FOUR THINGS TO ASK A STRANGER (almost a parody)

Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?

A local newspaper has done an excellent job of capturing my answer to that question:

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/whidbey/swr/lifestyle/105303903.html

Yesterday I was in a business services shop. The customer ahead of me objected to the price she had been charged for a job. The clerk pointed to the posted rate schedule. The customer objected. The clerk expressed that perhaps the owner had given her a special price but that the amount quoted was the posted rate. The customer objected unkindly, loudly and implied the clerk was obviously pocketing the proceeds. The clerk explained, again, her requirement to charge the posted prices. Yes. You guessed it. The customer upped the accusation, volume and venom.

One of the challenges with bullying is this: if intervention is not done judiciously, it can actually get worse for the person being bullied. Yesterday my choice was to help build up the person behind the counter after the bully left. Funny: she didn't look like a bully. She was a middle aged woman of average build and dress. She might have looked average but her ability to fire off verbal vitriol was well above average. She left.

The clerk was almost in tears and I said, "You'll notice I'm not even ASKING what the price is for my job." Even though I said it with a smile she thought I was getting ready to launch into her. I caught her eyes. "I'm making light of a difficult situation. You did just fine with that other person: it was her issue, not yours. The prices are posted in plain sight." And then she laughed. The tension melted and we had a little chat about the effects of bullying. Interestingly enough, the writing (TheTrevorProject.org) on my shaved head never became topical.

As Steve Maraboli says, says, and says again, "One kind gesture, one person at a time, one day at a time." YOU can make a difference. S.T.A.N.D. Start Today A New Direction

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