We’re all taught from an early age not to talk to strangers. While this is undoubtedly smart advice for children to follow, it’s not a habit we should usually keep as adults.
Talking with strangers (in normal situations, not in dark alleyways) is actually one of the best things you can do in your adulthood, with the ability to teach you important skills and make a positive impact on your everyday life. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:
For many, the idea of initiating conversation with a stranger can be intimidating. But pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to overcome shyness. The more you push yourself to talk to people you don’t know, the more confident you will become in yourself. Over time, the more practice you get, the easier it will be to talk to new people.
Improve Co-Working skills
The social skills and confidence you gain from talking to strangers can also have benefits in the workplace. The more relaxed you feel talking to someone you don’t know, the easier it will be to speak up at your next business meeting, share your ideas or address problem situations. You will also find it much easier to work with new people and form healthy working relationships.
Become a Better Listener
Talking with strangers teaches you great listening skills, which is an important skill to have in the working world, and life in general. This is because when you talk to strangers, it isn’t about you telling them all about yourself. Instead, it’s about asking questions, learning from them, and listening to what they have to say.
Make a Friend
You never know where a simple conversation with a stranger might lead. You could end up really connecting with that person and gaining a new friend that you could brainstorm with, exercise with or even go on travel adventures and activities with. Remember, your closest friend was once a stranger!
Expand Your Professional Network
Striking up a conversation with a stranger could also lead to new business opportunities. Perhaps you’ll end up talking to a new potential client, or someone that works for your dream company. The business world is all about who you know, and broadening your network can make all the difference to your career.
Change Your Perspective
Often times we get stuck in our own little bubble - socializing with the same people every day and end up with a very limited view of the world. But there’s a big wide world out there, filled with people who have different viewpoints and perspectives.
Introducing yourself to strangers allows you to substantially broaden your worldview. There is always somebody that knows more about an issue or subject than you. Learning about their views can potentially help to open up your own mind and even challenge your own belief systems.
Improve Your Mood
Having a simple interaction with a stranger can do wonders to brighten your mood and improve your day, even if it’s just a quick exchange in hellos. In an age where we’re so attached to our digital devices, these brief encounters make us feel a little more human.
Make Someone’s Day
When you go out of your way to talk to a stranger, it doesn’t just make you feel good. If that person is having a bad day, or perhaps feeling a little lonely, your friendly and positive attitude may just put a smile on their face. You may even make their day. Just remember to always be respectful in your approach and respect boundaries!
Interested in learning more about why you should talk to strangers? Check out this TED Talk by Kio Stark!
Allison is a freelance writer from Wellington, New Zealand. When she's not busy travelling the world, she writes for various blogs, sites and businesses such as Keith Andrews. You can find more about Allison and her published works here.