Who are you dining with?

October 31, 2011 — 10 Comments
Who are you dining with? | Joseph Lalonde

Image: Photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday night, my wife and I attended the wedding of a great couple. There was a beautiful ceremony and great time of fellowship at the church. So, let me start out by saying congratulations Mr. and Mrs. TJ Canon.

Following the wedding was the reception! Normally, you would think about the food, the music, and clinking glasses to get the new Mr. and Mrs. to kiss.

For me, I get a little nervous regarding where will we sit. Is it assigned seating or do you find your own seat? Who will be sitting next to me?

The seating at this reception was not assigned. You chose your own seat and then others joined you at the table.

It is always an adventure. Sometimes you get a dud of a meal partner. Sometimes you get to rub elbows with some great people.

You know the duds. They have bad table manners, ignore others at the table, etc. It just leaves you drained.

Then there are the people who bring the table to life. They ask questions, make jokes, and try to make you feel comfortable.

Find me a man who’s interesting enough to have dinner with and I’ll be happy.
–Lauren Bacall

This was one of the nights that we got to rub elbows with some great people.

The first people that sat next to us were in the publishing business. They do business with the major Christian book publishers. It was inspiring to listen to them talk about the authors they worked with and who they rubbed elbows with. But that was not what drew others to them.

Their joy and love of life was infectious. You could tell that they loved their children and each other. The words they spoke were uplifting and encouraging. They also asked questions about my wife and I and others at the table. They included us in their conversations even though they did not know us.

The next person to sit down at our table was a friend of this couple. He had helped design the buildings in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. He also made you feel like you were a part of the conversation at the table. He shared stories of others from the area and gave you a glimpse at the history of the city. The thing I will remember most about him is the way he called people by their first name. He made it a point to address you specifically. It was simply marvelous to chat with him.

The final couple at our table was a husband, wife, and their daughter. They, too, made it a point to be inclusive of everyone at the table. Their conversation included everyone at the table. They shared memories of the newly married couple and made us laugh.

What does all of this mean?

Be prepared to rub elbows with other people. When you are in a situation where you can sit by yourself or with a group of people you do not know, choose the group you do not know.

Keep your mind open and enjoy your time with the people you will meet. You never know who you might run into and where it could lead. It could lead to a great friendship, a new contact, or even a job opportunity.

Question: Do you shy away from meeting new people? If so, do you think you could benefit from meeting new people? Please share your answers in the comment section below.

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  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Very true!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great thoughts! It’s always a great thing to see what other people can bring into your life. I’m always looking ofr more opportunities to see how I can grow from other’s thoughts. Thanks for a great reminder!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Jeff. It can be amazing listening to those older and wiser than you. Keep an ear open and you will be amazed at the knowledge you will gain.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Absolutely! I have a few mentors in my life, but am always looking for something new to learn.

  • http://twitter.com/BeckIsALib Michael Charney

    Very insightful post; I can’t count the number of times that I’ve nervously sat down at a table with others, whether it be at weddings, conferences or–way back when–summer camp! I also feel that there’s a personality type factor at play; as an Introvert (MBTI type) I have a very difficult time, and so I often look for a table where conversation has already started. I imagine for an Extrovert it’s quite a bit easier.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Michael, thank you for your comment.

      I agree. Personality types play a role in how you feel in a situation.

      That is a great idea on how to make choosing a table less intimidating. We may try that technique the next time we run into this situation.

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  • jeff

    I also need new people, it seems.  I get stuck in these one-on-one or one-on-two friendships, esp. when the new groups that I attend aren’t the right fit.  These friendships are supposed to be secure bases for me, yet they become traps in which I am constantly accommodating these friends.

    Yeah.  I know.  God is leading me to new people, but I don’t take the cue seriously.  I backtrack.

  • http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/ Lorraine Marie Reguly

    It’s tough to meet new people, but it sounds like you had fun!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It can be. The key is putting ourselves in the situations that will encourage us to interact with those around us.