Talk to a stranger.
“These pleasantries that are exchanged between strangers are in reality a way to get out of yourself and acknowledge the humanity of the person next to you as well as your own.”
– Our good friend Joe
Most of you probably think that talking to a stranger is weird, and you don’t want to be a weirdo, plus it can be awkward and you think they probably won’t like you and you’ll end up feeling worse when you could have been perfectly happy in your own little smartphone bubble. Right?
Well, as it turns out your prediction about how you and the stranger will feel is (most likely) wrong, and we don’t mean it rhetorically, we mean it’s scientifically proven that when facing the chance of talking to a stranger, we are very VERY bad at predicting our (and the stranger’s) future happiness levels, so we choose solitude over connection thinking we’re going to be better off... and fail.
Hence this week, we propose you approach someone on the bus, on the street or on the table next to you in the trendy bearded hipster cafe and talk to them about whatever, even if briefly, and see how you end up feeling. We bet you a muffin you’ll feel better!
WHY IS IT GOOD?
It gives you and the stranger a happiness boost.
Our experience of the world gets amplified when we are with other people… even chocolate tastes better!! Boom… Science!
It improves your communication skills. Interacting with a wide range of people will improve the way you communicate to others.
You become more accepting and empathetic. Talking to people from different cultures and backgrounds will help you become more open minded.
It broadens your network. You never know who you’re talking to, this stranger might have the answer to your problem.
You might learn something new. People do all sorts of interesting things and you might gain some knowledge. This is reciprocal.
It increases self confidence. It can feel a bit awkward at the beginning but very quickly your confidence levels will increase. It can help to think that that other person is another human being, just like you.
It makes you feel more human, more seen and less fearful. Particularly in big cities where disconnection and mistrust are common.
Use a third element i.e. something you are both looking at (dog, baby, poster…), is the best conversation starter.
If you’re ready to notch it up a bit, make eye contact with the person sitting next to you, smile (not a creepy smile, seriously) and simply say How are you?
Compliment something they’re wearing or their hairdo, e.g. Nice mohican!
Start with a sympathetic comment for example when ordering your morning coffee: You’re very busy today!
Wear a HOLA t-shirt to start up a conversation, like our friend Joe does!
EXTRA BROWNIE POINTS
If you feel that there’s a really good vibe with that stranger you’ve met (and it seems to be reciprocal), get their contact details and turn it into a friendship. That’s how Vero met Joe a couple of years ago on a London train and that simple chat became a wonderful long-distance friendship.
Have fun meeting all those beautiful and random humans in the world!
Vero and Enrique
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