Our Parents Were Wrong – We Should Talk to Strangers

I used to get so angry when somebody talked to me on city transit. I have my headphones in, and I’m in my zone, and I don’t want to talk to anybody. I remember purposely forcing a miserable expression on my face so that nobody would dare talk to me. How terrible is that? My time isn’t worth any more than the other people on this bus. We all have a place we are headed, and we all have things that we need to chat about. We all have copious amounts of information chained up in our heads that other people may benefit from hearing. Let them in. Let’s allow people to get to know us, and lets get to know them!

Start Conversations

I was listening to Lori Harder’s podcast, Earn Your Happy, episode 161, and it inspired this post. I highly recommend this podcast if you are interested in manifesting greatness and building a better tomorrow – it is so inspiring!

Anyways, we all build up this barrier against other people because we have built this mentality that other people aren’t worth our time. I already have friends, I don’t need more. Well, that’s entirely wrong. We can never have too many friends, or acquintances, or people we see at the bus every morning. A simple smile can break down those barriers, and that allows great conversations to develop. You will ALWAYS surprise yourself if you allow yourself to have these conversations with strangers. I know that I’ve personally had some of the best conversations I’ve ever had during this moments where I open myself up to strangers.

“Young People Play Games In Relationships”

A few months ago, I was waiting at the bus stop down the street from my house, and as per usual, I had my earbuds in and I was blasting some music. I was in my own little zone, and life was good – but it was about to get better! About 10 minutes into my wait, a small, elderly, Italian lady walked up and stood beside me in the bus shelter. I was in a grump, and pushed over without even smiling at this sweet old lady. Luckily, she didn’t care. She starts talking to me, and I mean she is in full story mode. Now,  you’ll remember that I have my headphones in right now – this lady didn’t care. Maybe she didn’t even notice. She was talking to me, whether I liked it or not.

At first I ignored her – I thought maybe she was talking to herself. She’s waving her arms around violently, and gesturing at me, and smiling, and laughing and having a grand old time. Oh, but she’s making eye contact with me. Okay, so she is talking to me. I take my headphones off, and the first thing I notice is that this lady is incredibly loud and expressive.

I tune in to her and she sees me take off my headphones, and says “Oh hey, do you know when the next bus will be here?”. Okay, so I’m now unsure whether or not she was talking to me at all, but anyways… I tell her when the next bus comes and she starts talking about how she is new to the area and how she always struggles with the bus system, and then eventually she starts talking about her boss, and that she works in the Deli, etc. etc. etc.

The Turning Point In The Conversation

This lady’s thought train was going a million miles a minute, and I’m officially intrigued. This lady is hilarious! I need to know more – I need to soak this lady in. Her energy is through the roof. So, midway through her rant about her boss and how he tries to tell her how to run things, and she knows better than him (again, this lady is hilarious!), an elderly couple walks past us. They are holding hands, and just enjoying each others company.

This lady stops mid-rant, and stares at them, looks at me and says “that’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen”. She says, “Young men play games – not all, but most of them. If they are interested in you, they need to take the time to tell you, and spend time with you and take you on dates. They get tired of the woman they are with, and want to be with someone new – they don’t appreciate what they have. I hope you don’t ever settle for a man who plays games with your heart (as we points her tiny finger at my heart). Demand respect, because you deserve it.”

I was in absolute awe of this woman – she was amazing. This conversation has stuck in my head since the day it happened, and I have told this story countless times. I will never forget it – and it never would have happened if i hadn’t opened my mind and took out my earbuds. Don’t let technology control your life – take an interest in people.

Silence Matters Too

A few weeks ago I was waiting for my boyfriend to be done work, and I was sitting on the couch in the foyer. Across from me was a man in his late twenties, and he was sitting by himself. He also had his headphones in. I didn’t have headphones in this time, but admit that I was scrolling through Instagram. After 20 minutes of waiting, the man stood up, gathered his things, took out his earbuds, and said “Have a great night miss”.

It was only five words, but it really moved me. I just sat in silence with this man for 20+ minutes, and before he got up to leave he still made sure to wish me a good night. It take two seconds to wish someone well, yet we often choose not to. Since this moment, I’ve been making the conscious decision to wish more people well – even if it is the only thing I say to them at all.

“You Have a Very Warm Personality”

Another bus story – because it seems like I am always on transit. I was on my way home from class, and the bus stopped at the terminal to let more people get on. I stay on the same bus from school to home, as it turns into my bus once it arrives at the terminal (luckily). So anyways, a man gets on the bus and sits a few seats in front of me. I’ve seen this man before, as he also attends the same college as I do. I have never talked to him before – but I have seen him interact with others.

One time I saw him approach a group of strangers and join in on their conversation, and at first they were taken back by it, but by the end they were discussing very personal topics with one another. Therefore, when he first started talking to me I was fearful of the approaching conversation.

I wasn’t up for talking about my life with a stranger on the bus – in hindsight, who would be better to talk about my life with? He started the conversation by complimenting my nail polish. A very unique compliment, and it was a conversation starter. Smart guy. Okay, let’s talk man. We started talking about school, and our programs and what brought us to the area, etc. etc. etc. Turns out he was taking the mental health and addictions program, and will be pursuing social work after graduation.

This makes sense – his entire career is focussed on people. I told him that I am currently in Public Relations, and his response was “That’s great! From this small interaction we are having, I can tell that you would really excel in that field – your personality is very warm”.

Let Your Truth Shine Through

Wow, I never would have said that about my personality. As I previously stated, and I’m not overly proud of this, but I’ve made a point of appearing tough, and unapproachable in public, because I’m afraid that strangers will talk to me. I think it is this deep seeded fear that if strangers talk to me, I’ll end up in a ditch somewhere. I know that is intense, but it is what goes through my mind.

Anyways, I have made a point of appearing mean and rugged, but I somehow still came across as “warm”. That tells me that I’ve been fighting my truth for years. I’m not made to be mean, or nasty – I’m made to be warm and nurturing. I am made to inspire and motivate, and I’ve wanted to be that person for a long time – but I’ve been so afraid of appearing weak. Your truth always comes out, no matter how hard you try to hide it. Strangers see through that.

I challenge you to talk to strangers, and allow them to talk to you. Smile at everyone you see, because a smile is a catalyst for magical moments. Allow yourself to open up, and let your truth shine through.

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