Talking to strangers
We have an insatiable need to talk during the day. As if we start the day with a bunch of words that we absolutely must get rid of by the end of it. And if we have no opportunity to share them, we talk to pretty much anyone.
We all have something to say about one thing or other, no matter how futile, silly, or unimportant it may sound. Because everyone has an opinion. Whether you agree with it or not.
The thing is, it’s sometimes easier to do the one thing that as a kid you’re taught not to: talk to strangers.
Have you noticed that when you’re standing in a queue or waiting for the bus, it’s so much easier to start a conversation than anywhere else?
People want to talk. It’s liberating. We have all these words to share. And talking to strangers, to people who don’t know you and whose beliefs you are unaware of, may actually open up an entirely different world for us.
This interesting article describes it well: “Strangers hold the keys to all kinds of knowledge that we want. They help us understand more about people and how we relate to each other. They unlock cultural misunderstandings and bring freedom to the oppressed.” Moreover, “talking to a stranger is inviting someone to challenge our belief systems”.
In fact, like this compliments, “It’s easier to open up to strangers more because they do not know you like a friend would. A friend can be judgmental and it can be scary because they might think of you differently afterwards. Furthermore, a stranger is someone that be “discarded” if things do get worse while it is harder to let a friend go”.
In addition, “Consequential strangers anchor us in the world and give us a sense of being plugged into something larger. They also enhance and enrich our lives and offer us opportunities for novel experiences and information that is beyond the purview of our inner circles”, an NY Times article notes.
In short, we talk to strangers because we secretly hope we’ll find someone like-minded, who shares our problems or who can at least understand them, and who doesn’t have to agree with us out of courtesy or as an obligation of being a friend. We seek alliances in this world, and even if we never see that stranger again, for a brief moment we don’t’ feel alone, and we are alleviated from the burden of facing this world of problems (whatever they may be) on our own.