“Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined.”
– T. Harv Eker

Two weeks ago when I shared the details of my uncomfortable date with a sexy Serb, I came to this realization:

I’m convinced more every day that challenging our comfort level and facing fears head-on is the key to success, reaching our biggest dreams and deepest desires, and leveling-up as an individual.

Rather than just explaining this verbally, I really wanted to share the experience with you tangibly. I wanted to encourage you to challenge your own comfort level and witness firsthand the power of self-invoked uncomfortableness. And thus, I announced the GiveLiveExplore Comfort Challenge-Challenge.

I wasn’t sure how it would play out. Maybe you’d think I was crazy. Or worse, maybe you wouldn’t be interested. Not helping chances, I imposed a short deadline, during the week of Thanksgiving no less.

But a handful of dedicated people, intent on attacking their own demons and fears, eagerly volunteered to join me. So as I type this, I’m humbled, moved, and inspired.

As promised, the top three most uncomfortable acts will win Tim Ferriss’s new book The 4-Hour Chef. And those winners will be chosen on by YOU, the readers.

So without further ado, here are the entries, in alphabetical order. After reading and watching these bold acts, I hope you’ll vote on your favorite three here:

CLICK HERE TO VOTE. Voting ends Sunday, December 2 at 11pm ET.  Feel free to send this to friends and family and ask them to vote too!

1. Ariela A.: No phone for 3 days. (And then accidentally losing her phone the next day).

Ariela went without a cell phone for 3 days. Then after the 3rd day…

“Once E and I arrived at the airport and sat down in our seats, waiting to be called for boarding, I took out my phone and put the battery back in.

I proceed to check the messages/texts I had missed and thought little of the time I went without it. Going without a phone for me really wasn’t very difficult to be honest; I enjoy that feeling of being free. About 30 minutes later, when sitting in the seat of the aircraft, I hear the flight attendant say they have closed the door to the aircraft and that we’d be in flight shortly, so naturally I reach down under the seat to find my cell phone in my bag to turn it off for the duration of the flight. Only, my phone wasn’t in my bag. Nor was it in my pockets, or under the seat. It was back on that chair in the airport.

I have never lost, broken, or destroyed a phone before. Ever. In-fact, I’ve managed to keep my cell phones to the point of taping them with duck tape. I always get oddly attached to my phone…

So there it was. I had lost my phone for the very first time in my life.

I once read that it takes 3 days for the human brain to begin to accept something as normal. So my conclusion is, after being w/o my phone for 3 days, to the point that I did not even look at it once, it was no longer in my frame of thought as it was last week. So when it was time to board the flight, the presence of my phone was not on my mind, as it had not been for the past three days.

Sometimes, it’s really not about removing something that one may feel is a distraction… sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the system we have is not always what is the problem, but rather it’s how we treat that system. For instance, maybe getting rid of the phone for 3 days wasn’t altogether helpful. Perhaps it would have been better had I decided to simply try to lessen its use.

Going cold turkey can be disruptive if the system I had in place was already not a problem. Although I agree it’s a great thing to learn to let go, and now for sure I’m having to let it go — it’s also a good lesson to take responsibility and not see the phone as a distraction, but rather how I used it, and how often we rely up on it. The phone in itself is an extremely useful (and a rather unreasonably expensive gadget, in certain cases).

Life happens. It’s ironic though how I ended up losing it in the end. But who knows, maybe it will find its way back to me, and if not… it’s not the end of the world (and perhaps a blessing in certain ways).

UPDATE! “Delta has my phone. Man, I am learning lessons left and right! Sometimes it pays to just put in that work, to keep calling and not give up on it, and believe that people will do the right thing.”

2. Ashley B.: Telling cheesy jokes to strangers in the SF/Berkeley area and filming it.

“Most people waiting for the metro are either 1– in a hurry, 2– bored or 3– busy keeping to themselves. It’s funny because metro stations are places where people from all walks of life meet in a common location and just wait, but yet no one even addresses another. For all I know, I could be rubbing elbows with Bill Gates! Or just a grandma.

I love cheesy jokes. But I realize this is usually just me. However, it was really nice to see some genuine smiles and/or chuckles come off these people’s faces, even if they’re simultaneously thinking i’m a crazy.”

VIDEO: Does a Joke a Day Keep the Dr. Away?

3. Mike B.: Bailing on the comfort challenge, thus facing the uncomfortableness of being called out. (Beardstache and all).

