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We Should All Talk to Strangers

I really enjoy small talk. I can prolong a conversation about the weather for 10 minutes if you really have nothing to give me. My professional career in sales helped me hone the small talk skill over the last 15 years.

Micro-friendships as I like to call them are connections we make with one another knowing you will not see the person again. I have very vivid memories of in depth conversations with strangers. At times, deeper than I go with friends. German engineer at a pub in Nanjing, Swedish police officer describing a day in Patrol on a dive trip in Malaysia. Conversations with strangers are spontaneous and fun. My son, the litmus test for life, said that talking with people was really fun after we chatted with a hydroelectric engineer on her way to a work site.


There is no pressure. No phone numbers to exchange. Just a pure in the moment interaction about anything. A way to feel like a human being again. Aren't we all curious to find out where someone got their possession? Haven't you ever admired someone's coat so much, you just needed to give them compliment. All of this is allowed. I dare you to try it, the other person will engage and will tell you their life story if you let them. We're all hungry for real life interaction with others. IRL. In 3D, not on video call where there are delays and constant eye contact. Zoom is not the most natural way of conversing. Why do I talk to strangers? Because it's human. It clears the room, it puts the other person at ease and it brightens their day. I enjoy bringing joy to others and so does everyone else. You should try. Give a compliment, make a comment and see where it takes you.


How to talk to strangers? 1. Find a child, they have no filter. If you have no child, find your inner child. 2. It takes practice. If you engaged and the other person doesn't reciprocate. That's on them, not you. The next one will be more than happy to discuss the topic at hand. 3. Read their body language. Paying attention to social cues is important. Read the room as they say. Don't run up behind them asking where they got their sweet kicks with a deranged look on your face. 4. Be spontaneous. Do not other think it. 5. Practice in your mind. What are you gonna say to this person? How will you deliver it? What are the ways that person will react? Play out the scenarios in your mind and let them go.

With a little bit of practice, we can all start being less closed off and more interactive with one another. We're in this world together, we're not at war. We all have the same range of emotions and feelings. We worry about the same things. Let's talk about it and feel less alone.


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