Certainly life would be boring if you never met anyone new. If we are a product of the environment we put ourselves in, without meeting new people we remain the same. So why is it that we’re taught at such a young age not to talk to strangers? I would argue that one of life’s more important skills is learning to talk to strangers.
When we learn to overcome talking to strangers, we conquer a different sort of anxiety within ourselves. We learn to accept the unknown and go out to meet it. For example, when you meet someone new you have no idea what sort of person they may be. You could judge them by their clothes and where you meet them but it isn’t always accurate. There’s always that sort of unknown that you have to face.
Talking to strangers also gives us the ability to understand other people. If you are only with your group of friends, you’re limited to only what your friends experience. Once you meet a variety of people, you get a variety of experiences. While it’s great to have close friends, it’s also important to always be meeting new people.
When you find something that you’re passionate about and you put it out there – meaning you obnoxiously post about it all the time on Facebook and find yourself always talking about it – you’ll find a lot of new people who share that passion. Or will help foster that passion in you. When I started taking photos, I received a lot of support from people I had never met on Flickr. When I started blogging I became incredibly enthusiastic about it. I met a lot of new people who had blogs and I got a lot of my friends involved with blogging.
Talking to strangers gives us a pathway to understanding ourselves. When we are alone, or stay in the same crowd, our views rarely get challenged. When we meet new people and have to discuss our views, we have the ability to expand on them and develop them further.
So next time you get anxiety about going to meet a new group of people, remember all the potential that they carry with them. You could meet a person who will cause your life to be completely altered! They could teach you about something new or build passion in what you love. “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet”, why not treat it like that?
P.S. This was inspired by a great conversation I had with a music enthusiast on Omegle.com about Sigur Ros, classical music, and electro-swing!