“Don’t talk to strangers!” This is a phrase that’s been drilled into our heads since childhood. But guess what mom and dad!? You’re kinda wrong; Research has shown that we would enjoy ourselves more if we were to talk to more strangers. I have personally discovered the benefits of talking to strangers (free places to stay, life advice, incredible stories, new friends) and encourage everyone to give it a try! Whether you’re traveling or settled down, get out of your comfort zone, practice your communication skills and go talk to a stranger somewhere! Unsure about the idea? Here’s 10 reasons why you should start talking to strangers…
1. Learning something new.
We are humans, we’re all unique and something to share. Everyone is an expert in some avenue of life, whether that be types of cheeses or space travel or marketing tactics. Talk to a stranger and see what knowledge they can provide you with. Whether you have something in common or not, I find that talking to strangers allows for fresh perspectives to enter my life (like when I met Bob, a man who I met on a park bench in NYC and changed my whole perspective on life!) Expand your mind, expand your knowledge, get out there and talk to someone different than what you’re used to.
2. Strengthens communication skills.
They say practice makes perfect! Communication is something we use everyday: in passing, in the workplace, in relationships, and more. Every single conversation you start up is a chance to improve your social skills and discover your strengths (or maybe your weaknesses) teaching you more about yourself and broadening your people powers! Talking to strangers will strengthen your communication skills which in turn improves your confidence and makes for a better listener and bigger question asker. Go at it!
3. Keeps life interesting.
Mix up the mundane by adding new people and interesting conversation into your life. Talking to strangers spices up a moment and makes for a good story. Even if they are a weird0, it’s easy to make a quick exit and go on your way.
4. Get something in return.
When I stop and ask strangers for directions or advice, I gain more than left and rights. The conversations that start as questions sometimes result in long talks and morph once strangers into new friends. I have scored free places to stay, free meals, and free rides after chatting up a stranger. If nothing at all, at least I’ve received some free entertainment along my commute.
5. Gain life advice.
We learn from experience right? Each of us has gone through different times (the good, the bad, the ugly) to learn and grow from. We all have our own stories. I find it fascinating, like this 95 year old artist I met in New Zealand who told me her simple secrets to life. Think of every person as a walking biography, a person with a past experience to draw from that you will most likely be able to apply to your own life.
6. Find the local spots.
Asking a local is the best way to find the coolest spots in a new place. Don’t be afraid to spark up a conversation to get the inside scoop. Whether that’s free parking, a chill coffee shop, the nearest park, or tonight’s show, find someone who looks like they know what they’re doing and utilize their free knowledge!
Every conversation is a chance to expand your professional career, whatever it may be. Think of how often someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” This is your chance to introduce yourself and network. I carry around business cards to hand out to new connections that will direct them to my portflio site. Maybe they don’t even need my services, but maybe someone they know does. What’s that famous saying? It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…
8. Pet dogs.
People own really cute dogs, really cute dogs that I want to pet, so I often approach strangers to solely pet their pups. It’s the perfect way to combine a love for those adorable fluffy creatures and random conversation (conversation, generally, about dogs) into one.
9. Develop relationships.
All of my dear friends were once strangers at some point. You never know who you’ll meet. Maybe that cute dude sitting next to you is your future husband – How would you know if you don’t spark up a convo? Ok, maybe he’s not your future hubby, but how lovely is it to develop relationships on deeper levels with other human beings and share a moment! Especially in our times of social media and virtual communication, it will feel good to actually make eye contact and exchange stories with another living, breathing creature.
10. Brighten someone’s day.
We all get caught up in the routines of life. Waiting in the lines, sitting on subways, walking to work. Think of all those opportunities that pass you on your way! Opportunities to bring a positive light into someone else’s life via a slight smile or “good day!” We all have our problems, our struggles, our stress issues, our gloomy days… Why don’t we help each other out by letting our inner light shine outwards onto others? Pass a homeless man and wish him luck, hold a door open for an elder, tell a stranger their bright yellow rain jacket rocks! Spread positivity, spread love, spread compassion in the community by opening yourself up to strangers and sharing your thoughts and good vibes 🙂
You got this! Start small and slowly watch your communication with strangers progress!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me.
Check out some of the advice I’ve received from Strangers:
What valuable/funny/out there advice have you received from a stranger? Comment your answer below!