Conversation With a Stranger

Process Post 1

Approaching people to have a conversation seems as though it would be a relatively simple task. After all, we encounter a huge number of strangers on a day to day basis, even just walking outside our front doors. However for some reason, breaking the norm of what is expected and initiating an interaction is a hurdle that most of us fail to cross on a regular basis. For myself, my habit every time I get on the bus is to pull out my phone and attempt to tune out those around me. I tell myself that it’s the most polite thing to do, after all, who wants to be making small talk with strangers at 7:00 in the morning?

Recently though, I’ve been noticing my attention span shrinking. It’s like I can feel my ability to concentrate slipping away bit by bit every day, which in and of itself is a problem. Due to this, I’ve been trying a few things to encourage myself to spend less and less time looking at the screen of my phone, including listening to podcasts, silencing my notifications, and putting my phone in the deepest pocket of my bag where it would take a miracle to retrieve it.

Due to my efforts to put the screen away, I’ve found myself interacting more with the people around me. Just this weekend, I had a lovely conversation with the barista as I was getting my coffee in the morning about our mutual preference for fall fashion. The conversation was brief, however I walked away with my coffee in hand feeling far happier to have made that connection with someone who has a shared interest. I hope that the next time I go to that particular coffee shop I will be able to see him again, and hopefully show off my next outfit. While I find online interactions incredibly stimulating, they happen at such a high volume and intense speed that it is easy for me to glaze over and not really process them. To slow down and have a singular conversation in person with someone else was a pleasant change of pace, and I intend to continue doing so on a regular basis.

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