Talk to strangers! I know this might seem confusing because mom and dad have probably taught you quite the opposite at a young age, and this is likely for your own safety. But I want to tell you that you will get much farther in life by talking to strangers than NOT talking to strangers.
Now that you are walking (yay!!) I thought it was a good time to write about this. If you are inspired to travel and explore and learn and grow then you should most definitely talk to strangers. Introduce yourself. Shake a firm handshake. Find something in common and connect with people. Be real and genuine. Listen. The absolute best thing I could have done in the past year is meet new people. And I was able to do this by talking to lots of strangers.
[Sidebar – Talking to strangers can actually have a positive effect when it comes to your safety too. An unknown person is much less likely to cause harm or hurt you if you have looked them in the face and audibly greeted them. Just sayin.]
In the past 12 days I have met at least 30 new people. Sure, starting a new job and moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone can really work this angle for you. I’ve added about 10 new contacts to my phone which is just about a person a day that I’ve been able to connect with on some human level… from Christian the cameraman in the elevator (“Is that a GoPro!?”) to the sister of the NBC President at the coffee shop around the corner.
When Jersey and I stumbled upon the dog park in Silver Lake last weekend I couldn’t help but get excited about talking to strangers! That one was too easy though – before we even entered the gates of the dog park we know we all have one awesome thing in common. 🙂
Constantly meeting new people will undoubtedly expand your horizons and do wonders for your character. It can teach you things no classroom lesson or school book can. (Although I’m sure by the time you’re able to read this you’re not even using “books” in school anymore!) When it comes to the workplace (and other places) people say “it’s who you know” that matters. And this is quite true. But it is true for life in general.
We, as humans, have a natural desire to be understood. Connecting with one another and finding common ground lays the foundation for us to understand / be understood. To empathize. To truly understand what someone else feels. Maybe Facebook will still be around for this example to make sense… but social media is perfect proof of our desire to connect. We “like” and “favorite” and “<3” things that people share online because we, too, like it. We connect with each other because of our similarities.
Hey! I never would have met my new friend, Aaron, in December while working on American Idol Hollywood Week… he gave me this sweet Los Angeles token for my token ring collection!!
So the next time you find yourself in an elevator, coffee shop, on an airplane or driving plain across the country with an adventurous copilot, be sure you (both) talk to strangers! Because… Oh, The Places You’ll Go! But believe me, it’s much farther than the miles can physically take you.
PS – It might be smart to learn how to throw a right hook and a good roundhouse kick first. 😉
Schlaf gut, my little lady!
Crazy Aunt Danielle 😛