“Is it a big deal to you if someone would approach you first to introduce themselves?” New acquaintance asked after I mentioned that he is one of the few people in my new workplace who initiated to get to know me first. “No. but it helps me categorize people.” I did not expound my answer since half of my brain was leaning to say yes. It seems that most friendships I have started with me saying the first hello than the other way around. These friendships were purposive. I had the intention, or at least a vision that I can get along with these people. And I was wired this way even before I got into Sales and Marketing, which sorts of encourage a lot of qualifying the people you meet as prospects in business. Having this mind set, even in friendship is not bad. It can actually be considered a gift – an inner intuition that a relationship can start by making the first move.
Speaking about saying the first hello, two friends from college whom I met by intentional “follow-ups” are Beryl and Olan. I remember sitting beside Beryl whenever I see her at the canteen for lunch or dropping by to say hi after her choir rehearsals. Later on, both of us felt comfortable enough to open up about personal challenges we encounter. I remember us praying for each other’s concerns at a nearby park after school hours, and the experience felt very special. Seven years has passed and we still keep in touch. Not regularly but enough for both of us to get updates on major events in our lives.
I would often bump into Olan at the library or the school corridors. He seemed snobbish and silent at first but being a former classmate of his crush worked for my advantage to get him to talk to me in less serious mode. It turns out he can actually say alot than what I expect. And what I eventually appreciated about this guy is how he can be frank in telling me his opinions, especially if he disagrees with me. I valued his being straight forward as an encouragement, even if it sometimes hurts. I get to enjoy Olan’s company for only 2 or three times in a year now, but he is still someone whom I know I can approach when I need advice or to hang out with.
I’m grateful for the relationships I didn’t miss by not hesitating to greet someone or start a conversation. But I’m now thinking, how come I don’t remember people who befriended me first? Were there times I “shooed” them away because of my pursuits of friends I chose? There has to be someone who said the first hello! Okay, suitors and stalkers are an exemption. Hmm… does it matter more now than the minute I wrote the first paragraph? Yes. I’m opening my eyes to offering friendships with me. But I still wouldn’t mind if I’m the first to give that friendly hello.