Woman paying cashier in a flower nursery

The “I See You” Experiment

Check out this social experiment from guest blogger Katherine Wakefield, and let us know what you think and whether you’ll participate!

I am starting a social experiment. Me, a stranger-danger introvert; yes, me. It happened organically today and went well. As I was checking out at the grocery store, I felt warmth and happiness from the checkout girl. I looked at her nametag and felt compelled to call her by name and say thank you. I repeated her name over and over in my head as I swiped my card to pay. Our eyes did not meet when she handed me the receipt, but I still said, “Thank you, Maggie.”

I could tell a shy and embarrassed smile crossed her face as she turned to the next customer. Yet, that smile was there because I “saw” her, called her by name, and acknowledged her personally.

As I drove home, I pondered my experience, thinking, I bet I could really brighten someone’s day—catch them off-guard when they are tired and cranky. You know, those employees that are desperate to go home, just having a bad day? I wonder what would happen, even in the face of their tiredness, if someone would only acknowledge them, see them, and call them by name. Could the appreciation and compassion that comes from personalizing the experience help them get through their shift, day, or even life?

The answer is YES—a resounding YES!

Perform the experiment to see for yourself. The next time you are in a store checkout line and your salesclerk appears to be having a humdrum day, do this:

1. Ask for their name (or learn it from their name tag).
2. With a smile on your face, look the person in the eyes.
3. Finally, say: “Thank you [name] for helping me today (or whatever interaction you had).”

That’s it—that’s all you have to do to brighten a person’s day. Simply let them know you see them, and they will instantly remember that they are appreciated and they are loved!

~ Katherine Wakefield

If you can’t wait for your next visit to the store to try this social experiment, use social media to virtually appreciate someone.

Here is a sample message for you to copy/paste, fill-in the blanks, and send:

[Name]… #ISeeYou [have/are] [acknowledge their action you appreciate]. Thank you!

For me:

*The above post previously appeared on Susan Cain’s former blog, The Power of Introverts.

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