Read a short dialogue about setting a personal goal
Zintle: Buli, what’s wrong? You’ve been so quiet all morning, and now you seem to be hiding away here in the backyard.
Nombulelo: I am fine.
Zintle: I can see something is wrong. I am not going to go away until you tell me what it is.
Nombulelo: (looks like she wants to cry) Everything. I miss my friends. They are all in East London and I know so few people in this city. I don’t know what to do.
Zintle: That must be very difficult. So how many people do you know here, besides your aunt and uncle?
Nombulelo: Well, there’s you, and Xolile from next door, and Ntombi. My cousins are both in Pretoria.
Zintle: Well, that’s three already. Better than nobody. We all have to start somewhere. How do you think you can meet more people and make a couple of friends?
Nombulelo: It seems so overwhelming. All these strangers. And I don’t want to just hang out with your friends. That’s not fair on you.
Zintle: I don’t mind sharing them. (laughs)
Nombulelo: I don’t know what I can do. I am always scared people will laugh at me. …Maybe I can help out with the youth group at church. I see they were looking for volunteers. But I am shy. Then there’s also the choir, but I am not sure my voice is good enough. And the running group…but…
Zintle: The church sounds like a good place to start. Of course your voice is good enough. I have heard you sing. And you must know one or two people there already. That will help with being shy.
Nombulelo: Many of them are my aunt’s friends, but they also have children my age.
Zintle: There you go. Why don’t you start small? Maybe set yourself a goal of speaking to two people this week that you have never met before.
Nombulelo: What if they think I’m weird?
Zintle: Not long conversations. Someone in the taxi or at the shop or the church who looks friendly. Just a comment or two.
Nombulelo: I think I can do that. If they think I’m weird, I might never have to see them again.
Zintle: Ntombi and I are listening to music tomorrow afternoon at my house. She is bringing a friend who is also new to the city. Why don’t you join us?
Nombulelo: That sounds good. And then I also don’t have to talk much.
Zintle: No. See if you break things up onto bits and pieces, rather than wanting to attack it all at once, it’s just easier.
Nombulelo: I didn’t think of it that way. But you are right. If I just sit here worrying about it, nothing is going to change. Small steps. I will tell you in a week’s time how many people I have chatted to. I must be brave.
Zintle: You can do it. You said earlier everything was wrong. What else is the matter?
Nombulelo: Well, to start with, I can’t find my ID book.
Zintle: What do you need your ID for today?
Nombulelo: I wanted to join the library.
Zintle: Let’s go and see if we can find it. And then I want a cup of coffee.
Nombulelo: I will make us some.
Zintle: I think your phone is ringing. Maybe it’s your friend from East London. Or Xolile from next door. Next week it might be your new friend you’re going to meet this week.