Chick-fil-A taught me several things.
One was how to make people feel seen by starting simple conversations. One of those things was (honestly) complimenting people on their outfits. And through this, I found the most fascinating conversation starter: complimenting people on their jewelry and asking about the story behind it.
Here’s the thing: Jewelry takes time and thought, especially when it’s pieces like bracelets or rings. Necklaces and earrings, somehow, are less effort. People don’t generally throw bracelets and necklaces on without thought.
I mean, ask yourself if you don’t believe me—what piece of jewelry do you have that DOESNT have a story or even a feeling attached to it?
We have bracelets that we’ve worn to the funerals of loved ones. We have rings passed down from matriarchs. We wear best friend necklaces for long distance pals.
I complimented one girl on a handmade-looking anklet one time. We were in the same circles but she never really spoke to me. But in that moment, a barrier was broken down. Her face softened…and she told me the story of a boy. A boy she’d been friends with as a teenager who committed suicide, so her and her friend group wear those handmade bracelets to remind them of him.
I own my great grandmother’s class ring, gold and square. It gives me a thrill to actually have a legit piece of history, something that intimately experienced the ’50s.
I look through a Ziploc bag of jewelry I brought with me to California: a pair of wooden leaf earrings that my quiet father bought me; many random mismatched yellow accessories from my stint wearing all yellow during sophomore year of college; earrings my grandma gave me that I love but aren’t quite me so I’ve never worn.
So, if you ever need an icebreaker…ask about the unique pair of earrings or wacky bracelet a stranger is wearing. You’ll be surprised at the stories they share.