Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. We each have our own motivations, values, friends, etc. We’re all living our own story.
I was at my usual happy hour bar…where everybody knows my name. The bartender seemed unusually emotionally down. I sipped my wine and asked her, “Something wrong? You seem a bit low energy.” She said, “No…I’m fine. I’m good” with a distant blank gaze. So I asked, “In all your years bartending, what’s your worst experience?” She hesitated then lit up. She spoke a mile a minute, fuming about the most terrible customers taking advantage of her. I gently nodded to encourage her to keep going. When she got to the part of her story where she finally stood up for herself, I gave her a big smile. Her mood changed.
She went home and spent the weekend cleaning her home. The next day, she popped into work with her hair nicely done and makeup tidy. She returned poised and beautiful because someone noticed…and someone listened.
One-to-one conversations are the most powerful. It’s where we’re the most vulnerable. I love it. Whether it be lunch, a walk, or happy hour… One-to-one. There’s no other audience and you must tell a story. In all your years, what’s yours?