“For my comfort challenge, I chose to not complete any comfort challenges, even though I was fully aware that by joining the competition and not completing a comfort challenge you would call me out in front of all of your readers, thereby tarnishing my reputation and forcing me to face the uncomfortable fear of public humiliation. It’s the Inception of comfort challenges.

Achieving this particular comfort challenge required detailed planning and unwavering focus on my end goal of not completing a comfort challenge. This involved spending the vast majority of the past week at my parents’ house eating a lot of leftover turkey, watching Casino Royale, and rarely leaving the house lest I accidentally complete a comfort challenge. I experienced a range of emotions during this process, which I think can best be summed up in the attached picture (below).

Please note the presence of a beardstache (a mustache surrounded by the beginnings of a beard), which proved to be a formidable obstacle to completing my task. In the end, I believe that this challenge made me better prepared to not follow through on commitments in the future, which I believe will serve me well as a future MBA-wielding titan of industry.”

4. Sherri B.: Completely silent for 1 day.

“I did 7am til 6pm of no talking. Only slipped when I yelled at the dogs and said Wait a minute to my kids! It was hard and uncomfortable…felt really unnatural…glad it’s done!”

The caption for the picture below would be: “My family is loving life.”

5. Lynn C.: Smiling all day (As a self-proclaimed non-smiler).

“I selected this one because people are always telling me that I look mean – I am not, but I just don’t smile as often as I should.

I work for an immigrant rights organization and often receive calls from people who are immigrants and need assistance.

Monday morning I woke up early, and as I was getting ready for work I received a call from a man who was searching for help because his brother, Edson, a 26-year-old father of two, who had kidney failure and was receiving dialysis three times as week and was facing discharge from the hospital due to a lack of medical insurance. I told the man that I would help them find resources to assist his brother, so I headed to a coffee shop to start my day (I work remotely). As I drove off I had Edson’s situation in mind, but also wanted to complete the challenge I set out to do.

As I began to drive, suddenly, with the task at hand in mind, I started to smile. No one was around, but I thought I would practice my smile for when I did see someone. I felt like I was grinning more than smiling, but I continued to smile and had to consistently repeat aloud to myself, “Keep smiling.”Geez, I thought, this is going to take more effort than I anticipated.

I soon arrived at the coffee shop, set my stuff down and walked up to the counter to order a drink. “Hi!” I said to the barista. Busily she said, “Hi. What can I get for you?” I looked back at her, smiled and ordered my drink. She did not seem to notice the tremendous effort I was putting forward. I expected my smile to be reciprocated and yet it was not. Oh well. I grabbed my drink and sat down and began working.

Before I dug into my laptop and got lost in my own work bubble I decided to take a glance around the room and smile. Again, no one seemed to notice, and I was anxious to help the family that called me so I began to work. I had never helped a family in this situation and I didn’t even know where to begin, so I decided to turn to the Internet to begin my search.

After finding a few organizations that assisted dialysis patients I called them and got the run-around from a few. One call led to another and another. One person said, “Unfortunately, there are no organizations that can help.” After about 10 organizations and leaving messages for a few, I thought, “How can anyone smile while doing this? Maybe I should have attempted this task on a different day?” But I couldn’t let myself give up. I called a few more places and decided to grab some lunch.

As I left the coffee shop and headed to my car I continued smiling, but with a heavy heart for the family I was helping. Just as I got in my car I received a call from an organization I had reached out to. They told me that they were calling from a local hospital and could help the family in need. I was so excited that I immediately called the family.

As I notified the family I realized that I was smiling and this time it wasn’t forced. I also realized that I had a lot to smile about. My challenge not only tested my comfort, but also showed me a lesson that I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my health and that is worth smiling about. I continued my day and my challenge and although it wasn’t easy I will continue testing myself and smile more.”

6. Wade G.: Trying to talk to grumpy strangers on 4 different holiday flights.

“I was traveling back home to Boston for Thanksgiving…with the connections I had, there were 4 total flights, so 4 perfectly opportune time to talk and learn from strangers.

Pre-travel: Going into it, I wasn’t super nervous- I typically like to talk to the people next to me on planes to pass the time. This would be different though, as I was going in with the INTENTION to learn something and connect with my temporary airplane buddy.

