I used to think talking to strangers was a taboo, since we’ve all grown up with the term “Do not ever talk to strangers.” told to us by our parents and loved ones.
I’m an introvert.
— but chatting with a stranger is a skill.
The act of being alone brings me joy and comfort.
I enjoy walking alone, taking in the scenery and what’s around me, the people, the cars, the noise. It’s something we should all cherish around us, because some may not be able to have this luxury.
The best part of a good day, is when I get to meet a spontaneous person that day. It’s when I’m able to hold a conversation with a complete stranger and manage to exchange phone numbers to keep in contact in the future.
“If you’re unable to speak to a stranger then you’re not taking advantage of what’s in front of you.” — the most important ones, are the ones you’re able to connect and share your ideas with. It’s not about “hey, how are you doing” but its by delving into a deep conversation with them that matters the most.
Working as a barista, meeting different people and even though having a brief connection with those people. At the end of the day, you tend to cherish the moments you actually had with them. A Monday, after a typhoon. I came to work at about 10.00am, and I see this lady sitting on one of the bar tables. Since it was the day after a typhoon, the cafe was quiet for the most part; you could still see the fallen trees and the air was humid and damp. She was there writing/reading, with a double layer vegan chocolate cake; a quite dense cake. A signature cake for the weekend, and we had leftovers from Sunday. I started to work, and it was just the two of us in the whole entire store. It was a tad too quiet, even with the music playing in the background I felt as if there wasn’t enough human interaction. And it was scary to open up my mouth first, and it was like “hey, how are you” and we held the conversation for about 7 or so hours; and we talked. She stayed until about 5.00pm or 7.00pm. And it was the most amazing conversation that I’ve ever had, we talked about our deepest-darkest secrets, our thoughts, our personalities and our life. I took full advantage of talking to a complete stranger and opened up to the best of my ability. It was the first time in my life where I found communicating with a stranger to be so fulfilling, it made my heart swell.
With a stranger there are no boundaries, since you don’t know the person. There’s a chance that you won’t see each other again; considering I found speaking to closer friends to be daunting as I was afraid of judgement. So by taking the advantage to talk to a stranger gave me comfort and relief. At the end of it, we exchanged phone numbers and we stayed in contact ever since, and that was in 2016.
She’s one of my good friends and we’ve kept in contact for so long.
It’s funny how once was a stranger who sat in a cafe has become such a good friend of mine.
Now, I’m one of those people who would actually go over and talk to strangers because I feel a sense of doing so, I’m used to it now; its not about being lonely that day, but since I’m mostly alone I enjoy it a lot. Whenever I’m back home, I’d be alone, eat alone, sing karaoke alone. People may think that’s lonely and sad but you tend to forget who’s around you, you worry about yourself more, and you’re more aware of you are. When you’re with somebody else, you tend to put in more effort and care into that person, therefore, at this stage disregarding your feelings is a common trait. You sacrifice and compromise a lot for the other person, so when you’re alone. It’s your day today.
For example, it’s Felicia’s day today. Go out by myself, go shopping by myself, think about what I want and not about what other people wants to think of me.
Another example would be from when I had a day to myself and I decided to eat at one of my regular places for lunch; Vietnamese pho! The waiter had directed me to a seat, he said “We don’t have enough places, would you mind sitting with another stranger?” I complied and sat directly opposite of the other person. It was a silent for 10 or so minutes, it was so awkward. None of us spoke, and the awkwardness was lingering in the air. There were some persistent stares from tables around us, and in my head was going through all sorts of conversation starters.
— I wasn’t quick enough and she beat me to it.
Throughout the meal we had developed a conversation where we shared our personal experiences, and I had shared my worries of starting first year of university; she is a corporate photographer. We connected both spiritually and psychologically, we spoke in terms where we both understood; there were a lot of philosophical questions where we discussed and understood each other. We had a deep emotional connection with each other, and spoke for an hour and a half. Since she was on her lunch break, she had to leave.
We exchanged numbers and said to meet up before I left for university.
— we grabbed a morning of coffee and a lunch together after a month, we then continued to go off on our tangents.
Based on both of these experiences, I now really hate awkwardness. Since I’m an awkward person, I basically revolve around this word; but if it’s between people. No. I can’t stand it. Communication with someone (e.g. stranger in front of you), may be the best conversation you’ll ever have in your life. I learned so much more in life by talking than reading a textbook. I think this is why most my friends are in their 30s and 40s; one of them had said “my daughter is around your age, and you speak really well for a 19 year-old.”
Honestly, go ahead and try it. Try conquering your fear of talking to other people by challenging yourself to speak to 1–2 strangers per week. As an introvert, you’d definitely improve and gain confidence in yourself a lot more.
My coffee was always cold by the end of each conversation.