Talking to strangers is an artform. We go through life with the ability to interact and touch the lives of strangers through simple conversations, but rarely do we see this actually happen. It makes me sad to think that a communication tool like a phone could be used as a safety net from possible awkward situations, which ultimately keeps us from interacting with others. I believe it is one of the weaknesses of my generation, and I am guilty myself. My grandparents can go anywhere and they will soon know at least one person and their whole life story. They genuinely want to get to know the person, and their conversations and listening skills are a testament to that.
This week in Pub 101 I was challenged to have a conversation with a stranger. A stranger to me is someone who I have either never seen before, or someone who I have never had a conversation with before. When I am around people I don’t know I tend to get nervous, and when I’m nervous I talk a lot and really fast. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing when I communicate with strangers because they just think I’m being really friendly and interested, but it makes me feel a little bit stressed.
I appreciated the push I was given to talk to a stranger. I was stretched outside of my comfort zone a bit, which I am grateful for because it allowed me to grow as a person. I chose to hold a conversation with a customer at work. I first greeted them with a warm smile and a friendly hello, and from there my confidence grew, and from there I began to carry the conversation. I asked them how their day was going, and quickly the girl started to open up. She told me all about her day and how she really doesn’t like what she’s studying, so she’s thinking of changing majors. The conversation flowed nicely and after chatting for five minutes she had to run to her next class. It was refreshing having a conversation face to face with a stranger. When I talk to someone on a social media platform my responses are overthought and very polished. I find it difficult to be my true self through text, as I tend to say a lot non verbally in my interactions. I have come to the realization that I much rather start talking to a stranger in person versus online. This is quite contrary to societal norms, but if you’re going to learn anything about me through my site it is that I don’t like to follow the status quo.