I think we’ve all had those moments where we lose hope in people. Maybe it’s a click of the news, someone cut you off on the road or poor customer service. What if I had a solution, nay a suggestion, for gaining that hope right back in one swoop. Craigslist.
I know I’ve talked again and again about my experiences with people I’ve met through Craigslist. I could write a book and title it, Strangers Aren’t So Strange : A Craigslist Story. I could fill the pages of the walks of life I’ve met but it would mean nothing if others didn’t experience it too. So here is my suggestion. Pick out five things in your home, things you just no longer use or need, things you could let go of. Log onto Craigslist and post them in the free section for someone who could use them.
Here’s the catch. Arrange to meet and give them the item, once you are contacted by someone. Don’t stick it in front of your door and tell them it will be waiting outside. That misses out on the experience. This is coming from an introvert who has such trouble starting conversation but I’ve found that people don’t care how you reach but that you do reach.
What you will find, what I have come to find, is that people will surprise you. When you give freely you get all the good in that person. They are so happy you didn’t just dump it off at a thrift store and instead allowed someone to have it for free and connected with them.
Every interaction I have, when I post something for free, goes differently each time with one exception. I’m greeted with open and honest kindness. I had a man give me $60 for free clothes for the “good deed” of helping his friend who had no clothes. I’ve had people offer me a place to stay with my RV, say they’re willing to help me move my stuff into the RV, give me a bottle of wine, passed on my blog link, and promoted my business ventures all because I put something up for free, making it easier on their lives to get what they are looking for. It’s a grand thing, giving.
Yesterday I posted some wheat flour for free because I’m going a month without flour and didn’t want the temptation around. When the woman (Laura) showed up she brought me some fresh chopped rosemary from her rosemary bush as a way of saying thank you. And now I have them in bundles hanging up to dry. Never do I expect anything in return and every time people surprise me. I’ve had conversations that went on for five hours, cried with strangers, hugged them and arranged to meet again. People can not only be kind, but they are kind if we give them the opportunity.
So: five things. Grab, post, experience and be surprised by humanity.