Flight 1: I get assigned an exit row seat, with literally 8 feet between my legs and the seat in front of me. Score! Great conversation starter for the young lady next to me (double score) and the young man beside her. First I bring up our luck with the exit row- no dice. So Thanksgiving plans? “family.” At this point the man is asleep and the girl is halfway through her Cosmo magazine learning terrible sex tips. Hopefully flight 2 is better.

Flight 2: A 6 am flight out of Reagan that I barely catch since my cab never showed up. Thankful for good friends that morning. I also learned people on 6 am flights have no interest in holding conversations with strangers. I don’t remember even the person I was next to since they were out cold.

Flight 3: Another 6 am flight. True to form, no one wants to be bothered this early. The girl in the window seat immediately crumples up her sweatshirt and puts it against the window. The gentleman in the middle seat has those huge obnoxious Dr. Dre headphones that he doesn’t even take off when all electronics need to be off. I took it as a hint, and worked on the included crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine, where I get about halfway done (relevant for flight 4).

Flight 4: Okay, last chance here. I’m in the window seat next to a young-middle aged woman doing Sudoku on her iPad. Perfect! I love puzzles. I whip out this new plane’s in-flight magazine, and flip to the empty crossword. I ask her for a pen (I had one from before, but she had a purse, and purses ALWAYS have pens), and away I go. To her, I look like I’m a genius, but little does she know I already did half of it last flight. I keep using the crossword puzzle to ask for help with clues and maybe spur conversation on a random fact. NOPE. She’s engrossed in her digital sudoku. I blame Apple.

 Reaction: As a lot of people have noted, we live in a day and age of non-interaction for strangers. Cell phones, ipods, and other mobile distractions have created a generation of mostly introverts it seems. All of these people were likely lovely, enjoyable, and interesting people, but when in a situation that society dictated as a time okay to be introverted, then they were. Perhaps they exude such energy in their daily lives that they see an airplane ride as a time to be quiet and relax. I can definitely relate to that as a teacher when I am out after school.”

7. Zoom H., Marko M., & Vladimir V.: Laying down in the middle of a kafana (bar) in Belgrade, Serbia.

Pictures speak louder than words:

 

8. Christa K.: Filming strangers in Warsaw, Poland; Smiling and saying ‘Hi’ to all passing strangers for 1 day; No cell phone for 3 days; AND No speaking during one class period with 20 kindergartners. (Um, 4 comfort challenges)

“Shy, reserved, quiet, demure; always have been, try as I might, probably always will be. When I turned 27, I told myself I was going to make a conscious effort to change this. I did not have the intention of forcing myself to become an extrovert. I was thinking more along the lines of following don Miguel Ruiz’s Third Agreement (of The Four Agreements) to never make assumptions. I was going to adopt the mentality that, whatever situation I was faced with, it wasn’t going to be as bad or embarrassing as the worst case scenario I was concocting in my head, so I should just go for it. I did not choose specific challenges, just wanted to live my everyday life better. When the opportunity to participate in the GiveLiveExplore Comfort Challenge came up 2 years later, I saw it as a mulligan on my previous, not blundered, but perhaps lacking, attempt at bravery.

Challenge 1: Film a short video involving strangers (with their consent).

In hopes of gaining a more positive perspective on Warsaw, I decided to interview strangers and ask (if they spoke English) for some of their thoughts on the city. Warsaw, my “home,” is not my favorite place. I took a job here without ever having visited. When I left the airport after arriving and got my first glimpse, my head was ringing with those descending waa-waa-waa sound effects that express the disappointment a cartoon character feels when he is outsmarted by his also illustrated nemesis…again. Although I have embraced this fair city for what it is and have come to appreciate what it has taught me, I thought I could use some new insight.

I enlisted my friend Carri for this challenge because I will openly admit I am much more adventurous when I am not alone and Carri will do just about anything. Her amazingly outgoing personality does make her a “shyness enabler,” a quality I have realized I subconsciously look for in friends. While I am an advocate of not being a pushover, I am in awe of my friends who aren’t held back by the thought, “This has potential to be embarrassing.” Although even Carri was intimidated by this challenge, I put her at ease by promising I would do all of the work and I knew she wouldn’t let me quit. Carri was my moral support. She also needed to walk her dog, Puszek, so it really worked out for everyone.

