My mother is an extrovert. Connecting with her neighbours (her definition of “neighbours” also includes people in the next building — and street) is her natural way of being. One of the things I learned from her is sharing food with neighbours. Multiple times a week, I would be sent to their homes with a bowl of something or the other that mum had just made.
Now, here’s the thing — my mum is a very, very creative cook.
Passionfruit and Tang powder become her salad dressing. Boiled jackfruit seeds may go into a sambhar. Noodles may replace rice in dahi chawal.
She would politely tell the neighbour aunty, ‘Taste it and if you don’t like it, I am happy to have it back. Please don’t throw it away or waste it. After all, we all have different tastes. Really, I don’t mind at all — just let me know.’
I often saw the surprised expression on some of their faces.
- I think this is a bold relational move that says:
- Here is my offer to you.
- It is okay for you to not like it.
- Let me know your feedback.
- In fact, I am keen to know your feedback — so please do share.
Others make offers to us all the time.
- How often do we reject someone else’s offer but are not willing to share it?
- We do not share feedback either.
- We do not negotiate for what it is that we REALLY want.
- We wall off the other person, act nice, say a harmless lie or worse, avoid the topic
And if we are the ones making an offer, we hesitate to do what my mum did. Instead, we wait. We do not ask.
What have been your moves to establish open communication, authenticity and connection? I’d love to hear some shares.