We all heard from our parents the expression 'not to talk to strangers'. Then we grew up and the rule suddenly didn't apply. Only we somehow keep holding onto this message in our subconscious and still do not talk to strangers.
Instead we need a reason such as a networking event or a friends dinner party. In these situations the screening process of the friend or the event coordinator implies that these 'strangers' are ok to talk to.
Well I must be odd because I like to talk to strangers. Actually I do not see people I don't know yet as strangers, simply potential new acquaintances.
It is also funny that I view the world this way as my preference is to be on my own in a sea of strangers- something I like to explain away as well developed introversion.
When in the right mood or situation though it is almost a game to me to extend a friendly greeting and see if the other person wants to return the gesture. If they do then game on. For me it is about letting go of judgement, stereotype, comparion and prejudices and simply enjoy meeting another human being.
With this attitude I am never let down. On the contrary I get these amazing gems of insight and learnings from hearing about another person's life story. Well that's because I go there.
Again, I preface this with the fact that I need to be in the mood or willing to go there.
So I have met some really interesting people, heard some amazing stories and walked away with a belief that if we give people a chance we will find some level of similarity or connection.
My message today is to simply take the opportunity to connect with others in the moment. Simply enjoy the experience without any expectation that you need to keep in touch, meet the person or feel like you give too much away.
One rule of thumb though...it is also helpful to be open about yourself as well so the conversation is not one sided.
So the next time you are sitting next to a person you don't know play the game of getting to know them and see where it takes you.
Let's go there...