Nothing beats the power of a genuine connection. You can be so irritated at the world and then someone you have a connection with shows up out of nowhere and the mood flips completely.
For example, I walked into my mechanic's shop last month and he was in a conversation with a new customer. The customer was giving him a hard time saying something like “Listen, if you take care of me, I’ll be the best customer you have, but if you screw me, I’ll screw you!”
What rubbish talk!
So I walked up and put my head on my mechanic’s chest and gave him a big bear hug (he’s a big dude, so my head can only reach to his chest). Seems awkward when writing it—it was awkward when I did it too.
But it changed the new customer’s mood entirely.
Customer: “Whoa, what’s up with that man? You hug all your customers like that?”
Mechanic: “No, just Tim. But he’s the best.”
Customer: “Man, I’ve never seen anybody love their customers like that. You must be the real deal!”
And we all shared a chuckle.
My sister was in a car accident a few months ago. She barely bumped the heavy lady in front of her. But the lady was claiming that the steering wheel smashed into her belly (most likely true). She was threatening my sister and getting agitated—far too agitated, in my humble opinion.
Then, my dad shows up. He’s kind of a touchy-feely guy, but genuinely cares about everyone. He really does. So he walks up to the victim, smiles, asks her how she’s doing, gives her a side hug, and then pats her on the shoulder and nods affirmatively, listening to her story and how she’s going to sue him.
5 minutes later, she knows my dad’s first name, he knows her son’s name. They’re smiling and chatting. She took herself to the hospital to get checked out, but didn’t sue.
I used to workout with this cage fighter dude. He was gnarly in every sense of the word. Apparently he won $30,000 USD and a mint condition 1969 Ford Mustang because he beat the best cage fighter in the region by shattering the guy’s collar bone in less than 15 seconds. Gnarly.
He showed me how he did it. I ended up on my back, clutching my shoulder and he said he barely touched me. Liar!
Anyway, I hadn’t seen Brock in years. As I was leaving a concert, there he was standing by the door. He was all buff and looking very professional as a bouncer. I walked up to him and yelled “Brock!” He looked at me with this “Who the heck are you?” face. Then I give him a big hug and reminded him how we used to workout at school and how he almost broke my collar bone.
He screams a few funny 4-letter words and he bear hugged me again. He couldn’t hear me that well, but the hug broke the barriers of being disconnected for all those years.
I know what some of you might be thinking, “This is a really long post just to tell me to go hug random people I used to workout with…”
Well that’s not exactly my point, although that’s a pretty good one.
I think the key is to build relationships that you’re willing to hug—not weird, strange, gross hugs—but relationships that you genuinely care about. Do you want the best for the person on the other side of the hug? Or on the other side of your checkout counter?
My mechanic and I hug mainly because he has grease on his hands and I don’t want that all over my hands, but we hug.
My dad hugs random people who have been in car accidents. Somehow it works for him.
I hugged a bouncer and he loved it.
Somehow a hug makes it feel like everything is going to be ok. It captures that moment of looking someone in the eyes and conveying that "I'm with you. I understand you."
Maybe the point is: get to where you’re willing to go the extra mile and even hug your best customers. If this is the case, then I think you just might be doing something right.
If I could hug you right now, I would. Thanks for reading and have an awesome week!
(photo via ray morris)