Have you ever noticed that some people are social while some are not? Some people love to meet new people and hear what the have to say while some are petrified. Yet there are those who truly don’t care. There’s always that I guess.
I have found that I have taken on a new characteristic, or perhaps just acknowledged and already existing one. Socialization. I love it and sometimes I am no good at it. Oddly enough that doesn’t seem to deter me from doing it again, only slightly differently to adjust for the previous mistake.
I’m not coming home at night and doing scientific analysis of my social habits but I think about how I felt that day and what went wrong. More importantly I think about what went right.
This makes me think about the endless opportunities. Perhaps the next person I meet may be my next business partner or boss. Maybe my friendly attitude will be the one thing that could have happened to save their life. The whole ripple effect thing. I don’t know everything but this I know. Being in a small community, like prison, you get to see first hand the ramifications of both negative and positive social impacts. I know that when I fail to follow my instincts and socialize with someone who is attempting to socialize with me, there’s a reason they are reaching out so passively. To many times in here the passive get manipulated and to many times I could have been the catalyst of positive change.
I don’t like that feeling of knowing I could have made a difference and didn’t. My own fear immobilizing my social skills. Watching someone else get used and abused and then me going ” what the heck? what happened?”
We may not be able to help everyone, but what about those we can? What about them? Someone did that for me, actually more like someones. I am thankful, and the only way to pay that favor back is to prove they made a difference by doing the same…but moving forward.

Remember that your warm greeting may be small or silly to some, maybe even you. But be genuinely friendly for one week and then purposefully stop and see how many people have come to depend on your smile. At least one person will miss it. That means you’ve made a difference in one person, what greater achievement is there?

Today my coworkers made fun of me because I was “to friendly” to customers. I work in a place where customer service is necessary, we cook food for staff and they come in to purchase food. I take that seriously because I hope to be a waiter when I get out. So when people come in I smile, I am friendly, because I want them to know that not every inmate is conforming to one label, convict. I am a person, who happens to care. So yeah, I am to friendly, but only for a prison setting.

Don’t conform to the negative people around you. Be a changer!

With Love
Jeff Utnage.