When was the last time you took the time to sit with someone, over a leisurely cup of coffee, with no agenda, simply to get to know them better? Remember, no agenda!
As a pastor, I meet with a lot of people. Sometimes I meet in my office, sometimes in a restaurant over a meal, and other times in a coffee shop over a cup of coffee. In the vast majority of cases those who I meet with have called the meeting. They are either wanting my advice on something, or they are having some sort of problem they need help with, or (my least favorite) they are upset with something I have said or done (most often those are in my office though the coffee does make it easier to take).
I recently had a cup of coffee with someone I have known for a number of years, someone I would call a dear friend. The choice to meet was someplace noisy with good coffee, or someplace quiet with bad coffee. He wisely chose noisy with good coffee. Turns out it wasn’t near as noisy as I thought, or the company was so good the noise didn’t matter. I would like to think the latter.
We spent well over an hour together and while we talked about the things he had wanted to talk about, I got much more than I bargained for. Here I had known this individual for years and sadly, for whatever reason, had never taken the time to just sit and drink a cup coffee with him, and with no agenda get to know him better. I walked away from our time together knowing my friend better, appreciating him more, and anticipating the next time I would grab a leisurely cup of coffee with a friend.
As I thought about how pleasant it was, I thought of what things I might do to replicate this experience next time.
- Call someone, with no agenda, and invite them to grab a ‘leisurely’ cup of coffee. Remember, no agenda!
- Choose a place that is conducive to some good conversation, not too noisy, and not so quiet it feels like the public library.
- Choose a place with good coffee, and pay for it. Remember, you invited them.
- Ask questions that show genuine interest in getting to know the person, with no expectation of them reciprocating.
- Listen! This means don’t be checking your text messages during your time together. In fact it might be best to put your phone away altogether.
- Enjoy and do it again, with someone new!
When was the last time you had an unexpected surprise in getting to know someone you thought you knew well?