But the thing that I want to elaborate on today is a comment Mike made last night while clearing the table: "Café Davis really shows that everyone is interesting." I think that we often tend to downplay the richness of our own stories. I've written before about how people don't like to toot their own horns for fear of sounding like bragging, but no one truly enjoys a convo full of soundbites about the weather. No one walks away from soundbites feeling particularly engaged or enriched. Opening our doors a little teeny bit so that people can peek inside to who we really are, however, is the stuff of true connection.
During Café Davis every night, between eating dinner and serving dessert, we go around the table and ask people to introduce themselves. There's no rule to this activity - the point is to help people put names with faces and kinda get a sense of who the other folks are sitting around the table. There are a lot of people who show up at Café Davis that I don't know (huge props to the brave!), and I also really appreciate the opportunity to hear a bit more about the guests. And the awesome part is that during this introduction period, sh*t can get magical. Introductions mean that Rob Base sing-a-longs become a possibility, and as hosts, there's nothing better that we could ask for (unless a guest brought a winning lottery ticket as a hostess gift, which really isn't that bad of an idea now that I think of it....)
But back to introductions and my point in all of this rambling... it's kind of funny because when I announce that we all have to introduce ourselves, guests often wriggle in their seats and look a little uncomfortable. Then when it's their turn, they'll preface their introduction with a disclaimer about their boring life. I want to say here and now that any story you're telling yourself about your boring life is just not true. We all have the same number of hours in each day, and we choose to fill them somehow. We should all trust our choices, and feel free to share quotidian details with others. We all love to hear the details of each other's lives, primarily because we can find commonality or difference in them. Then we experience that pleasing little "ah-ha!" moment when we think, "OMG - that reminds me of something! I have a story to share! Be polite... don't interrupt! Don't interrupt!" (Fact: that internal dialog may be more subconscious for some than for others). Sharing even the tiniest morsel of ourselves is often all the fodder we need to get the conversational ball rolling.
So, here's my challenge to you. The next time you're faced with a dreaded small-talk moment. Take a deep breath and think of something self-affirming. Think of the one thing that has made you happy in that day, week, or month, and tell someone else about it. You'll be starting a conversation in a positive and upbeat manner. You'll seem friendly and open. And for those of you who still have Café Davis reservations, go ahead and think of an interesting nugget to share. I'm not lying when I say that I can hardly wait to hear it!