The Chatty Café Scheme is a positive movement that exists to bring people together and in doing so reduce loneliness. It is all about good vibes and happy thoughts but this last week we have been thinking more along the lines of ‘keeping it real’.
Recently we have shared a few social media posts like this one where we quoted Susan Calman, “I smile at people on the tube & even if they look at me like I’m mad, I don’t care. Because once in a while someone will smile back. And then they might smile at someone else, & before you know it, perhaps we’ll all feel better”
..and while this is what we stand for and what we are all about (hence us [posting it), we are questioning ‘is it real?’ is this like seriously real life stuff?
We want people to start smiling at each other and to interact a bit more but in the real world is it actually going to happen.
We suppose what we are trying to say is just because the world seems to be on a positivity mission, is it going to make a blind bit of difference and are we going to be able to practice what we preach?
You can’t walk into a gift shop without being bombarded by cards full of inspirational quotes, facebook news feeds are crowded with sayings, mantras and uplifting quotes while a huge proportion of twitter posts encourage positivity and things we should all be doing to be happier.
This is all great, after all positivity does breed positivity but lets mix it up a bit and keep it real.
We know it will brighten both ours and another persons day if we can smile at each other or even have a face to face conversation. We know it will feel good to say hello to a stranger but lets be honest sometimes its pretty god damn hard to do it.
When you are mentally in a bright, happy place, then the world is your oyster. You can confidently say hello to someone and if they don’t say it back its like water off a ducks back – no problemo ‘I’m still good’. When you are feeling good you have the inner strength to go and sit at that Chatter & Natter table, to smile at that person in the shop, to feel like you are interesting and vibrant.
When you are happy the world just generally looks and feels nicer.
But when life is lets face it – quite shit, none of the above applies.
We know all the mantras and sayings like ‘live, laugh, love’. We know we should ‘not count the days but make the days count’ But bloody hell life isn’t that simple and if it was then yes it is quite probable that we would all be walking round smiling at each other and saying hello to strangers.
What The Chatty Café Scheme has shown us is that there are loads of cafes and other venues out there that are up for providing a little bit of space where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers.
There will be lots of times that no-one sits there because in real life there are lots of times people just don’t want to engage with other people. That’s real life and that’s fine.
There will also be times that a few people will come together and that will be bloody brilliant.
People are going to be on phones, people are very busy because the job market is tough and we have to work ridiculous hours to keep our jobs. It is likely that life will keep going as it is for quite some time so lets work with what we’ve got.
Lets try to smile at another human, even if it is only on a good day, when we are feeling okay.
Lets try to say hello to another human, even if it is really quick whilst looking up from our phone and it starts and ends with just hello.
Either way we are going to keep encouraging face to face, human interaction because its what we do, but we promise to keep it real along the way.