Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Terrible/Awesome Advice

Rule #3 for life: Always talk to strangers.

Okay, there are caveats. Like "as long as you're already a semi-responsible adult with some form of self-preservation and/or self-defense abilities, just in case."

How about I back up a bit?

When I was quite young, I was absolutely petrified of strangers. I didn't even talk to my elementary school teachers till at least a month of the school year had passed. Making friends was hard (although once made, I kept those friends for years). I didn't like people and that was all there was to it.

Truth be told, with that bit of history the whole "engineer" thing makes a lot more sense.

However, I am also a bit of a daddy's girl, and my dad is almost remarkably outgoing (especially considering that he, too, is an engineer). The man has never met a stranger. He runs into people he knows in random rest stops in other states. It's kind of amazing.

At some point, I flipped a switch. I suddenly loved talking in front of crowds. I was willing to meet new folks. I got in trouble for talking in class. And while that oscillated a bit over the years, a good chunk of that has remained -- I still love talking in front of crowds, and while I'm incredibly awkward, I love to talk to strangers.

Moreover, I've found that said awkwardness doesn't necessarily infringe on my abilities to meet new people. Heck, if said strangers are moderately geeky, it almost helps.

Because of my willingness to chitchat in line, at bars, or waiting for a delayed flight in an airport, I've found out about the best restaurants in towns I've visited, downloaded new apps to help with all sorts of things, been given books to read, and -- maybe my favorite story -- ended up with a guide/riding buddy at an amusement park. I've learned about any number of topics, from sterilization of hospital autoclaves (look, I thought it was fascinating) to the challenges to legalizing marijuana. And I've gained random friends and acquaintances all over the country, several of whom may even read this because it's 2015 and we all have Facebook.

This is why the best piece of advice I can give is that simple: talk to strangers. By all means, choose them carefully, but talk. You never know where the conversation might go and just how your day or theirs might improve.

1 comment:

Russ Sims said...

I'm glad you decided to talk to this stranger. You made a town I had never been in before seem welcome and inviting! You are a delightful young lady and I'm so glad to have made your acquaintance.