The Strength of Walking with Allies

One of my colleagues told me a story about a time in the late 1970’s or early ‘80’s when he was a young man, out late at night (or early in the morning) walking the streets of NYC. The streets of NY were known to be more dangerous back then, and it was pretty deserted. There didn’t seem to be anyone else around, except for another man who was walking several feet behind him. My colleague got nervous and picked up the pace. So did the other man. This continued for a bit. Finally, not knowing what else to do, my colleague turned around.

“Will you stop following me?!”

The other man responded, “It’s really late and no one else is around. So I figured it would be safer if I stuck close to you.”

The two men walked the city streets that evening, safer in each other’s company. Both got where they needed to go.

Confronting your fear can help you feel safer. And can help you make strangers into friends.

(While I am not suggesting we make a habit of stopping to talk to people on deserted city streets, I do hope that we recognize that the unknown is not always a threat, and that our journey is better with allies.)