As we walked around the city decided who our next “victims” would be, I found it easier and easier to approach strangers. With each new person I spoke to, I felt a rush of confidence and thought, “This is not such a big deal after all!” I will admit I didn’t talk to everyone I wanted to, or could have, and I was internally calculating who would be best to approach. I knew young people were more likely to speak English, people who were not alone would be more willing to participate. More than half of the people I asked turned me down, mostly because of the dreaded “video,” but everyone I spoke to, even if they were not filmed, is someone I never would have met if it weren’t for this challenge. While I probably won’t be doing too many film projects in the near future and no one really helped me to find a new love for Warsaw, I did discover that I could put aside my own fears to accomplish this challenge…and had fun doing it!

VIDEO: Thoughts on Warsaw

Challenge 2: For a full day, smile and say Hi to all strangers you pass.

When I was preparing to move to Poland, I found a copy of Lonely Planet Poland and tried to figure out what I was getting myself into. My favorite part of LP books is always the etiquette section where I was surprised and humored to find this quote in the Poland edition, “…smiling at strangers is seen as a sign of stupidity.” And it’s true.

The stoic nature of the Polish people was probably the biggest cultural shock I experienced when I moved here. There is no smiling, and after the initial up and down glance people give to make sure you are dressed appropriately enough to be seen in public (sorry, girls, no sweatpants allowed here!), there is not usually even much eye contact. When I was in the US this summer, I was taken aback when people would pass me and say “good morning” or comment on the weather. After nearly two years I have gotten used to the Polish way and now my face looks just like theirs.

I chose a Saturday for this challenge because I would see more people I didn’t know, but I was nervous. During my morning walk to the grocery store, I visualized saying a simple “dzien dobre” to every person I passed, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Finally, I got my first one out to an older gentleman in my apartment complex and he actually said it back! What?! Quickly, it was no big deal and I was dzien dobre-ing all over town. Not everyone responded, some people stared back at me, and I’m sure all of them thought I was crazy, but I just kept walking, with my stupid smile pasted all over my face. You miss out on a lot when you are afraid to take risks…of any size.

Challenge 3: Don’t use your cell phone for 3 days (and computer).

Three days with no cell phone, no problem! But because I am competitive and a bit of an overachiever, I extended this to three days without my home computer as well. A technology detox is something that I had intended to do for some time now, but always found an excuse. I am typically not without my phone, computer, Kindle or something that a flight attendant would make me put away during take off and landing. Here are some of the thoughts I had during my three day technology strike, all typed from the notes I was writing with good ol’ pen and paper!

I know that I am dependent on my phone and computer.  Not just to be in touch with people, but as a way to keep myself organized, find information, keep up with news, and further my interests and creative endeavors.  Three days without technology was difficult and I would by lying if I said I would want to go without it forever.

I realize that this is now just the way our world is working.  While I believe moderation in all things includes technology, my life has been greatly enhanced by what it has enabled me to do.  I probably won’t be doing long stints without my phone, computer, or camera, but I will definitely go screen-free once in a while.

Challenge 4: No speaking during one class period with 20 kindergartners.

I did try to be silent, not for an entire day, but for one class period with 20 kindergartners!  I had been meaning to try that all year just to focus on effective instruction and it really showed me a lot about my teaching practice.  I didn’t write anything up about it because I didn’t really complete the challenge, but it was still very educational!”

9. Bill M.: Interviewing traveling New Yorkers for a ‘documentary’ and filming it.

“I decided to choose the option to make a video so that I would have something to show for it. I approached a few strangers and definitely made plenty of people uncomfortable, including myself. Also my first time using iMovie, which was fun. I’m pleased with how it turned out, so thanks for the encouragement, and enjoy Spain!”

VIDEO: Thanksgiving JFK

 

10. Suzanne R.: Asking strangers in Hong Kong what makes them happy AND filming it.

“After reading your story it really inspired me to test my own comfort level. People that know me know I’m not the most outgoing, put-myself-out-there type of person. I’m usually not the one to pursue friendships, not because I don’t like someone, but because I’m, for lack of a better word, shy.

With that said, I wanted to challenge myself to ‘make the first move’. I chose a combination of two challenges: 1) ask 5 people what makes them happy, and 2) make a short video. I have to say this was not easy. The first few people I attempted to ask seemed to think I was very strange, staring at them, slowly walking toward them, then following them as they walked away from me. One woman even turned around to give me the evil eye and began to walk faster! Doh!

It’s funny how this challenge made me judge people before I even spoke to them. I would think to myself, “He looks mean,” or, “She looks like she’d say no.” I do have to say way more people were OK with answering the question rather than actually being on video.

