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Tell Me Your Story
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One of the easiest ways to make a new friend is to say to someone, “Tell me your story.”

If you show an interest in someone, he or she usually takes that as a compliment. I enjoy discovering people. I like to find out things about them that most people don’t know. For instance, the gal who seems so quiet and shy but you find out she parasails! Or that guy who is a preacher but used to be a boxer. Finding fun discoveries about other folks is my bag.

Some stories are quite sad. However, many of the seemingly saddest tales have great turn-of-the-pages because people made lemonade out of their lemons.

I think often about the 12-year-old blind girl I interviewed for a leading Ohio newspaper. She did something they say the blind can’t do; she became a performance dancer—and learned various styles at that—in particular ballet. The blind can’t overcome a balance handicap? She did. She accomplished herself with musical instruments, too. Quite a kid. In addition, she lived in a ghetto. She overcame a host of obstacles. She really didn’t know the meaning, handicap. Her mother gave birth to her later in life than most women birth babies. She lost her husband right after her daughter was born. They lived quite modestly yet both seemed joyful and the mother radiated youth because of the delight she held for her daughter’s abilities. One proud mama.

Feelings of Youthfulness

I’ve listened to many stories to obtain interviews over the years. Most of them are personality profiles. I’ve often found myself caught up in an aura of excitement. My own youthful feelings renew in me, as I listen, making me want to continue accomplishing. More important, I find that by simply lending an ear to other’s stories, magnifies their own feelings of youthfulness. It’s fun to watch them enjoy recounting their stories.

For the older person, just recalling events that made their lives rich, transports them back to their younger days and revitalizes them. For the middle-aged, sharing their story acts as a beacon to keep them thinking young. For those who are young it gives them a sense of something to live up to, as they strive to live interesting, productive lives.

Of course, I realize that most people don’t have the privilege or even the skill to be “out there” interviewing for publication. Regardless, almost anyone can be a good listener and inquire, “Tell me you story.” Most people love to tell their experiences.

If you find yourself starting to feel “not so young,” try asking a new acquaintance about themselves. You’ll likely be fascinated. Or if someone asks you to share your story, please tell it. You might just think you’ve found the fountain of youth.

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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