12 ways to make the world a friendlier place

In these times of division, disagreement and disconnection, we can make a difference by making strangers our friends

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The girl on the phone

I was on my way to some training in and stopped to treat myself to a coffee in the station. As I sat and savored the time to just sit quietly and stare, my attention was snagged by a girl, of about 25, talking, what seemed to be loudly, on her phone to person after person about work. I noticed some irritation arising in me at ‘my quiet time’ being disturbed until the last call.

In the last call the girl suddenly squealed; ‘I’ve just had a text through, our offer has been accepted on the house we’re buying! We’ve got a house!’. Her excitement and relief was palpable and she was beaming. As she finished the call she looked over sheepishly and apologized for being loud but my irritation had gone and I just felt so pleased for her.

At the same time as I gave her a thumbs up and said how happy I was for her, a guy at another table also gave her a round of applause. We all made eye contact and smiled as she told us how long she had been looking and how pleased she was to have a home of her own.Then she left, I went to pay and the guy had gone by the time I returned and yet my day felt different.

We had shared a moment together; 3 strangers, just 3 or 4 minutes and then the moment was gone, but in that moment we connected and shared happiness and support. It was lovely and left me feeling glowing as I left the station; and got lost.

The proud mum

As I was standing trying to make sense of the map, a lady came over and asked if she could help. She told me how she was in town to visit her son, how they were going for lunch, how proud she was of him.We connected, smiled together, shared a bit about our day ahead and then moved on.

The mobile phone hero Matt

Then there was Matt in a mobile phone shop, my hero. I had dropped my phone the night before and needed to replace it. Matt worked for 2 hours, (half an hour past his end of shift) to help me not only get a new phone but to save and transfer as much data as he could salvage. He was patient, determined, funny, polite and reassuring. When one thing didn’t work (and it looked like I only had 5 contacts rather than 600), he tried another, then another.

I was a stranger, yes a customer, but it would have been much easier and quicker for him to tell me the data was lost and there was nothing to be done. But 2 hours later I left with a new phone and 500 contacts.I also left with a real sense of having been taken care of, of having had my needs seen, understood and met. I left with a feeling of appreciation of Matt and his persistence and ability to problem solve.

Call center star Gill

Finally, yesterday I had to contact a call center.The first person I spoke to told me how sorry she was but there was nothing she could do.For some reason I called back later and spoke to Gill.Gill listened to what I needed and spent time giving me information, explaining and reassuring me until we came to a solution that was much, much better than I could have imagined.Gill spent a long time on the phone with me.She emailed me information; she called back when she said she would, she problem solved and took care of me.

The world is a friendly place

In these weeks where the media is full of stories of disharmony, of disagreement of rupture and separation these last 48 hours have served to remind me how very simple connection can be. Relationships can form and end in 3 minutes and yet leave all concerned feeling richer and supported.So what were the conditions that allowed for these connections?

How to connect

  1. Be friendly – when we are friendly, other people are more likely to respond to us as a friend.
  2. Decide to connect – don’t wait for the other person, be the one to reach out
  3. Be curious – curious about the other person, curious about the situation, curious about what is going on for you.
  4. Listen – Listen to understand and to find commonality rather than to judge, to disagree or to argue
  5. Be supportive – and allow yourself to be supported
  6. Drop your ego – forget how you look, what other people think of you, what you should or shouldn’t do.Forget about being right or being best and just be there with and for the other person.
  7. Look for solutions and create possibilities
  8. Be vulnerable – show how you feel, let people see the real you, when we are authentic we create authentic connections
  9. Laugh a lot - laugh at yourself, the situation.Never ever laugh anyone apart from yourself.
  10. Be patient – thing will take the time they take
  11. Be real - about what you need, what you can and can’t do , about the struggle you’re facing
  12. Trust that the other person is OK – there are very few people in the world who want to do harm, most of us are just getting on with our own lives and doing the best we can do.

“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” (the Talmud)

When we meet another person we meet them as we are as well as how they are. If we want a world where there is harmony, peace and connection then we have to meet the world in that way. We have to be the change we want to see in the world (Ghandi)

Julie Leoni

Life coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Dr

I am a well-being coach who helps people find their 'thing'; the thing that lights you up and gives you joy and energy. Listen to my podcast; 'What's your thing?' to get inspiration.

I support people to create a less stressed life, to boost their well-being, to ask for what they want and to look after their own needs so that they can hear their heart's call and live a more empowered and meaningful life.

I draw on experience and training in bereavement, domestic abuse, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Transactional Analysis and other therapeutic approaches.

I have 2 sons who I love loads (and who sometimes drive me crazy). I'm a Barefoot Trained coach and I got a distinction for my post-grad cert in 2011.

I have a PhD which led me to look at Emotional Intelligence in schools and I have a number of academic and professional qualifications in various types of therapy.

I have practiced meditation since I went to India over 30 years ago and I'm a yoga teacher. I have written a couple of books, I teach psychology and work with a large variety of coaching clients.


Go to the profile of Junia Noel
almost 5 years ago
My husband has a female friend that he started a friendship with while we were married about 2 years ago. They hid their friendship from me and I had to find out about it through phone records and text messages. I was extremely uncomfortable when I found all this out and there were secrets and lies involved. He asked for forgiveness and I gave it, but he did not stop being friends with the girl, and basically I had to live with it. Ever since then my trust in him has suffered and I am still not comfortable with their friendship, even though he has backed off from her a lot. But the connection they have is still there, because every time they get around each other his attention is on her, they laugh a lot and share a lot of the same interests and have great chemistry. I feel so left out when they’re around each other, but my husband reassures me that it’s just a friendship, and nothing more. I’m skeptical of it all because they initially hid their friendship from me but I have to look for urgent help to keep and save my marriage so i decided to contact and look for a real spell caster online which i did for help, with in 2 days my husband come back to me and stop messaging the woman he is now faithful to me all thank to Dr happy the number one best spell caster in Africa google has ever recommended this year so contact him if you need help or still +2348133873774
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