How Meeting Strangers Can Develop Skills + Change Your Life
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Every single person in your life started out as a stranger.
Your best friend, your husband or partner, even your parents and family members. They all started out as total strangers to you. Do you know what that means? It means that every single person you come into contact with has the power to change your life. Consider how transformative that is! The person behind you in line for coffee … someone standing next to you at a crosswalk … these people could change your life in so many unexpected and positive ways.
Have you ever thought that if you go left today you might end up married in 6 months, and if you go right you might move to Spain next year? Your path in life is hugely affected by chance encounters. We want you to feel sooooo excited about those possibilities.
1. Meeting a stranger can give you a serious confidence boost
While we do feel good when a friend gives us a compliment, sometimes it can mean so much more coming from a stranger. Your friend who has seen you in the same outfit a dozen times will probably still tell you that you look good (it’s what a good friend does). But someone who has never seen you wearing your favorite outfit telling you that you look amazing might make you feel even better.
There is a YouTube channel that produces videos about interactions with strangers. In one particular video (you can watch it here), the producer films the reactions of strangers after telling them they are beautiful. Some of the participants shy away from the camera and say they don’t think they are beautiful (how sad is that?). But other reactions are a joy to watch. You can see the sparkle in their eyes, the crack of a smile, and the beginnings of laughter that shows so much genuine happiness. It is a tangible example of how much someone can lighten up your day with a short interaction … and how you can lighten up theirs.
2. A sense of gratitude and positivity (given or received!)
Imagine this day...
Your morning is off to a tough start ... you get into the shower and bump your elbow on the hard wall (which hurts way more than it should), your hair is not doing what you're telling it to do, you burn your tongue on the first sip of coffee and render the rest of the cup unsatisfying, the train is delayed so you have to call an Uber. Once you’re at the office, things settle and you think you’re in the clear, then you accidentally spill your smoothie on your favorite shirt (!!!). It’s just one of those days. You resign yourself to the fact that the day will continue to be exceptionally frustrating until you can get home, put on sweats, and pour a glass of wine.
But then on your way home something happens: a stranger lets you take the last spot on the elevator … as you walk out of the building another person holds the door for you … on the street someone compliments your shoes. Suddenly you feel lighter. Small actions by strangers have caused you to feel more...dare I say... positive?
You can do the same thing for others so easily. Share your kindness to make an impact that can change the course of someone’s day. By doing this, you help to inject more positivity into the world. You create change, laughter, and better circumstances that benefit everyone.
3. Strangers give you perspective
Most humans surround themselves with people like them, but if you can change course and meet someone different, the way in which you see the world broadens. Meet someone much older and you’ll have the perspective of eyes that have seen far more than you. Meet someone much younger and you’ll get a fresh, less jaded perspective. People from other demographics will also have their own stories to share, something that is becoming more evident with the state of the world. Have patience and be open to learning. You never know how your thoughts and beliefs can be challenged just by meeting someone new and hearing their story.
4. Develop social skills and connections
Let’s face it, sometimes meeting new people can be downright terrifying. Walking up to someone who could potentially influence your career or a group of strangers at a party can be a lot of pressure. But here’s the thing: it will only get easier with practice. And why not start practicing in a low-stakes situation by talking to a random stranger. Push through feeling shy, nervous, or insecure. Everyone feels that way from time to time but overcoming those feelings is how we get to the other side where opportunities and confidence exists. It is how we develop confidence, become better communicators, and build brilliant social skills.
5. Doors will fly open
Learning to embrace small encounters with strangers allows you to be truly open to whatever the universe is offering. It is part of exploring all the paths, in order to determine the exact paths you want to be on. Your biggest adventure could be one “hello” away. Being open to strangers means being open to opportunities. Doors will present themselves, enticing you to explore what is waiting on the other side.
It may not be easy right now given masks and social distancing, but embracing chance encounters is something to welcome rather than fear. So give it a try.
● Don't know how to initiate a conversation? Just smile, say hi, and compliment them. Comment on something you can both see or ask them a question. People love talking about themselves and will be happy to discuss things they are interested in and passionate about.
● Use laughter to connect. Who would you rather hang out with: people having an intense discussion or people hysterical laughing? Laughter helps attract the right kind of people (while repelling the wrong ones).
● If someone approaches you, don’t be quick to push them away. They may just teach you something.