Gain confidence by walking your dog?
Sounds silly that you can gain more confidence by walking your dog but it works.
Let me explain how this study and article came about.
A year ago ago I had a new neighbor move in. Her name is Betty and is in
her, well lets just say she is more mature than I am. Of course my wife and introduced ourselves to her and welcomed her to the neighborhood. Invited her
over to dinner and got to know her fairly well.
Then one day while out walking my dog, Betty came out to chat with me and
to pet Rosie (my dog). As we were chatting she mentioned that I must know
everyone in the development as I waved at everyone as they drove by and they
Laughing I told her no that I didn't know everyone yet but was working on it.
Betty than asked me how I knew so many and stated that she felt awkward about meeting people and as late had only met a few of the neighbors.
I told her it was no secret and that if she was willing to go for a walk
with me, I would show and explain to her how I had met so many people.
As we began to walk I told Betty that she would have to do everything that
I did as we walked along.
As we began to walk I told Betty that we would wave and smile to every car
that went by with no exceptions. Betty began to laugh and asked if I thought
that the people might think I was a simpleton. That made me laugh also but
told her that some might but others would think that I was just being friendly.
Within our first two blocks we waved and smiled at three cars that went by
with two of the occupants waving back. The fourth car we waved up came up
behind us and gave us a honk so we turned and waved back at the waving driver.
Betty asked me if I knew them and I had to tell her no but that we waved at
each other every day.
In our third block we ran into Pete who was walking his dog Bart. As the dogs communicated in the way dogs do I introduced Betty to Pete and Bart. We exchanged small talk for a bit and then Pete and Bart continued on their way.
At this point I pulled out the small notebook and pen that I carry with me and handed them to Betty, telling her that I wanted her to write down Pete and Barts name and what she could remember of each of them.
Looking over her shoulder I saw that besides Pete's name she wrote cute and
by Barts name she wrote nice dog. Chuckling a bit I asked her to fill in some
more details which she did.
As we turned the corner a car pulled into the driveway about half a block up.
As we approached the car the driver was standing in the driveway and waved at
us so we waved and smiled back. Of course the driver wanted to pet Rosie and we introduced ourselves all the way around.
George the gentleman we just met mentioned that he had wanted to meet me and
Rosie as for months now as we had been waving at him as we went by and how
great it was to see friendly people out walking everyday.
I could see the look on Betty's face but she didn't say anything at that time.
George wished us a pleasant day and we the same to him and we continued on our walk.
Betty was trying to write as we walked and it wasn't but a few houses down
when Mary came out of her house with a treat for Rosie. Again I made
introductions and we enjoyed a few pleasantries.
Betty asked how Mary and I met and Mary told her it was while we were both out walking our dogs.
By this time I could see the wheels spinning in Betty's head and she pulled
out the notebook and began writing furiously in it while we were still
chatting with Mary. Betty realized what she was doing and apologized to Mary
and explained to Mary that I was helping her meet more friends and she was
writing Mary's name down so she wouldn't forget.
Mary then asked Betty if she ever played bingo at the community center and
made a point of setting a time to play. Both ladies exchanged phone numbers
and chatted a bit longer about the neighborhood. As we were about to move on
the ladies gave each other a friendly hug and agreed to get together soon.
Within the next half hour Betty met 3 more people and I met one I hadn't met yet.
Over the next two weeks Betty and I continued our walks and we waved at everyone that drove by and chatted with those that we ran into.
By the end of two weeks Betty had adopted a dog and made many new friends and was soon out walking her dog 3 or 4 times a day.
Then one day last month I ran into Betty and her puppy as she was walking with a gentleman named Sam. Sam thanked me for helping him meet Betty and what a great thing I had done for her by building her confidence and getting her out to meet people. It turns out Betty had told Sam about our walking the dog experience and how it had helped her.
As it happens Betty, Sam, my wife and I now enjoy many dinner dates together.
I think I need to get my Tux cleaned :)
Have a Confident and Positive Day!
(In this experience Betty learned not to be afraid to wave, smile or to have a conversation with others. Betty also learned that by taking notes she could easily remember the details of the person she met and could speak with them even if it meant talking about the dogs first. Betty has quickly become friends with many of our neighbors and has actually introduced me to many I hadn't met yet. I can't wait for the wedding.)