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connection relationships trust Oct 12, 2022

When someone you know well - or someone you know at least somewhat well - asks you if you have “any fun plans for the weekend?”, it’s a legitimate question, a nice check in, and worthy of a response. However, if it’s 6:18am on a Thursday morning, and as you’re being handed your nitro cold brew with sweet cream with an extra shot of espresso at the coffee shop’s drive-up window, the total stranger/barista asks you, “any fun plans for the weekend?”, although well-intended, it could feel a bit forced, intrusive and catch you off guard.

When this happened to me recently, I was certainly caught off guard at first, but then I realized there’s no harm in this question, or is there? Then, I thought about telling him our plans. Then I remembered I don’t know this person, or do I? Then, I sadly realized I wasn’t sure if we had any plans. Finally, with my mind a bit scrambled at this point, and a line of cars behind me, I muttered, “Wait, what?” and drove off with my nitro cold brew with sweet cream with an extra shot of awkwardness, perplexity, and espresso.

The earnest young man at the drive through window, who courageously inquired into my plans for the weekend, meant no harm. In fact, I believe he meant to make a connection. He smiled, he was friendly, he had a pep to his step only young baristas have at 6:18am, and I sensed his intentions were good. With all that said, the depth and personal nature of the inquiry still caught me off guard and left me a bit perplexed. I wasn’t upset or offended, just a bit concerned about it all. And my concern is, in our attempt to improve customer service, enhance the client experience, we may be going a bit quick, a dash too fast, adding an unnecessary shot of consumer connection, and in so doing, not allowing for ample time to genuinely and sincerely…wait for it…cultivate authentic connection!

If I don’t know you, I may not want to divulge my personal plans. And if we’re being real here, at 6:18am on a Thursday, pre-coffee mind you, I rarely know what I’m having for lunch that day, let alone, what the weekend entails. What I do know is we all need to practice patience and wait for these moments to unfold. In other words, authentic connections take time so we should slow down a bit, earn the right to go there, and…wait for it.

As we wait for it, and during that time of building relationship, connection, and trust, it may be okay if we just nod and smile. In fact, that might be exactly all that exchange requires. Maybe some eye contact and a sincere “have a nice day” will suffice in that moment, in that relationship, until we’ve earned the right to go further into personal plans for the weekend.

It's not called “forcing authentic connection” or “demanding authentic connection”. At Game On, we call it “Cultivating Authentic Connection” and it’s one of our signature teambuilding programs. What that means to us, and what we share in this training, is to trust the process, plant some seeds, tend to other people’s needs, and allow for relationships to naturally grow. The key word is to “cultivate” and give it some time.

So, in the meantime, please feel free to share…“any fun plans for the weekend!!!” Wait, what?

Nitro Cold Brew On. Cultivate On. Game On.

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