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Ask “How are you?” Then stop and listen to the answer.

19 January 2010 No Comment

Level: Personal — Pillar: Conflict Transformation

This week’s featured story came in from China:

My first days in the US, I would meet college friends and they would say, “Hi, how are you?” I was about to stop and tell them how everything was, but then they smiled and walked away. I was expecting a real conversation, where I would get to know what was up with them. At first I was surprised, shocked even. It seemed shallow, like they didn’t really care. I prefer people who just smile and nod and walk away. But lately I have found myself doing the same thing.

There are street people in this neighborhood who I always smile at and talk to. I realized I was saying, “How are you?” and my legs were still moving; I’m not stopped, and I’m getting far away from this person. There was one guy who always asked, “Got any change, ma’am?” in a very small voice. So I stopped. I gave him my hand, and my name. I said, “It’s going to rain. Be sure you go someplace dry.”

I was proud of myself for making this step. People know if you have the heart, have the guts to connect with another person and feel good about yourself. Yes, that’s a peace action!

I have the courage to do that, and I want to encourage other people to take the first step to connect. If you want to do good with your heart, just do it! Ask “How are you?” Then stop and listen to the answer.

Yi Wang
China

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