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  • Strike a conversation with a stranger, you’ll be surprised.
  • What stops us from talking to strangers? Gulf News readers discuss

Striking a conversation with a stranger does not cross many people’s minds. Sometimes it’s social anxiety or the fear of being awkward that stops us from doing so. However, the benefits of engaging with strangers can be surprising. Gulf News readers discuss.

Meaningful experiences

One can learn a lot interacting with strangers

Living in times where almost everyone is glued to their phone screens, it’s definitely a conscious choice to look up and connect with fellow humans around you. Just by rejecting the idea that makes us so suspicious of each other or the old age dilemma of ‘stranger danger’, we can make space for change.

For starters, begin with people who you work or study with but do not really know. While travelling, make it a point to interact with locals of the area and taking their recommendations on the best things to do around town.

For starters, begin with people who you work or study with but do not really know. While travelling, make it a point to interact with locals of the area and taking their recommendations on the best things to do around town.

- Mehak Ayaz

This practice has personally taught me more about different cultures than google ever will. When we talk to strangers, we are making beautiful interruptions into the expected narratives of our daily life. We are making unexpected connections and a lot of people tend to be completely honest and open about their inner selves with strangers which is a liberating feeling.

My little daily journal is now populated with the significant interactions I sometimes have with strangers and it’s an incredible thing to realise that at the end, it is all about going back to the core human experiences that teaches us about the greatest things in life.

From Ms Mehak Ayaz
Civil engineer based in Dubai
 

Comes easy to some

How people interact depends on the personalities of those involved

I believe I am a mix of an introvert and an extrovert, depending on the environment around me. Talking to strangers comes easy to me if I feel like the energy coming from the other person is positive. It is a great way to socialize and build your network.

I find it extremely interesting hearing different opinions of people, it lets us see a tiny glimpse of their mindset. It helps us break out of our comfort zone and might help us perceive the reality of things differently, through which we can gain ample amount of knowledge.

I honestly believe a small conversation with a stranger on the bus, or in a long queue can hurt nobody.

- Firuse Shahana

I honestly believe a small conversation with a stranger on the bus, or in a long queue can hurt nobody.

For instance, my first day at work, everyone was a stranger to me, but because of my speaking skills, I was not nervous or tongue tied while speaking to them. I was comfortable and confident in starting conversations to get to know my colleagues better. However, not everybody is born with great speaking skills, thus talking to strangers can help us overcome our fear of starting a conversation with others.

From Ms Firuse Shahana
Marketing and public relations executive based in Dubai

Expand your circle

Speaking to strangers can bring many benefits

I think we are moving towards a society that promotes the culture of strictly mingling with our specific groups and not expanding our social circles or stepping out of our comfort zone.

I think that in the past, especially in smaller communities the idea of striking a conversation with a stranger wasn’t rare or odd. There are many benefits of talking to strangers. You get to learn about things you wouldn’t have otherwise or even get to talk about topics that are not general discussed in your own circle of people.

I think next time someone is using public transport or at an event where you might think like-minded people would be, don’t be afraid to approach one or take the opportunity to have an interesting chat.

In terms of benefits to your personality and well-being, it can boost people’s confidence and even make them happier. Think about it, a boring ride on the metro can turn into a much interesting one if you talk to people you’d never think to meet elsewhere.

Mr Mohammad Osama Ahmad Transportation and city planner based in Sharjah

Poll results

Do you find it easy to talk to strangers?

Yes: 35%
No: 65%

Have your say: Are we progressing towards a society where talking to strangers is discouraged or encouraged?