Coming across this awesome list of Ted talks, I have been questioning myself and the way I interact with strangers.
Kio Stark, one of the speakers in the talks, puts it like this: “When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life — and theirs.”
And it’s true, right? Imagine being in the metro on the way to university or work. You are not expecting anything but then someone smiles at you and you make a connection, starting a conversation. Doesn’t this make your day automatically more special? I think so. But unfortunately I, too, do not have those encounters very often.
But then, why do I not do it more often? I mean it is not that hard, right?
I think that it has a lot to do with the digital advances humankind made within the last 10-20 years – and essentially with my generation, the millenials. We can now talk to our friends from all over the world with a tap on our phones, we can listen to our favourite music anywhere or entertain us on the boring way to university by reading an interesting article. In other words, we simply do not recognize the need to talk to strangers.
And I catch myself doing the same thing. Listening to music, looking around the metro, thinking about the strangers around me – about who they are and where they are going. However, I rarely talk to them. And then, when I get out of the metro, I think: “How much better would I make this girl’s day, if I just have told her, that I like her style.” So easy, yet so powerful.
Nowadays, we really do not do it anymore, but our parents and grandparents had no other choice in a world without smartphone. So it can be done. I also think that if we all would do it more often, it would be an awesome behaviour with plenty of benefits. You get to know more people, you even might me more intimate with them as with family members (see Kio Stark Ted talk), and even if the conversation leads nowhere, you have made a connection and maybe brightened someone’s day.
I came to the conclusion that i should challenge myself to talk to one stranger every day, and see what happens. In the end: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you are yet to meet.” – William Butler Yeats