Say you go to a big party and the only person you know is the person who invited you. You have the chance to meet lots of new people. Do you approach this situation with excitement or trepidation?
Our experiences in situations such as this depend a great deal on whether we assume we have things in common with people we haven’t met, or if we feel we have nothing in common. If we assume that we will discover even the smallest tread of commonality, we begin talking. We become excited to find out what we have in common with the person we just met, as well as the differences in our life experiences.
When we talk to strangers, we give them the opportunity to become friends even if only for a short time.
For example, as I write this, I’m flying from Dallas to San Diego. I have quickly become friends with the two flight attendants. We have exchanged smiles. We have asked, “How’s your day going?” I have offered, “You are doing a great job!” We have shared a joke or two.
Does this mean that we will exchange phone numbers, become Facebook friends or that I will even ever see them again? Most likely not.
However, who knows when an opportunity will come through this type of light and relaxed communication – maybe wisdom, maybe recommendations, possibly a long-term friendship. Who knows?
But one thing is certain – this type of communication is fun and joyful in the moment. People the world over have the wish to be happy in common, and when we share this commonality with each other we fill our lives with happiness.
Think of it, your friends were at one time strangers to you as you were strangers to them.
Now talking to strangers and giving them a chance to become friends doesn’t mean you need to instantly reveal personal info and secrets. There still is a building of a relationship and trust.
And there are of course some situations where it clearly might be inappropriate or unsafe to talk to a stranger. (But in my experience, I find these situations are far from common.)
When we develop even a ten-minute long friendship with someone, we give them a brief glimpse into our lifetime of experience and get a brief glimpse into theirs. We become stronger, the world becomes a bit more friendly and peaceful.
It’s simple to have a Stranger-to-Friend Conversation: be nice, be kind, take an interest, listen, smile, laugh, ask questions, offer a bit about yourself.
These types of stranger to friend interactions don’t obligate you to send holiday cards or even set up further meetings unless you both want to. But these Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can make a big difference in the quality of your days and your ability to discover new opportunities.
Game of the Day
How many Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can you have today?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.