Lydster: talking to strangers


talking to strangersTalking to strangers when we happen to connect in some way is something I tend to pursue. My daughter HATES that.

It might be me speaking to the mother of a cranky baby on a bus. Or worse, talking to the baby. Because I’m willing to play peekaboo or make faces to infants, I have about an 80% success rate in getting wailing babies to stop, if only out of their curiosity. I’m actually better with them than I was with my once-baby, now-teenager.

We went to see Bernie Sanders in Albany in April 2016, in a line going around the block. I started talking to the couple behind us about the weather, which was threatening. My daughter was mortified at first. But as we ended up spending over an hour and a half in the line, she seemed to appreciate the efficacy of conversation.


There was a report that was reported widely. Want To Feel Happier Today? Try Talking To A Stranger.

“The mood boost of talking to strangers may seem fleeting, but the research on well-being, scientists say, suggests that a happy life is made up of a high frequency of positive events. Even small positive experiences — chatting with a stranger in an elevator — can make a difference.”

Sometimes the conversation with the bank teller or sales clerk can be informative and/or fun. My daughter finds these interactions particularly cringeworthy, which, I always assumed, was the whole point of parenting.

Moreover, Malcolm Gladwell wrote Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About People We Don’t Know. It’s considered a “fascinating study of why we misread those we don’t know.” It is, in other words, the act is a social good.

Interestingly, my daughter has finally started recognizing the value of dialogue with people she doesn’t know. They’re not necessarily total strangers. It might be a kid she saw in middle school but never talked to. Now that they’re both in high school, she might take the initiative just to say hello.

Could the father be…RIGHT?

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Lydster: talking to strangers”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.