The clerk takes your credit card without making eye contact, your waitress barely looks at you when she writes your order, the TSA guard at the airport doesn’t so much as glance from your driver’s license to your face, and that’s his job!
We have become invisible to each other.
Last week I was at a conference with a diverse group of authors–experts on topics from helping your baby learn to avoiding scams by psychics. At lunch I sat across from a doctor who helps couples improve their sex lives. Casually I said, “I think men who unload the dishwasher have more sex than men who don’t.” Everyone laughed, the women nodded in agreement.
To my surprise the doctor said, “Actually that’s true. Men who unload the dishwasher do have more rewarding sexual relationships.”
And then he told me why.
When men do this, their wives feel SEEN. It makes them feel like their husbands value them and notice all the things they do each day. It’s like saying thank you, through action.
Because it was almost Father’s Day, I thought about my father, a man who really saw people. He was a pediatrician who loved engaging young parents about their babies, even strangers. He talked to airline stewardesses and grocery store clerks, he looked them in the eye, smiled and asked about their families and their health. In return? People really saw my dad, he had a great effect on the world and was one of the most fulfilled people I’ve ever known.
We all want to be seen. Appreciation is icing on the cake but just being seen is pretty good.
I’ve been busy lately, crazy busy. And yet I realized, it doesn’t take much time at all to really see someone like my dad did. In honor of Father’s Day, I am going to challenge myself to seepeople for the next week. Right now I’m on my way up to Vermont to visit my two best girlfriends, so I’ll have plenty of opportunity with the taxi driver, the man who takes my bags, the person in line for my boarding pass. And I know…the world will seem a little brighter, just from this simple act. Want to try it with me?
There’s probably a scientific explanation that goes back to our deep history and biology about why this feels so good. If you know the answer let me know. Otherwise, let’s try it…look people in the eye for a while. I think it might make us feel like a million dollars. I’ll let you know how it goes for me. And you let me know how it goes for you…
Until next Tuesday,