Just talk to people…

I enjoy solitude, but when I’m out and about I recognize that each and every one of us has a story to tell and I am not shy about talking to people I do not know.

Before I left my Minneapolis hotel this morning, I visited with the nice lady who was the hostess at the restaurant. She was about 70, if I had to guess. We got to talking about the quilters who had been at quilt market and she remarked that the crowd included a lot of younger women this time, and it made her happy.* I hadn’t actually noticed but I realized she was right. How great is that… there are lots of young quilters!

*This non-quilter’s memory was very good, and she was a good observer of people. It’s been 3 years (I think) since quilt market was in Minneapolis. I was impressed.

On my way to the airport, I got to visiting with man who drove my taxi. He had a lovely accent and I asked where he was from. It turns out he was from Ethiopia and he has led a very interesting life. He is a Coptic Christian (this might be a relevant link), and a singer, who traveled to sing in different churches at Easter and Christmas and other holy times. His family was scattered all over the world. He has worked in the tech industry, and I think he still does. Driving a taxi was sort of a side note for him. The drive to the airport could have been longer and I would not have cared because he was an interesting person.

Not long after, I was in an airport restroom, washing my hands next to a young woman who was fixing her head scarf. I mentioned that it looked nice on her and that I’d often wondered how women keep a scarf in place so well on their head. That led to a short conversation about face shapes and how individual women use different scarf-management strategies. We each went away with a sincere smile on our face. We were people, not stereotypes.

Here’s the thing: I talk to strangers—especially ones that are different from me. Most of the time, strangers turn out not to be strange—they are just people I don’t know. Visiting with them makes me more aware of the fact that each of us has an interesting story. We are all more the same than we are different.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

So the next time you are in a place with someone you don’t know, maybe on an elevator or standing in line, just say something nice. You may be very surprised at how much you enjoy visiting with someone you do not know.

14 thoughts on “Just talk to people…

  1. Thank Becky. I do this all the time ….and find interesting people to talk too. They all have asperations for their children’s future and hope they will be better educated than themselves. When they find out I was a teacher …they ask questions on how to help their children …..my one reply is to make sure they read each night and visualise the story to the listener.
    I must say my children usually look at me as though I’m nuts. .. but my answer is if we are all friendly we will join as a nation one by one
    Lorraine

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  2. My Father always did this and I have followed in his footsteps. So much so that my children when they were small asked me if I knew everyone! I told them after I talked to them I did.

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  3. I do this also & wish more people would! Perhaps because you’ve blogged about it today Becky more people will talk with each other & soon we will have a more peaceful world! Thank you for saying this today!!

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  4. Whenever I’m in a bad/sad mood, I tell myself “smile” and I smile at people wherever I am. And in Germany most people carry an outer appearance of severness, but when they see me smile, they are so suprised that they have to smile, too. And it’s the same with talking to people. Just a few friendly words make you smile.
    Greetings from Germany, Birgitt

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  5. Like you, I enjoy visiting with people when traveling, etc. The woman who sat next to me on my recent plane trip was from Denmark and we had an interesting conversation. Met a man from Bulgaria when taking friends on the local tram ride. The city where I live is a great international city and there are always interesting people to meet. It is great fun. Keep enjoying your travels.

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  6. that is exactly why at the age of 66 I have no desire to retire. I am a verbatim reporter a/k/a court stenographer – who does pre-trial depositions in lawyer’s offices. I meet different people every day – lawyers and witnesses. I try to talk to the witness before they testify, to let them know it’s nothing to be nervous about (no judge or jury – just lawyers wanting to know what the real issues are) If I can make them smile or laugh – it makes my day. I’ve met some very, very nice people and a couple who are, in my very humble opinion, a little off. But always being open to something new is what keeps us alive and interesting!!

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  7. I grew up in Chicago. Talked with “strangers” all the time. In the 80s I worked at TI and lived in Plano. Befriended a woman native to Dallas. When I talked to strangers, she would sort of shrink. So I asked her about that. She had no reason for it other than her mother always taught her not to speak to strangers. There was no “until you are grown” and so the lesson stuck. I think, I hope, I made a difference for her.

    People are so various and so interesting. It is lovely to connect even if only for the duration of an elevator ride. And if I find someone formidable, then speaking to them always eases that fear.

    Lovely post. Thanks.

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  8. I have conversations with people all the time when I’m shopping at the grocery store. I’m tall enough that I can reach things on the top shelves, so I frequently help people with that and end up chatting with them. I guess it helps that I don’t look threatening—I’m a white-haired grandmother!

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