How Stories Connect Us

Last evening I attended the monthly meeting of a women’s networking group I belong to in Kingston, Ontario where I live. Instead of the usual dinner and speaker, the evening was entitled All About Us. Whoever felt so moved, got up during dinner and told a story from her life tthat illustrated something about her that likely few in that group knew.

One woman told a story about being adopted and searching for her birth parents, one about how she met her now husband on an island in the Caribbean, one introduced her sister who was her guest and spoke about how much they and their siblings meant to each other having survived, and perhaps in spite of, a difficult childhood. Even I told the story of my connection with my ‘special friend’, a young boy who was abandoned by his mother who I became a ‘big sister’ to when he was 3, and is who now a grown man and part of the family I have with my life partner.

The stories were heartfelt – some were very amusing, some hilariously funny, some touching, some quirky, some sad yet uplifting. What they had in common however was that they all opened a window to seeing someone in a new way, a pathway to perhaps a different kind of conversation with people many of whom had been just acquaintances before.

And it made me think about how often we cross paths with people, and say something not much deeper than ‘hi, how are you? nice to see you’ and about what we miss when we don’t take the time to chat longer and learn more.

What would be possible if we took the time to inquire a little deeper? How could a story enhance that connection?

Reminder to self: Next time, spend more time with acquaintances in a real conversation, share a story, look for the story, and be open to a new and rewarding connection!