Story by Liz Pennock
When I was in the second grade, the boy who sat next to me looked directly at me, tilted his head, and told me that I was boring.
Devastated by this 7 year old’s cruel statement, I burst into tears and ran out of the classroom without explanation. My kind teacher, Mrs. Brookman, hurried outside and wrapped her arms around me, asking what was wrong.
I wiped my eyes and whispered that Michael told me I was boring.
She laughed and proceeded to tell me that there was “no such thing as boring” as long as people had eyes to see the world or a brain to help them remember things.
At the time, her words of wisdom didn’t mean much. But I never forgot what she said, and as I grew older, I began to realize that she was right. Suddenly, my world was full of questions for every person I met, and I became so much more curious about the experiences of others.
This is why every person I meet is the most interesting person I’ve ever met.
Think about it: every single person you meet or know has a story. They have childhood memories, a favorite song, or a book that always makes them cry.
Every person you meet is full of anecdotes, experiences, scrapes and bruises, all waiting to be shared.
There is too much that happens in a day for someone to be boring. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a boring person at all. In fact, I know there isn’t.
I know this because I ask questions. And you know what happens when you ask questions? You get answers. And if you ask great questions, you get even better answers.
It is incredible what you can learn if you take the time to focus on someone and truly listen to what they have to say. In this day and age, it’s easy to feel that if you talk to a stranger on the bus, or ask an acquaintance a deeper question, you’ll be creepy, not curious.
However, I find that to be completely untrue.
I once spoke with a gas station cashier with an incredible story. When he was a young boy, he was able to meet Cesar Chavez and sit in meetings with his uncle and other activists. His uncle was close friends with Cesar Chavez and helped him organized the National Farm Workers Association.
All I did was ask him how his day was, and when he said it was his uncle’s birthday, I simply asked how they were going to celebrate. Suddenly, I was chatting about Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers’ Movement.
The man was so surprised that I cared, and told me that our conversation had made his day. All because I believed he was interesting.
Of course, there are exceptions. People must be willing to share. They must be willing to put themselves out there and trust you with their information.
But even if they keep it all inside, one cannot assume that they don’t have something to offer.
There is so much to discover in each and every person, yet I think we’re often waiting for someone to uncover our stories.
Instead, ask the next sales clerk you encounter how their day is.
Ask your parents what their favorite piece of art is.
Ask the next person you meet what their favorite place in the world is.
If you keep doing this, you might discover that anyone can be the most interesting person in the world.