"Sherry, It's good to see you. How have you been?" Jacki asked.
"Really busy. I have so much work to do this week," Sherry replied, looking at her computer screen.
"Let me know if you'd like a walking buddy to take a break sometime," Jacki requested with a smile.
"Sure, but like I said I'm really busy," replied Sherry, half glancing at Jacki. "I'll let you know if I can ever take a break."
Does this dialogue sound familiar to you? Does Sherry remind you of someone you know at work? Does she remind you of yourself?
Let's analyze this situation by asking a few questions first.
In this exchange, Jacki probably walked away feeling that Sherry doesn't want to spend time with her. She may even feel slighted by the way Sherry failed to fully engage with her. Had Sherry spent just 1-2 minutes fully engaging with Jacki, she might have avoided making her feel so badly about trying to spend time with a friend.
What is a "half glance"?
The half glance is when you're talking to someone, but you're focused on something else at the same time. We're all guilty of it sometimes, but it becomes a problem when we're spending more time not connecting than we spend actually connecting with other people.
As human beings, we're natural connectors. We crave interactions with others, so when we do the opposite it hurts us by holding us back from our authenticity.
The next time you find yourself in the midst of a half glance, put down your iPhone, step away from the computer, and turn your body fully towards the person talking to you. Nothing should stop you from spending a couple of minutes engaging with a colleague or friend.
Tip: If you're really busy you can still take a few seconds to fully engage with the person who is talking with you. Give them just a minute of attention, then stop them and explain that you have a priority to handle, but will catch up with them at a later time. Be specific about your intentions and follow up when you said you will. This will help you avoid disappointing the other person and also builds trust in the relationship.
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