By Nicole Tinkham
How many times in your life were you told not to talk to strangers? Like any child, I was told this all the time growing up and even today by my husband. Of course your safety is always the main priority. Before getting into the 6 reasons why you should talk to strangers, we must stress the importance of talking to the right kind of strangers. Use your common sense and stay away from anyone who looks suspicious. Also, don’t give your personal information to any strangers you talk to. In this post, we’re referring to friendly small talk to people you come across in your day to day life like while on the bus commute to work or in the grocery store. Avoiding contact in these types of situations is silly! There are so many benefits to wishing a perfect stranger a nice day. Read on to see what they are.
1. Learn from others
When you engage in conversation with someone new, you’re not only learning more about that person but also other valuable info that may interest you. Maybe it’s the weather forecast for the week, an interesting statistic, or a trick on preparing your spaghetti squash (if you happen to be at the grocery store buying one). You never know who you will meet and what type of things they have to offer you.
2. Make new friends
When we’re in school surrounded by our peers, it’s so easy (or at least easier) to start talking to them and making new friends. But once we enter the adult life, things change and it’s more difficult to get out there and meet new people. I speak from experience after leaving my childhood friends in Pennsylvania to move to Florida. One way I was able to make some new friends is by meeting up with like-minded people through a website called meetup.com. We choose an activity and get together as a group, all of them being strangers at first. You don’t necessarily have to do this group method but the point is you have to get out there talking to others if you’re looking to make new friends!
3. Build confidence
Talking to complete strangers is terrifying at first! Although it’s extremely uncomfortable, the more you do it the better you will get at it. Aim to talk to one new person for every day that you venture out of the house. Engaging in conversation almost every day will build your confidence even if you’re shy and it’ll make interacting with others come more naturally to you.
4. Become a better listener
Remember to be all ears when talking to others. This goes for both new people and people you already know. Ask questions and actually listen. You will get the most incredible information this way plus people love talking (especially about themselves) so it’s a surefire way to get others to like you. Do you have the tendency to cut people off mid sentence and put in your two cents? Talking to strangers and practicing your listening skills can help you control that habit and understand people on a deeper level.
5. Improve someone’s day (including your own)
I find it rare these days to run into friendly people. Everyone seems to be lost in their own little world or they’re in such a rush that they don’t even notice you. But when I’m out and someone smiles and says “hi”, it’s so refreshing and instantly puts a smile on my face. If you feel the same way about friendly people, it’s time you pay it forward! Spread joy and you’ll not only make others happy, you’ll also be working on your own happiness.
6. Make everyday tasks more interesting
Do you ever feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by a ton of people? Time seems to stand still and you become bored out of your mind. Think about the frustration of waiting in a long line or the dreaded commute on a bus. We don’t like these things because it takes up time in our day and we get nothing accomplished during that wait time. However, if you start a conversation with that person behind you in line it makes time fly by and the wait will be worth while. Make life interesting by talking to more people!
You don’t have to be a chatty Kathy and talk to every single person you see to reap the benefits of talking to strangers. Start small by just smiling and saying “hello” to a few people. Then work your way up to small talk in your every day life. Before you know it you’ll feel comfortable chatting with more and more people. Don’t turn this into a chore. Have fun getting to know new people and always wear that smile of yours. It’ll help you light up the room and spread positivity.
Tell us, what are some of your best tips for talking to strangers and how has doing so made an impact on your life?