This week, I’d like to share this article with you on the benefit of speaking to strangers. This is something that I think about a lot and try to practice whenever I can. The lasting scars of COVID have left a lot of us feeling more isolated and coupled with our societal retreat into a virtual world, we can have a sense of fear of others and I feel like we all need to practice how to connect again.
One of the reasons I do this, is that I have personally felt the difference that it can make. In fact, one of my life-changing conversations happened in a taxi around 20 years ago when the driver had the courage to say something to me which perhaps others felt they could not. That insight made me realise that I was lost. (I’m talking spiritually and emotionally, I’m pretty sure the taxi driver knew where we were!) After this, it took a few years for me to sort things out but I remember that conversation as being a moment when something changed.
Now, all my conversations with strangers aren’t profound like the one I was luck enough to have but I find that there can often be something so life-affirming about just having a brief conversation or laugh with another human being. It’s something I love to do and I definitely feel how it can create a sense of safety and connection in the world when I do it.
Taking the courage to start a conversation often brings up a little anxiety in me and sometimes I’m met with a questionable, mistrustful look at first but often this fades. Whether or not it’s a short interaction or a long conversation, I learn something about someone else and I feel more connected to the world around me. I tend to sense that both our anxieties drop and there’s an opportunity to share being in the world together.
Moving countries has taken me away from a lot of the connections I had back home, my friends, clients and people form the neighbourhood. I loved seeing those people and it was certainly a lot easier for me to strike up conversations in English.
However I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to do the same thing here despite it being much more difficult and feeling embarrassed by my level of Spanish! The conversations I have had so far, whilst not being particularly deep, have definitely left me feeling more connected and less alone after my seismic life change.
We need social connection and communities to survive in life and these all start with a meeting between two people. The more meetings we have, the more likely it is that we are going to get in touch with someone who we share a connection with and this can increase our sensation of being accepted in the world. We may also just help out someone else by saying hello and not know the difference that that can make by being a friendly face.
Is this something that you can practice this week?
It doesn’t have to be a full blown life changing conversation but how can you make an attempt to connect a bit more with those around you who you don’t yet know rather than stay in your personal bubble?