For obvious safety concerns, we’re taught, as kids, not to talk to strangers. But, carrying a fear of strangers into adulthood is only limiting your social life. If you don’t talk to strangers, how do you expect to meet new people? How do plan to expand your network?
Don’t say Facebook; please, don’t say Facebook. I know you can meet people online. Our generation has made an excellent point of that.
But, I’m talking about traditional, face-to-face communication.
We live in a very keep-to-yourself culture, which, fueled by social media, allows for interaction without direct contact. Consequently, many people don’t approach new people in real life.
So, in support of people meeting people in person, I give you five compelling reasons to talk to strangers:
1. Strangers could become new friends.
Making new friends is the most obvious motivation for talking to strangers. If you choose to keep to yourself and the people you know, you won’t create any new connections, which could develop into new friendships.
You may be content with the friends you have, but why not make more?
All friends start off as strangers. If you found value in the once-strangers you now hang out with, why deprive yourself of the opportunity to see friend potential in others?
All it takes is initiating a conversation, and all that takes is a simple, “Hey, I love your dress! Where did you get it?” or “Hey, that smells really good! What did you order?"
2. Strangers could lead to new friends.
Of course, you won’t become friends with everyone you interact with, but you never know where a conversation might lead. Simply becoming acquainted with a stranger connects you to an entire network of new people.
Maybe you go to a party where you know only the host and his girlfriend, who are nowhere to be found, so you take initiative to introduce yourself to as many people as you can and then add them on Facebook.
Maybe this leads to various invites to future events, where you meet the friends of the strangers from the party. Maybe you end up on dates with a couple guys because of it. Who knows? I’ve done it.
3. Strangers could change your perspective.
Sure, you may not see many of the strangers you approach again, but that doesn’t make your interactions with them any less meaningful.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to people I’ll probably never reencounter who have said or done something to change, or at least make me reevaluate, my perspective on a topic.
For me, strangers have inspired blog posts, happiness tips and the way I approach people.
4. Strangers could make for a spontaneous evening.
Yes, it’s also possible you could mingle with strangers and derive no new friends, no links to new friends and no profoundness, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still add to your evening.
Novelty is exciting, which makes random nights with strangers fun.
How many times have you gone on vacation and partied with people whose names you can’t now recall? How awesome are those memories? You can have more of them by embodying that talk-to-anybody mentality at home.
5. Strangers could become nothing to you, or they could become everything. It’s your choice to find out.
Talking to strangers is full of uncertainty. You have no idea how people you don’t know will react to you. You have no idea if they’ll warmly or coldly acknowledge your hello.
Even if they’re receptive and friendly, you have no idea what they’ll become in the grand scheme of your life: friends, memories, connections to the person you haven’t yet met whom you will eventually marry.
Unless you say hi, you won’t discover how significant someone might be to you.
Yes, talking to strangers is unpredictable, but it’s not talking to strangers that’s risky. While the former comes with no guarantees, the latter comes with one: missed opportunity.