I believe that everyone should be treated as a friend until they prove themselves as something else. More than just a “benefit of the doubt” scenario, I think the world would be a much better place if we just greeted each other nicely, or talked to our neighbor on the bus in the morning, or chatted with the barista while we’re waiting for our morning coffee. It seems to me that the American public has become so isolated that we don’t even realize other people live all around us that we can learn from, respect, and enjoy. I believe if everyone would just smile at someone else on the subway, or ask how another person is doing that day, or commit some other small act of kindness, the world would be a much better place.
One might wonder how I have come to this belief, and I have to say that it was one particular experience on a trip to Chicago that really opened my eyes to this way of living. In a mere four hours, Cubs fans at Wrigley Field showed me what it means to be compassionate and friendly. When I arrived at the stadium, I was a tourist from Atlanta. When I left the stadium, I was exactly the same as everyone else; A rabid baseball fan coming out of an incredible game with several new friends.
Let me backtrack to the actual game and explain this further. By a wonderful coincidence, I ended up with a ticket in a season ticket holder section. This wouldn’t mean much to most people, but people familiar with baseball parks know that this is where the true fans sit. Little did I know, I was entering into a community where everyone knew each other, and were brought together by a common obsession, the Cubs. From the second I sat down, people were chatting with me about all different subjects, including the game, travel, life back in Atlanta, colleges that I was visiting that week, and more subjects that I can’t even remember. This group of complete strangers had become my friends, simply by initiating conversation. Had I never talked to them, I would have enjoyed the game, gone back to my hotel, and overall had a much less extraordinary experience.