

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