Different cultures are one of the many things that make our lives rich and meaningful. Being able to go and meet new people with an entirely different way of living is an extraordinary experience that should be cherished.
However, we often don’t take the time to meet new people. Sure, we try to mingle at dinner parties or networking events. But that’s not the same as real genuine conversation with someone you’ve never met.
Perhaps it’s because we were trained not to speak to strangers as children. Could this account for why we brush past people on the subway, or people mock the younger generation for lacking basic communication skills? Possibly.
But there’s a deeper problem at stake here if we don’t learn to branch out and explore new experiences. We run the risk of missing out on new experiences and the pleasure of people.
Interacting with other humans is one of the greatest treasures that is absolutely free of charge. While it may be a bit awkward at first, it can help you to raise your confidence, which in turn, can be a tremendous blessing.
I admit that beyond taking Spanish lessons online and meeting new teachers from across the world, I rarely go out to meet new people. It’s safe to say this is how most adults feel the same way.
I remember a time when I was walking around in Oxford, England trying to find a good spot to eat. I walked past a church that was hosting a bazaar with amazing Russian dishes for sale. While there, I felt really grateful to be eating such a great meal. And when I sat down at the table, I saw a tall gentleman only a few years older than myself who looked friendly.
Rather than sit in silence, I introduced myself politely and we began talking. His breadth of knowledge for psychology, philosophy, and comparative religion was incredible. Needless to say, we became fast friends, and still are five years after meeting! Thanks to the power of Skype, we can still keep in contact regularly.
Here are a list of the reasons why we believe you should ignore traditional advice, and begin talking to strangers more.
1. It Increases Curiosity
When you first meet someone, you ask a lot of questions. Why? Because your curiosity is piqued and it’s interesting to learn more about them.
2. It Improves Your Improvisational Skills
Ever try to talk to someone at a bar when you don’t have much immediately in common? It takes a lot of courage to talk to people you don’t know and try to learn more about them. In fact, you may find yourself being put on the spot or having to defend your position on something.
3. It Opens up a New World Of Opportunities
When you meet someone new, there’s a good chance that you will have different plans and even different interests. Sometimes they can introduce you to their friend group and you can begin forming more friendships. This is why it’s so essential that you don’t take random experiences for granted. Sometimes they can be a great way to meet people who you instantly connect with.
This will lead you to trying new things and opening up to strange opportunities that were never an option before. For example, one of my new friends suggested that we go to a restaurant I’d never even heard of. Now I’m a regular! Even silly things like that can change your life in small but delightfully rich ways.
4. You Can Share New Adventures
When you first meet new people, there’s excitement. Every conversation reveals more about who you are and who they are. That means that you can connect on a deep level and find similar experiences to share. Many of these can be new adventures that take you to places you never thought you would go.
5. Increases Assertiveness And Bravery
It takes guts to meet new people and actually keep the conversation going long enough to become a new friend. This type of practice isn’t just a good life skill, it can also help in other areas as well. For instance, when you are speaking to new potential clients at work or trying to convince your children that they should listen to you, being able to be convincing and persuasive is a skill. Like any other skill, it must be practiced in order for you to get good.
Every friend you have was a stranger at one point.
Think about this. At one point in time, every friend you’ve ever had was a stranger. You didn’t know them, and even your best friend was someone you didn’t know if you could trust or not yet. That’s an amazing fact when you think about it! Everyone you know was once a foreign concept.
Use these suggestions as encouragement to meet more people and break out of your comfort zone. Give people a chance and they may surprise you! You never know you could even end up meeting your best friend on the sidewalk, on the airplane, or at the movies. Be brave, but be smart!