The Lost Art of Interaction


This morning reminded me of several years ago when I went to New York City for the weekend with my family.  Let me go back to that time before embarking on my experience today.  We decided to ride the subway from Midtown to Downtown Manhattan.  I came from a very friendly rural town in eastern Colorado where everybody said hello to everyone they came in contact with.  I thought I would try my skills of greeting people in the subways of New York.  I determined I would just say hello to those I was close to.  What a shock.  In the midst of a crowded subway, there was no interaction with anyone within a foot of others.  Total silence.  No recognition of the person next to them.  I said, “Hello” and you would have thought that I was from outer space.  No response.  No word recognition.  No connection.  No interaction.  Not one person responded to my greeting.  In the busiest city in the United States in the busiest subway there was silence.  The lost art of interaction.

Catching you up to speed, this morning I was shuttling for Airpark Auto Service and happened to greet two new customers who were coming to the shop for the first time.  The response was much different from the outcome I experienced in New York.  They didn’t know what to expect.  I offered them each a cup of coffee and served them with their cream and sugar.  I got them to talk about where they were from.  James was from Chicago and had recently moved here permanently about 4 months ago.  Julie moved from Oregon several months ago to be close to her children living here.  Margaret (a regular at Airpark Auto Service) had been here since 1994 from Buffalo, New York.  They began to talk with one another as I had some work to do.

What was interesting to note is that James could have gotten a shuttle home, but decided to spend a couple of hours in our waiting room and connect with the two ladies.  Margaret’s car was finished, but she stayed in the waiting room and continued to interact with the others for some 20 minutes.  All I did was ask a couple of questions and off the three of them went.  The more they talked the more common interest was developed.  It only took a question or two of asking about their lives to begin the dialogue.

How many times do we miss the joy of connecting with others because we are pre-occupied with life?  This journey needs to incorporate the art of interaction with those we come in contact with.  You never know what you might learn in the process of reaching out and saying, “Hello.”  Met anyone interesting lately?

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About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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