i’ll always say hello

[think kit. day eleven.] MY COUCH // CHICAGO — If you and I are going to sit together at a table for more than 5 minutes, I’m going to introduce myself. Exceptions include grumpy-looking individuals at Starbucks or anyone wearing headphones. One should always honor the symbolic “don’t talk to me” that is a stranger wearing headphones.

When I started going to a coworking space upon moving to Chicago, I made a point of introducing myself to everyone as they came in. After all, the reason I go to a coworking space is because I crave social interactions on a daily basis. That, and my dog is not a fantastic office mate.

One of my favorite things about coworking spaces is the ability to work with people you don’t actually work with. There’s no office politics. The professional boundaries that can be so hard to navigate in traditional workspaces essentially do not exist in coworking spaces. They’re not all like that — I visited a few library-like spaces here, and there was no way in hell I’d pay for such a depressing experience — but that’s what it’s like for me at NextSpace. It’s what I loved about the Speak Easy in Indy.

I have a tendency to jump right in and try to get to know people quickly. Part of that comes from my background as a journalist, always asking questions and wanting to hear stories, but I’m naturally outgoing. Sure, I get nervous and feel awkward just like everyone else, but that’s not usually enough to keep me from starting a conversation. I’m sure plenty of people find my forward approach a bit off-putting, but oh well. It’s who I am, and it works enough of the time for me to be a happy person.

I’m happy to have made new friends. We chat about our weekends, play Fantasy Football, go out to lunch, enjoy after-work drinks and participate in plenty of shenanigans in between.

Still, I miss the people I left behind in Indianapolis. I miss my college friends, people I met on previous jobs and internships, family who feel like friends and live far away. Meeting new people is like adding books to your personal library — you shift things around but hold onto all the good ones. You treasure them, you want to keep them all, but there’s only so much room on the shelves. So you buy more shelves, stack the books two volumes deep, knowing you’ll forget about some for a while, and keep on rearranging as new ones come in.

I think we have an infinite capacity for friendships: old ones, funny ones, small ones. The classics, the epics and the short stories. It’s a comfort to keep them nearby, if only in the back of your mind or in some obscure online collection, knowing you can revisit them at any time.

[think kit. dec. 11 prompt: Nametags and punchbowls aren’t necessary (but we’re okay with that!) – who did you meet this year? Was it awkward? Enlightening? Was your first impression correct? Was it accidental & meant to be, pre-arranged, or somewhere in-between? Whether you found a soulmate, held a new baby, or finally trusted someone to style your hair just so, write about a new person (or people) in your life.]

{image: some of the NextSpace River North crew, watching our community manager try to eat 35 tacos in 1 hour. He made it to 21.}

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