How to Talk to Complete Strangers

 
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    June 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

    “Oh I hate talking to total strangers; I never know what to say.”

    Even though I too feel anxious when talking to a totally new person, hearing these words spoken aloud have always made me think it’s a dumb thing to say, at least in principal.

    You and a person you don’t know have an infinite amount of topics to discuss, argue about, or get stoked on. It’s not like talking to your grandmother, where you can’t say anything you’re thinking and try not to argue with her when she makes racist comments. It’s not like it’s your ex, who you really, really don’t want to be in the same room with, or your boss who would fire you if he knew about your balloon fetish, or that creepy guy who keeps asking you out even though you’ve changed your number three times…

    This is not how you talk to strangers unless you're trying to meet fellow douchebags

    You’re with someone completely new. You have a clean slate. So what if you piss them off?

    No, really. So, what? When your interaction is over, they can fall back into the soupy ocean that is everyone you don’t know. They will become a stranger once again (unless you just fucked up your new relationship with your mother-in-law or police officer neighbor — someone you’re stuck with for the time being) and all your worries about upsetting them will float away into the land of “Who Cares?”

    Now consider the fact that this person probably knows little to nothing about you. You can be whoever you want within reasonable boundaries; almost like on the internet. Why be scared of isolated encounters with strangers when you can take advantage of them to become a person you always wanted to be but were too much of a pussy to actually become? A little acting never hurt anyone. Well okay, that’s just not true.

    Most importantly, you should remember that whoever you’re talking to is just another bumbling human being just like yourself. If you approach a stranger like someone you already know (have someone in mind, just don’t use your brother who you’re used to constantly giving wedgies to), it becomes easier to talk and relate to them.

    The easiest way to start any kind of conversation with anyone is to ask a few questions. You’ll feel the pressure being lifted as you find yourself speaking less and listening more. Hopefully, you’ll even learn some useful and interesting information about whoever you’re hanging out with.

    But don’t interview them. You have to be able to relate (or try to) at least a little bit. Also, make eye contact. Do not shy away from eye contact. Once you’ve learned about them, it should become easier to talk to them about yourself and in general.

     
     
     
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