Please Talk to Strangers

When I was little, my Mom told me never to talk to strangers. I knew she had her reasons, and being the good doobie that I was, I didn’t talk to many of them — until I got older and realized, that I liked talking to strangers. Why? I never knew what to expect, and I liked meeting new people and listening to different ideas.

In my tweens, I learned how to harness the power of interaction and looked for opportunities to connect with others. My Dad owned a recording studio, and I worked there part-time, as a receptionist. I met actors, musicians, writers, producers, entertainers, sports figures, and teams of people that worked behind the scenes. Life, from my perspective, seemed full of drama. I watched, listened, and learned. I still remember the buzz.

Probably no surprise that I majored in Communications, and eventually loved talking to strangers. What did they do? Where did they work? What made them tick? How could they be so talented, or not – and succeed? Talking to people you don’t know, for years on end, can give you the ability to laser focus at a glance, and develop confidence to talk to anyone, at any time. Heck, talking to strangers can even lead to meeting new friends, colleagues, potential roommates, husbands, wives, even prospective clients!

This past month, I met two entrepreneurs at Staples and both will work with me. Had I not chatted it up at the Copy Center, I might have not met these wonderfully talented individuals with so much “intellectual property” in their vault. My guess is they’ll be earning interest very soon from an eager community who want to learn from them. And, they too, will most likely be strangers.

If you have an inner circle of colleagues and friends, you know who they are. Clearly, they aren’t strangers. But, the other five billion plus people who live on our planet are.

Who would you like to meet, talk to, and share insights with? Who would you like to work with, write for, or ask to dance?

In all likelihood, it could be a stranger today.

Tomorrow? You tell me.

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3 comments on “Please Talk to Strangers

  1. Your article above really hit home for me. Even though I was shy and introverted in the extreme while growing up, I always wrote letters to people all over the world who ‘moved’ me by their writing, music, art, photography. And then when I became a performer, went to work, started doing a little publicity, I found that I loved! to talk to people, especially ‘strangers’ and people I didn’t know very well: I found that so many people had fascinating stories to tell (and that everyone had some kind of story), which led me into doing “feature” publicity writing (interviewing people, finding ‘angles’ that were fascinating). Working at a classical music program at a public radio station for 15 years, I met even more interesting people (some of whom I just brought into the studio for conversations, some of whom I directed in live performances, but the major part of my interaction with all of them was that I so enjoyed talking with them — even after they left the studio. I especially loved talking with people who had/have totally diverse interests than mine (wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?). Absolutely understand what you’re saying (which most of my friends don’t ‘get’ at all)! Thanks for posting. Laura (Boston, MA)

  2. I have always enjoy talking to strangers and learning from their stories, interests and finding the common ground with them.
    Being an ex-military wive, always in the move from station to station at least once every three years I used to rely a lot on the internet, cafes and stores to meet others and I now have a large group of friends across the country who were once strangers and are now among my closest friends.

    I would say to others, go ahead and talk to a stranger today, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

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