My wife and I just purchased a waffle maker. We’re probably a little bit too excited about it, but we don’t care. We both really like breakfast, and it is nice to make a slightly nicer treat with ease at home.
Just last week we finished our very first breakfast of waffles on a Sunday morning. As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but share a favorite college memory.
I went to college out of state on a leadership scholarship. I’m thankful I had the opportunity, but admittedly there were times during my freshmen year when I struggled to build some community. It often appeared to me that so many of the students already knew one another from high school days, but I was the only person from my high school at my university. Even though I was in this leadership scholarship program, I felt a bit shy at times waiting for others to initiate friendship.
And then one day after class, one of the guys in the program asked me and a few of the other students, “Do you like waffles?”
The correct answer to that question is yes. He grew up locally–just a few miles from the university and invited us back to his parents’ house for Waffle Night. I thought it would be just the 4-5 of us and his parents, but when we arrived it was probably fifteen people eating waffles.
Apparently it was a tradition his parents began when their eldest started high school. They knew schedules would be crazy, but they always wanted people to know that they were welcome and to provide opportunities for their kids to invite people over. They could always make a bit more batter and make a few more waffles. Over the years, they purchased a few additional waffle makers.
I sat around for a few hours that night talking not only with my friends from my same program, but the other waffle guests as well. It was a lot of fun.
And it didn’t require too much effort.
Far too often we make community some big thing. So many people sit at home by themselves waiting for someone else to initiate when really all it takes is a phone call and a quick idea. Nothing elaborate–something as simple as some waffles.
My favorite events are the ones where more can join. During my senior year in college, I was visiting a friend back east where I attended a dinner party that was held every nine days (to rotate the day of the week so that more could attend). Often it was a themed potluck. The size ranged from four guests to the largest one being around 40 guests. The food was great, but it was the conversation and the chance to connect that really made it worthwhile.
So think about a way you can invite people to connect. It could be over a plate of waffles or over a round of miniature golf. But go ahead and ask some people to hang out. More than likely, they are waiting for the phone to ring just like you.
Patrick Maurer, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), is a Keynote Speaker for conventions, conferences, and assemblies, and Facilitator of incredible retreats and teambuilding session. His perfected approach of fusing compelling topics with real-life account, insights, humor, and pop culture savviness have entertained and enriched audiences throughout North America for over a decade. www.pmaurer.com