The Benefits of Talking With Strangers is Amazing
Talking with strangers wherever you are, in the store, in your neighborhood, or in the street is often a challenge for people.
Most Americans grew up hearing there parents say do not speak to strangers. This is an essential part of keeping children safe, but it can to isolate people as adults.
Research demonstrates that face-to-face communication integrates non-verbal cues and involves better turn-taking behaviors, pivotal during social interactions.
But, the Digital Age isolates people.
Even social media accounts curate information so it does not challenge one’s world view or expand one’s horizons.
In author Kio Stark’s popular book, “When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know Can Transform You,” she identifies some of the social obstacles around talking to strangers, the benefits and a plan one can use to improve opportunities
The fact is that at some point, everyone is a stranger. It is not until we start a conversation and get to know another person that we call them an acquaintance, and still more conversations later before they become a friend.
It is important to learn that talking with strangers is one of the more important things people can learn to do as an adult.
Talking with strangers builds bridges between ordinary people who may not otherwise forge a connection. People of the opposite sex, different walks of life or different cultures are Key to opening up to new ideas and/or making connections with old ones.
As a child one may have been nervous around strangers as they represented a certain degree of danger. But, as an adult, this fear may stem from anxiety or stress that new ideas about the world could challenge the beliefs held to be truths.
Breaking the barrier and talking with strangers may mean being exposed to new ideas and opportunities that may not have been presented any other way.
There are several benefits we may experience when we open up to talking to the people around us.
Fact: In today’s world of business, commerce and digital communication, it is not always about what we know, but rather who we know.
Striking up a conversation with strangers can bring connections for business.
Developing confidence and high self-esteem may come at the small cost of talking with the person sitting next to you on a park bench, in the coffee shop, on a airplane flight +++. You get the picture, open up.
Remembering that strangers are people we may never see again, could be a release from a burden of fear. People will be surprised at how well this newfound confidence may carry over to other areas of life.
Ms.Stark is enthusiastic about helping people discover the joys of talking with strangers. She warns there will be people who are are not as open to the conversation as you might hope, but says do not give up.
Ms. Stark calls these interactions unexpected pleasures and liberating moments in the day, as people experience greater social meaning and feel noticed when they engage in conversation with others.
Conversational interactions are a significant way people learn about other people and form a bond over a shared experience that one needs as much as relationships with friends and family.
The 1st step is to make yourself available for others to connect with you by looking up from your phone and taking out the ear buds. Start by getting comfortable by smiling and saying “Hi” to people you pass in the street or in your neighborhood.
Make eye contact, Smile.
Once that becomes comfortable, extend out to talking to strangers through triangulation. This is a process in which you engage someone by bringing in a 3rd object. You may make a comment about how long the light is taking to change, how much the cost of gasoline has risen as you ride past a gas station or how nice the bus driver was when you entered the bus.
The idea is to talk about something outside of either of you.
The next step is to notice something about the other person. Try offering a compliment about something Neutral, such as the their dog or complimenting their suit, shoes or tie. These Neutral items are a social conduit to engaging in a more meaningful conversation.
Once each of these steps come easily, try disclosing something about yourself while engaged in conversation.
People tend to reciprocate and meet your disclosure with a disclosure of their own. These small truthful statements about personal life are liberating and help to connect with other people.
Doing this improves peoples mental, physical and emotional health. You will learn that most people really want to talk.
I have been doing it all my life, my network is huge, yours’ will be too.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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