Three Reasons to Talk to People You Don’t Know
Striking up a conversation can be difficult for some people. Especially where we are with technology, social anxiety seems to be on the rise. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times I want to be left alone, I would rather get a text than a phone call, or I feel completely alienated from reality and I just can’t deal. A recent example: for nearly two weeks (but what felt like forever) I was stuck in my head just trying to claw my way out. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t anymore. Sometimes I want to shimmy under a rock and just chill there until the storm in my brain passes.
Something had to give…so, lately, I’m enjoying talking to complete strangers.
1) it feels good to make others smile
Particularly when it comes to complementing someone. Like, telling a woman she is ROCKIN’ her outfit…telling an older gentleman his smile lights up the room…saying to a person at Aldi, “I’m about to come to your house for dinner!”, because what they’ve got going on in their cart looks like it’s gonna make something spectacular.
Each one of those compliments lands me in the best conversations! Plus, I know we both left the conversation feeling great. You never know when you just may have saved someone from having an awful day. Bonus: smiling gives you all the good feels, too!
Remember to always be genuine when complimenting people.
2) people need to feel heard
There are MANY times I feel like I should have stuck my foot in my mouth after I’ve started a conversation with a stranger. Thankfully, the feeling quickly fades as I listen.
Everyone wants to feel heard. For example I had a gentleman speaking with me about how his son is becoming a police officer. His son is thirty-one years old and desires to serve his community. He’s nervous about his sons safety, but he knows will be a good cop. He’s had to personally deal with officers that aren’t fair, and he fully believes it’s due to the color of his skin.
I acknowledged his struggle, his people’s struggle. *This is one of the most beautiful moments of my life.* This man thanked me for my acknowledgment. Over and over. He kept saying how “refreshing it is to talk to someone who understands but isn’t black”, and “…white but not racist.”
Wow. He just wanted to be heard. And when I heard him it was like angels singing. He was so happy, you guys! And his complete joy of just being heard made my heart feel the happiness as well. It really reinforced the thought that we should try to make more of an effort to see others (to truly hear them).
3) getting out of ye ol’ comfort zone
Life can be uncomfortable sometimes, too… but I’m still doing that. So, why not get tons of joy out of it?
Talking to strangers has really made a difference in my day to day life. If I try to avoid eye contact or smiles, and muddle through my day I usually end up feeling quite alone. Generally I like to feel like I’m apart of something bigger than myself. Something universal. The best way to achieve that feeling is to actually engage in conversation with the people in the world around me. Actually CONNECT.
So, start connecting. Maybe you start slow with eye contact, then move onto smiles, eventually working your way to an actual conversation. However you start, getting out of your comfort zone can yield amazing results. Who knows…you may save someone from a horrible day. You may totally make someones day just by holding a little space in your heart just for them. Maybe you find ‘the one’. Or hey, maybe they help you in some way that you never even thought possible. Betcha it could happen. *wink*
Ps- I want to make it clear that you shouldn’t just go talk to anyone. If you’re getting bad vibes- stay away. Get out of your COMFORT zone, not your SAFETY zone.