June 3: Say Hello to a Stranger

Yesterday, we talked about sharing a piece of yourself with others.  Now how about sharing something with a total stranger?

A Stranger is Just Someone You Haven’t Met Yet

Most people are scared.  Talk to a stranger?! For so many years now, a good chunk of American society has fallen prey to sensationalist media.  They watch the nightly news which is 60 minutes long and consists of 20 minutes of commercials, 35 minutes of killings, murders, war, terrorism and rapings, 3 minutes of sports and MAYBE 2 minutes of positive, uplifting, humanitarian stories, if we are lucky.

As I am writing this, the NBA Finals game just finished up and the nightly news came on, here are the top 5 stories:

  • Kid walks into a basketball arena and shoots multiple victims
  • Senator John Edwards being sued for misappropriation of funds surrounding his mistress
  • Shooting rampage in Arizona
  • Multiple robberies and stabbing victims in New York
  • Car crash kills 4 people

Not one uplifting story, not one story of victory, acclaim, humanity, nothing. Oh wait, a funny story that included officers shooting and killing… a concrete statue. Case. And. Point.

Not every stranger is this guy

With all of this filling our heads, it is no wonder that we shelter ourselves from meeting new people to our own self-detriment.  We get self-centered.  We are too busy in our own lives to notice the people and the world around us.  Typically, we want a pre-determined set of characteristics in common with someone else before we strike up conversation.  Our kids know each other.  Were fans of the same sports team. We both ride motorcycles…

What happened to just saying “Hi”?

Just the other day, while waiting at a coffee shop for our coffee, my nephew and I had our cameras on our shoulders, ready to head towards Manhattan for some exploration and shooting, when a fellow customer came in behind us and the 3 of us struck up a 5 minute conversation that covered topics from photography to travel, motorcycles to surfing.  We left the coffee shop with a smile on our faces, a map for some great places to see in Little Italy on the lower east side.

How did this all take place?  He walked in and said “Good mornin’ guys!”

Simple as that.

Day 3. Way 3. Meet a stranger.  Say Hi.  Maybe even smile. You would be surprised the power it holds.

Any good stories of meeting strangers?

Any advice for others on sharing a little hospitality and kindness?

Let me know about your experiences in the comments below!


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  • Oskar_diaz

    What was his name JO JO? Johnny? 

    • I do believe it was Johnny.  What his nickname was, I have no idea.

  • Several years ago I was on a date with this guy (who eventually became my best friend.)  It was the grand opening of our city’s Sky Rail and the city was running a special, you could ride the Sky Rail an unlimited amount of times for only .25.  I dragged Josh along with me and we rode the rail for hours.  I was talking to strangers non-stop (it’s one of my things).  One guy in particular made Josh incredibly homeless.  He was a  homeless man who Josh was sure was going to kill us if I didn’t shut up.

    I find that when I’m someone else that I am comfortable with, I am extremely outgoing and will talk to just about anyone.

    • It is always good to meet new people doing random things like that.  Seems that whenever Juliet and I hit up a bar, we always end up making friends, either with the bartenders or other patrons.  I think just a friendly demeanor and a little bit of kindness is all it takes to really be able to meet just about anyone.

  • Nicki

    Pete and I eat breakfast at the same place every Saturday, except last week as they closed for memorial day (awesome diner filled with gentlemen being given a second chance – this is a whole other story).

    Anyway we had to go to the closest next place as I was due at work with an hour. We sat in Denny’s and it was crowded yet everyone was paying attention to their own selves. Pete and I was seated by this old guy who was eagerly people watching. I immediately struck up a conversation – starting with a smile, eye contact and asked him how his morning was.

    We talked, all three of us, on and off about our summer, how long he’d been in Alaska, listened as he talked fondly about his wife, who’d passed away a year back, and his plans for summer etc. He finished, as I explained I had to leave for work, that my hubby and I were good people, kind and made his morning. We left smiling, he still wore a grin on his face as we wavey through the window.

    Some strangers are just looking to forget, their troubles, their loneliness, their burdens, and seek to find some momentary minute of brightness. I’m glad, for him, we could fulfill that for him.

    And all this from a self pro-claimed introvert and unsociable person. I still have warmness for the struggling and hurting. Those strangers are the ones I seem to gravitate to.

    • Exactly, and to think that you wouldn’t have thought of him except for being the old guy in the diner unless you had taken the quick second to say hello.

      Amazing what a greeting does, isn’t it?

  • Dalene

    That is one BIG thing I will miss about leaving Latin America.  It is the norm to say “Buenos dias” to everyone you meet on the street, and to smooch on the cheek when being introduced.  I LOVE that, and it’s something we will do much more of as we travel around the world.

    Your next news headline: Creepy Canadian gal thrown in jail for molesting (smooching) random strangers….

    • EXACTLY.  It is somewhat like southern hospitality.  It is the norm, and when that norm is changed due to your location changing, it is hard to not want to keep up the same habits.  I will do that too, just say hi to someone, ask how they are doing, wave at them as I drive by, etc.  People up here don’t know what to do LOL.  I guess they are not used to people being like that.

  • It’s so funny that when you travel you welcome strangers but at home if someone tried to talk to you, you would be afraid of think they were strange.

    • it is intriguing how your mindset changes when it is already pushed literally out of its comfort zone, how things that normally seem odd, seem commonplace.

  • Yeah I think this is more of a problem in this country. People are loveless. The world would be better with some more love. Hello needs to become second nature.Feel free to join the facebook group “The Hello Movement” I just created

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