Talking To Strangers

Process Post #1

While having conversations with strangers has been a bit more difficult than usual due to certain restrictions that I’m sure we’re all tired of talking about, I have had a couple of little interactions with strangers throughout the week that I think I could write about!

I actually just moved right at the beginning of January, so I’ve been really busy setting things up, and I’m in a totally new neighbourhood, so there are plenty of strangers to go around! I also work at a daycare in the neighborhood, and there are always new kids and parents that I have to strike a conversation up with and get to know.

Kids are a lot easier to introduce yourself to than adults, much less intimidating, but just as nice. I introduced myself to a new little one, Ethan, who’s just under three years old, and he didn’t have a lot of words, but he was my little companion throughout the day, hanging out and asking for help building and putting puzzles together. Those interactions are always heart-warming, and every child is so different and fun to get to know. I think kids haven’t learned that social awkwardness yet, where you’re so afraid of breaking the norm and talking to a stranger, just as James Hamblin describes in his article.

The parents can be intimidating, but Ethan’s parents were really nice! The great thing about talking with these parents for the first time is that, as parents, they understand kids, so we always have a big thing in common to talk about. I can tell a silly story about something Ethan has done during the day, and the ice is immediately broken. Just as Hamblin said, commenting on a shared experience makes it much easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

Apart from my work at the daycare, I’ve had a couple of little interactions with people out in the world. I was at IKEA with my sister over the weekend, and we found that IKEA was basically sold out of 95% of their dressers! Another woman seemed to be looking at the same aisle as us and looked just as confused, so I told her they were all sold out it seemed, and we had a short conversation about how ridiculous the idea that IKEA could be sold out of such a civilian item was.

Overall, I think we normally have little micro-interactions with strangers in real life, like sharing an eye-roll if someone is clogging up the line for prescriptions at London Drugs. These little interactions are fun, but actually talking to strangers can be really intimidating. I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone and put myself out there.

Emily

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