With that said, I was able to record four people (two together), but I do have quite a few replies on what makes people happy.

I’ll start with the no-you-can’t-tape-me responses:
– Family and friends
– Laying in bed with my boyfriend eating McDonald’s
– My dog, wine, and reading a good book
– Chocolate
– My children’s smiling faces
– Shopping
– Nice weather
– Good friends and a loving family
– Laughing

I liked hearing the different responses from people, but it really made me uncomfortable walking up to strangers like that, which, I know, was the point. After the first three people, I do admit it was a lot easier and I didn’t back away as much. I’ll probably randomly take on a few more of the other challenges just for the fun of it. Thanks for the experience.

VIDEO: What Makes Hong Kong Happy (Interview 1)

The first video was from a shopping center. The sales people were more comfortable speaking in Cantonese so I’ll translate. The first woman said, “What will make me happy? I feel like family makes me happy.”
The second woman said, “Yes, family is what makes me happy”.

VIDEO: What Makes Hong Kong Happy (Interview 2)

VIDEO: What Makes Hong Kong Happy (Interview 3)

 

11. Sophia V.: Getting in touch and lining-up a meeting with hard-to-reach Karen Holtzblatt, CEO and founder of InContext Design.

“I contacted and set up a meeting with Karen Holtzblatt, the CEO and “visionary/founder” of InContext Design. She was the keynote speaker at a conference I went in October, so I had already met her. I wanted to get some career advice and basically make a more meaningful connection with this awesome awesome woman. I had already been tweeting a little with her, but last wednesday we spoke on the phone for about an hour.

The anticipation was definitely the most uncomfortable part of it. Setting up the call was easy, and the call itself was actually pretty easy too, But the hour before the call, when I was gathering questions for her, and anticipating was pretty uncomfortable….

So, the result? Next I am reaching out to Bill Buxton, the design director at Microsoft…I’ll let you know what happens!”

12. Margo Y.: Giving a compliment to 5 strangers in Chicago AND taking a picture of them.

 “I did a quick video explaining what I did. VIDEO: COMFORT CHALLENGE RARRR!

I ended up approaching 5 different people with a post-it for each:

Compliment 1: I LIKE YOUR BALLOON ANIMALS

This family was the first group that I approached. They just came from eating at Ed Debevics’ and were walking around with some crazy balloon animals. They are from the Chicago suburb of Deerfield and was spending the day shopping around the city.


Compliment 2: I LIKE HOW YOU COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER

I approached this couple after I noticed them walking past a second time from me. I noticed how the woman was wearing splashes of the same shade of green in her outfit, but then in close examination I realized her other half was also wearing a darker shade of green. I think the woman was really flattered, and I meant it in both the way they dressed and how they were behaving with each other. It was really sweet.


Compliment 3: I ADMIRE YOUR BOLDNESS

A typical family that was shopping walked by me. They were all wearing black coats/jackets except for their teenager daughter. She was wearing a bright almost neon orange peacoat and definitely was pulling it off. I liked how she was confident enough to wear something like that and I think it says something about one’s personality when they do. I forgot to take a photo of her though. (Oops.)


Compliment 4: YOU AND YOUR SON ARE ADORABLE

This mother and her young son ended up sitting right next to me. She was speaking softly to her son in Japanese so it was obvious they weren’t from around Chicago. There was definitely a little bit of a language barrier, but it all worked out and her son was possibly the cutest and biggest ham I’ve ever met. I mean, just look at the photo!


Compliment 5: I ADMIRE YOUR STYLE

I was pretty much done with putting myself in awkward situations so I started heading home when I walked by this mother and daughter. There was no way that I could walk by them and not say something. The little girl’s name was Frankie and they were finishing up their day of shopping together. There was just something unique and just so awesome of how they looked. They didn’t match, but you could tell they were mother and daughter by their style choices. I had to give them props for that.


CONCLUSION

I wanted to do a comfort challenge that involved me going to a public place and talk to complete strangers, because I personally find it incredibly hard to approach people that I don’t know, especially sober (ha.)  It’s something that I really want to change about myself, because my fear really epitomizes my lack of self-confidence. It took me 2 days to get myself to act on my idea and over an hour to talk to 5 strangers. After challenging myself, I found it to not be as difficult as I thought it would be. I also felt lucky that the people that I approached were extremely nice and understanding. After this challenge, I want to put myself in an uncomfortable social situation on a more regular basis (kind of gives you an adrenaline rush) until I get to the point where I am confident in myself that I no longer fear any kind of social situations.”

