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Making New Friends in Public - Expressing Kindness


"We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested....." - Martin Seligman, psycholoigist in his book, Flourish

Eighteen months ago, I saw a family of eight nearby at our outdoor tables near restaurants where we go every morning after tennis. They were obviously from India, so I started over. My dear Vietnamese friends said, "Leave them alone John. Don't bother them!"

Are you talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me!

At their table:

"I have traveled the world and been to many countries so I know this family is from Ireland."
They laughed heartily.
Then I put my hands together as if in prayer: "Namaste."
Instant friendship. Instant.
"Satyameva jayate." This is the national motto of India, meaning "Truth always prevails."
Now we're tight.

"Did you know that Miss Universe is also Miss India?"
No, they did not.

"Now let me guess what city you are from."
My wife and I saw "Last Train to Chennai" years ago so just for fun I guessed "Chennai?"

"We are from Chennai!" they exclaimed excitedly. Tell me they didn't have fun with me, formerly a stranger.
I took their photograph and a week later, noticed three Indian girls in the post office. I told them my story and they said, "We are from Chennai!"

Months later there were five or six Indian men at our same outdoor tables. "We are from Chennai!"

Big city, I tell ya.

Now when I go to talk to strangers, my tennis buddies don't bug me. They know better.
You'll get better at this with practice. I have been doing it for thirty years.


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