Cardboard Cut-out Mission: Results

Well? How did it go? Did you attempt last week's mission to connect with those usually unnoticed people in your life?
 For me the results weren't surprising, but the main thing I noticed was how much fun I had. I figured most people would be friendly in response to my attempt to make a tiny connection with them. Indeed. 100% of my attempts had a positive result or at least a smile attached. Even the barista who was quite annoyed when I spilled my large mocha all over the floor 2 seconds after receiving it. (Hey, it was Monday morning, go easy!) But when I kept making jokes (at my expense) by the time she gave me a free refill she blessed me with a tiny smile. Score!

I noticed a couple times where it just wasn't practical to talk to someone. Sometimes the circumstances don't permit it. I was running late to pick up my child from school, or the other person was rushing by in an obvious hurry.  

But some really cool things did happen just because I made the effort.

I actually learned the name of the daycare lady at the gym who cares for my child every week so I can exercise. I thanked her, because I really appreciate she's there so I can workout when it fits my schedule. She seemed surprised but grateful when I thanked her. And for those of you wondering, yes, I did have a small conversation with the hot guy at the gym...since I was there might as well right? I learned the checkout guy at my grocery store has cool taste in music. When I asked him about it his face lit up and we chatted the whole time about music. The subsequent times I've gone into that store he has struck up cool conversations with me and I now have a tiny window into this kid's life. Amazing!

The strangest encounter of the week involved no words at all.

Whenever I'd go into a public place I would have the intention of connecting with the people there. I was at Chipotle's and a gentleman sitting at another table got up to leave. As he was putting on his coat I noticed him. For some reason he looked right at me. There was this moment when our eyes connected and we silently acknowledged each other. I don't mean in a "Hey, baby" kind of way. It was like two random people in the busy swirl of the universe saying hello to the common human element in the other. We nodded to each other and the moment ended as if nothing ever happened.

Going Forward

I have every intention of continuing to connect with random people who pop into my life for brief moments. I know I will have to be conscious of it, otherwise I will become complacent again. If you tried the mission, what experiences did you have? Was it hard for you to get out of your own head and notice others? Did anything interesting happen because of your efforts? Did you learn anything about yourself?

Leave a comment with your blog address if you have one. That way I can stop over for a visit and make a connection with YOU! No reason why this can't work in cyberspace too :)


  1. That is really cool, you had some great results. I've definitely been thinking about it more when I'm out and about, looking people in the eye and asking how they're doing. What I find is even if I don't think I'm doing anything especially different, it's almost like people can sense when you are more open and they talk to you more.
    You're right that sometimes it's not possible to engage more than the quick interaction. It made me think of those people who talk and talk to the cashier even after they've been rung up. (And of course it is always the person directly in front of me, and always when I am in a big hurry.) So, you have to be able to read the situation. But no matter how much time you have, kindness and a little eye contact go a long way.
    Great idea! I can't wait to see what the next mission is.

  2. Ruth, you are so right about others seem to sense when you are "open". Even just putting out that vibe makes a difference. It's fascinating. It also reminds me that whenever people seem distant it might be time to look at my own self and try to see what kind of "energy" I'M putting out.