Lessons from a Brief Encounter

Linda Soller | May 30, 2016

The Encounter:

An attractive middle aged woman (much younger than me) came up to me in the grocery store and said, “I love your hair! It is the color I hoped mine would be, but I think mine will be white.” She was clearly letting her gray hair grow out, something I did nearly two years ago. Truly surprised by her remark, I managed a sincere thank you. She continued, “My friends are giving me a really hard time about going gray, but I am so excited about it.” I paused to gather my thoughts and said, “Well, I don’t regret it at all. It was very freeing. I think your color gray will be lovely, because it will be uniquely yours. Own it and enjoy. Thank you again for your kind words.” We smiled and parted ways.

The Lessons:

  1. It’s always best to give a sincere thank you to a compliment, even if you are surprised by it. Your response says you appreciate the thought and the gesture behind the remark. This was a pleasant encounter for us both, and trust me it was totally unexpected on my part.
  2. It’s the simple things that can make someone’s day. As I stood there, not feeling particularly put together, her words made me feel so much better. It wasn’t a gushing over statement, she was simply letting me know she personally liked my hair color. I also thought her remark was proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
  3. There are no strangers when your words are kind. How many times a day, or a week, could we say something nice to a stranger? It may be as simple as a, “Thank you, I really appreciate your holding the door open.” A few extra words, added to your “thank-you,” shows intention and thought.
  4. Friends can be opinionated, well-intentioned, and sometimes cruel when they tell you what they think. They are still your friends. Allow them to have a personal opinion, give them space to be comfortable expressing what they think, but ultimately the decision is yours. The lovely woman who spoke to me would be lovely with or without hair, or with hair of any color. I am sure her friends know that.

One of the things Jesus did consistently was address people he encountered along his travels. Their concerns were his concerns. He didn’t have to know them well to acknowledge them. Jesus never met a stranger, and his kindness changed the world. As you go about your week see if you can apply any or all of the lessons I learned. You never know the full impact of a brief encounter.


Have a great week!    :o)  Linda



DROP IN ON LINE: A blog by Linda Soller.



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