By nature of humans being social creatures living all together in huge communities we often happen upon people we’ve never met before. Most of the time we meet for a few seconds, a minute maybe, before ricocheting off away from each other back into the crowd – never to see nor recognise each other ever again. Sometimes, though, people stick.
Last night I was on a language-learning forum with regards to my earlier post about the Russian Language. I had written a post not dissimilar to the one on here concerning my succesful conversation with Vladimir – another one of those random encounters in life – and I was browsing the front page in a bored daze.
The website in question, one of my favourite language-learning communities created by my favourite language-learner, Benny Lewis, has a chat function. Think Facebook Chat and you’re not far off. Any user online can instigate a conversation with any other user online. I looked at the chat and saw two people were on. One was a chap I knew but hadn’t talked to. The other was a peculiar name – clearly not their own but rather a handle – and beyond that little name I had no idea who this person was, where he or she was from, what languages (if any) they were learning or if they had any desire to speak to me.
It was the smallest adventure I could possibly have. It was the littlest thing I could have done. I don’t know who this person is, how they might better my life and how I could possibly better theirs. The fear of the unknown. I clicked.
But even so – clicking on that name on a whim and engaging the delightful stranger on the other end has already opened doors for me. You see, it turns out she’s Russian. What’s more – she’s a Russian who has already helped friends learn Russian in exchange for having her English improved. We had a little chat, nothing major, and then I said goodbye and we parted ways. No biggie, right? Well, she was one of those people who stick. I get a message through today on the very same forum from her. She proffers up a suggestion of a two-hour English-Russian skype language exchange. I have taken her up on said suggestion.
I am reminded of two of my closest friends at University. Neither were housemates of mine in the typical first-year situation in England of sharing University accomodation with fellow students. Both of them were friends brought in from the outside that I met through association and thereafter stuck to me.
What’s the point of my ramblings in nostalgia? Well the “people who stick” analogy bears a very important lesson. You see – connections are made when people stick. Ergo, should one wish to make connetions – be adhesive.
Go out, meet people, do as much as possible. Try everything. Throw yourself against metaphorical walls. See what sticks.
You never know – you might have fun.