 

13. Kimia A.: Giving 5 strangers a compliment on Black Friday

“Last night I went Black Friday shopping with my cousins from 9pm-3am, and I didn’t tell them what I had planned.  But I took it upon myself to give 5 complete strangers a compliment and I knew my cousins would start thinking I was crazy, but it was funnier if they didn’t know!

So, keep the scenario in mind….people are literally elbowing eachother to get the $9.99 sweater at Banana Republic at 1:30AM.  PEOPLE.ARE.CRAZY.ON.BLACK.FRIDAY!

Compliment 1: The first one happened at the Gap Outlet store at 10:15PM.  There was a French family arguing over which size sweater fit the dad the best.  The mom was very stressed out, the little boy wanted nothing to do with it, and the dad was insisting he needed a medium when he seriously needed that large. In the middle of their argument, I just stepped to the side and said “I love the French language, it’s so beautiful.  Paris is one of my favorite places in the world!”  They just looked at me, said thank you, and went back to their argument.

Compliment 2: The second compliment happened in line to get into the J Crew store. It was around 11pm and there was the most ridiculous line to get in to the store (see picture below).  None of my cousins wanted to wait in line to get in, but my youngest one was dying to go in there.  So I told that we’d try to cut the line.  I walked up to the 10th person in line with my 15 year old cousin, and told a guy who I thought was very attractive….”You are very handsome, do you mind if my cousin and I stand in line with you?”  And then I had to chat it up with him for 15 minutes before we got into the store, but he was really cute and someone should have told him!  (I’ll tell my boyfriend about this before you post it and I have him read the post!)

Compliment 3: My third compliment came at the Kate Spade store around 12:30AM.  I have never seen so many people throwing handbags at each other like it was the last handbag they would ever see.  They were hoarding bags, stuffing them all over the store, and dragging their husbands/boyfriends along with them for the ride.  There was a girl who was incredibly annoying, I can say that she was one of the most annoying people I’d ever met.  She kept making her boyfriend run all around this incredibly small, incredibly crowded store and he looked like he wanted to kill himself.  The next time he passed me bringing his crazy girlfriend another handbag to show, I said to him “You are one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. I hope that my boyfriend will be as patient with me as you are being, your girlfriend is a lucky girl!”  Maybe this was a backhanded compliment to his psycho girlfriend, but I honestly admired his patience!  He was very appreciative that someone noticed.

Compliment 4: The fourth compliment I gave was to a girl who was about 13 years old.  I was in the Kenneth Cole store around 1:45AM.  Her dad was trying on suit jackets and her little brother was sleeping in the chair next to her.  She was being so sweet and telling her dad that everything looked good on him.  I thought it was so cute that she was up that late, and she was encouraging her dad.  I went up to the little girl and I said “you have a beautiful smile”.  She really did.  She was upbeat and excited to be there.  She wanted to help her dad and I loved it.  She looked so embarrassed that I said something to her, she didn’t say thank you or even hardly look me in the face, but I think it made her feel good.

Compliment 5: The last compliment was at 3AM at our last stop at the Banana Republic Factory store.  It was absolute chaos in that store.  It looked like a tornado had gone through there.  There were more clothes on the ground than on the shelves.  I couldn’t even look through the store to find a thing that I liked because I was too tired to be on my knees on the ground looking for a good deal.  There was a really young, college-aged guy who was reaching down on the ground, picking up the shirts, and folding them.  Except as soon as he’d fold it, someone would come through immediately and ruin it.  It didn’t look like it phased him, he just picked it back up and put it on the shelf.  I went up to him and I said “I worked at Banana Republic for 5 years when I was in high school and college, and you’re folding better than I ever knew how!  I hope you have a good night and it will be over before you know it!”  He just laughed, said thank you, and that he didn’t mind doing it because the time was going by fast and he was working to save for college.

Conclusion: I was exhausted at the end of the night, because it was 3 in the morning and I’d be shopping for 6 hours, stuffed my face with Thanksgiving food before I got there, and hardly slept the night before.  But it felt great to make other people feel good.  This is definitely not something I usually do.  I don’t really have a problem talking to random people, but it’s usually about something pretty mindless. Giving people compliments is getting personal, and definitely takes some nerve because you never know how people are going to take it.

Thanks for coming up with this fun game.  I had a great time.”

 

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