Friday, March 15, 2013

Happiness tip: Never assume anyone's too trashy for your time and respect.

I often get asked why my social circles are so very diverse and chock-full of interesting people. And, granted, there are often days or weeks at a time where I can barely get out of bed, let alone go out. But I know how to get, and keep, a social group in which people always engaging, always intellectually stimulating, always funny, or always ready with some new fact or story.

Be receptive. All the time. Any time you're out, be open to others' humanness. It's really just that simple. And I don't mean just the people who look like you. 

I make time to compliment local musicians after a show, or while they're on break. 

I'm that crazy person who compliments your funky necklace, out of nowhere, when you're in line at the bank. 

I tip buskers and ask them for their stories. 

I give my change to beggars in the street. I don't stop there. I smile, shake their hand, give them my spare scarf, break my burger in half and share it with them while we sit together on the sidewalk. One of my very good friends became my friend when I bought him a sandwich at Rally's last year. He rode trains for years, slept on my floor for a few days because he was uncomfortable on my couch, and is now living on a boat. He's seen pretty much the entire United States, plays the ukelele like a freak, and is one of the funniest storytellers I know.

I tweet encouraging words to porn stars on Twitter. Do you KNOW how much more satisfying it is to engage with people on an intellectual level? And yes. They're not mere holes, they are people. That lady is somebody's daughter, sister, girlfriend. They're brilliant people, in many cases. Did you know that Katja Kassin is trilingual and acing classes as a double-major? Did you know Jessie of (THAT'S A PORN SITE, don't click on it at work unless you're not keen on keeping your job.) has the most amazing sense of humor, and is a very accomplished, classically-trained dancer?

I politick with anarchists, communists, libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, primitivists, survivalists, preppers, conspiracy theorists. We've become quite good at fighting it out until common ground is found. 

I don't just network with CEO's, entrepreneurs, and published authors at conferences and business expos. I get stories about their families. I don't see people as a commodity or a possible receiver for a product or ideology. I meet them where they are and genuinely care for them.

It really is just. that. simple. Just be receptive and care for a person exactly where s/he is. Human contact is practically medicinal. You both come away with happier hearts.

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