A stranger is a person who is unknown to us or with whom we are unacquainted with. When we were still young, we might have been told to fear them or have been warned against talking to them for safety reasons. As adults, many of us become tongue-tied when it comes to talking to strangers. In our daily activities though, we have all been faced with a situation where we had to talk to a stranger. It can be on the first day on a job or meeting up with someone on a blind date or waiting in queue for the bus to arrive.
There are countless benefits we get from talking to strangers. Consider each person as an incredible learning opportunity and the wealth of information waiting to be tapped just by talking to them :
- How they react to us will tell you something about ourselves.
- What they tell us about themselves will open our heart to the other sides of human nature
- How they live and interact with the world will open our eyes to other things in a world beyond yours
Of course, there are also some priceless relationships we’ll have the chance of forming:
- Business contacts
- Mentors and teachers
- Romantic relationships
That hardest part of talking to strangers though is how to start it. Perhaps, the best way to practice talking to strangers is by talking to strangers. Try to engage in a conversation with someone you’ve never met before. More often than not, you’ll find a good number of people who would be quite willing to talk. It just takes a little effort to cross the stranger barrier. Here are some tips on how:
- If you’re the shy or reserved type, start by making eye contact with people you might like to talk to or by smiling at them. Observe how they react, then, think of possible conversation starters you could say.
- Make a comment if you see something remarkable. Comment about the weather, the traffic situation or the current news and chances are people will hear and react to you. Keep the conversation in a light mode and most likely they will be happy to chat.
- Crack a Joke. Be it political, showbiz or lifestyle, if someone laughs or smiles, that’s the perfect conversation starter.
- Ask if you don’t know. Contrary to what we might perceive, most people are friendly and would most likely want to be helpful.
- Observe the golden rule: Do unto others what you would want them do to you. If a stranger starts a conversation, try to interact.