Just One

I’m going to get a little bit political here. This is not really about the politics but I have to mention the politics to get where I’m really going. Every time there is a major tragedy involving guns we start having the gun control debate again. The pro-gun people say that more restrictions on guns will not stop anyone from killing people. The anti-gun people say, “If it saves just one life we have to do it.”

I will not debate the merits of either of these arguments but I have an idea that might “save just one life” and you don’t even have to write to your congressman. It’s simple: befriend the quiet loner at your school or workplace. Just as the vast majority of gun owners will never shoot anyone, the vast majority of quiet loners will never hurt anyone. But what if the quiet loner that you work with or go to school with is the one? Would having a friend and not feeling “always left out” make a difference? Maybe, or maybe not. But what if it would? What if you could be the one to make a difference?

Many loners are just relatively normal folks who really just want to be left alone. Many others are socially awkward, don’t know how to talk to people, and desperately want to fit in. A few become paranoid and think everyone hates them and is out to get them. Either way, would it hurt you to smile and say “Hi, how are you?” Would it hurt you to invite that person to sit with you at lunch? Would it hurt you to ask, “How’s the family?” – “What are your hobbies?” – “What kind of music do you like?” – “Did you see last night’s episode of Castle?” Maybe you don’t feel comfortable approaching someone you don’t know well. Maybe the guy’s weird and creeps you out a little bit. Get over it. If it saves one life won’t it be worth it? Not even that – if you just make someone’s day, won’t that be worth it? And once you start talking to him (or her) you might find out he’s not so weird after all. Or that weird isn’t always a bad thing.

4 thoughts on “Just One

  1. Hippie

    Zomg talk to someone? But I might have to put away my smartphone! I might have to abandon facebook for five minutes! It might save one life but IT’S TOO MUCH.

    I own a smartphone and I approve this message.

    Perhaps it’s easier for me, since I’m typically the oddest person in any given setting.

  2. fillyjonk

    Just don’t make it obvious you’re “pity-friending” the person.

    I had that happen in junior high when the schoolroom monitors sent some of the other girls over to talk to me. I kind of resented it.

    Also, some loners? Really do want to be alone. That doesn’t make them creepy potential mass killers.

  3. Lynn Post author

    I did say that many loners are normal people who just want to be left alone, but there are also a lot of people who are lonely and would really like to be included even if it’s awkward at first.

    [Edited. Sorry, I don’t like extensive editing of comments but I wasn’t comfortable with my original comment.]

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