Turning Strangers into Friends

Posted by Deanna Singh | May 20, 2021 11:40:00 AM

How many opportunities for connections are we passing up each day? Big Mama turned this concept on its head with one visit to Washington, DC.  Find out what she did below. 

a visit to d.c.

One time, my grandmother "Big Mama" came to visit me in DC while I was there for an internship.  It was all very new to me being in another city, so I was still getting my bearings. To help me transition to the new city, I wanted my family to be there. That's why I invited my grandmother, mother, and sisters. 

When we were out walking, my grandmother decided that she was going to find one of my cousins who lived in the area.  It was a niece Big Mama hadn't seen in years.  --> It may sound weird, but my grandmother was one of 13 and her family was spread all over the country.

She knew her niece's first name, but she didn't know her last name. 

"i'm going to find her."

My grandmother was determined to find a woman in a major city - with only her first name!

For the entire trip, my grandmother would ask people randomly if they knew my cousin.  

Burger King - "Do you know Mina?" 

Walking down the street - "Excuse me, do you know Mina?"

My family thought it was funny: 'What is the likelihood she'll find somebody in a big city using only their first name?" 

It wasn't until the last day when the security guard in my building came to us and said, "I think I found someone named Mina who might be your niece." My grandmother looked at the name and immediately knew that it was her niece.


We called this person and a few moments later, we were all at her house having dinner! We ended up building an amazing relationship that I have treasured until today. 

none of this would have happened...

...if my grandmother didn't have the amazing ability to make connections.

What are you doing to make connections?  How are you turning strangers into friends?


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Topics: Skills, Life, Initiative, leadership, personal development

Written by Deanna Singh

Deanna Singh is a business consultant, speaker, and podcaster who is internationally recognized for her work in leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Deanna helps her clients create more equitable and inclusive work environments and engage more authentically within their internal and external communities. A gifted communicator, she is a champion for marginalized communities through her work. Her podcast, Uplifting Impact with a focus on looking at the intersection of Leadership and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, focuses on solutions and is directed at people who want to break the status quo. Singh earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell University.

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