When do you consider a person known?
In my experience, people stop becoming strangers once we get past the mundane conversations and awkward phase of thinking of what to say. There’s always something to talk about, and there’s isn’t a need to overthink whether you are being judged for your thoughts. If there are moments of silence, it almost feels comfortable. It’s an amazing feeling when you can click with someone on this level. However, it’s difficult to create these types of friendships, considering that there’s a big hurdle of having to talk to strangers in the first place. Thankfully, I have my best friends in the picture above that I can talk about anything with. But, they were once strangers too.
In the past, I’ve struggled with talking to people. But, I have slowly become accustomed to talking more by striking up conversations with colleagues and customers while at work. My most recent stranger experience was a conversation with a customer. We asked each other about our days, talked about our experiences with COVID, and ended our encounter with a smile and a thank you. This is the conversation that I have with a multitude of customers every day. The majority of the customers that I meet are within a fleeting moment, which has its pros and cons. There’s room to try new conversations starters, but I can end up embarrassing myself. Nevertheless, it’s an attempt with someone that I will probably never see again.
How do you interact in real life vs. online?
In real life, I am one of those people on transit who stare longingly out the window while listening to sad music – almost like I am the main character of some coming-of-age movie. I try my best to keep to myself while also participating in civil inattention. I do this by giving the people around me just the right amount of acknowledgement while also not being bothersome. Eye contact and a smile seem sufficient.
There’s a stark difference between the way that I communicate online and in-person. Just by following someone on Instagram, or friending someone on Facebook, it’s easy to see similarities in interests and base conversations on such. In this case, I consider the backspace button my best friend. I can easily think through what I need to say without any “uh” or “uhm” that sometimes plague my conversations in real life. Although this is the case, I still end up making deeper connections with people in person, rather than online. I think the reason behind this is because of body language between two people.
What are your thoughts on strangers and making connections? Do you find it easy to talk to strangers? Drop some tips in the comments!