One of the things I’ve pondered about for long is how we as children are told not to speak to strangers. It’s a well-meant advice perhaps, but also an early seed of irrational fear of interaction with other people and places. I think that in most cases this attitude hinders tolerance and comprehension and stops many people from living freer and happier lives. Really.
Think about it. How many strangers have you talked to, like really talked to a lately?
When was the last time you sat down by an old man on a bench and had a conversation with him? Last time you randomly started a conversation with someone at a bus and ended up knowing everything about the love of her life? Or perhaps I should ask the other way around; when was the last time you felt a bit awkward standing alone in an elevator with a stranger for two minutes? You were on your phone, weren’t you! Hah!
But seriously, can you recall having felt awkward because a stranger started sharing from his life with you? If so, maybe it’d be interesting to ask why you felt awkward..
I know what you’re thinking: It depends on the place, the person, the situation, your mood and so on and so forth. And I agree to a certain extent. For instance my home country Norway represents a place where the fear (or at least that’s the impression we often give), for talking to strangers is much bigger than, let’s say in Spain. Still, my idea is that as individuals we can choose to be different (better) than what is the norm in our “culture”.
My experience is that the more I talk to strangers wherever and whatever the situation, I feel more human and so does the stranger. Which at its best equals a more human (=happy) world. That’s a powerful thought don’t you think?