Talk to Strangers

You know how it is… There’s this person who works in your building… takes the same subway… gets coffee every morning at your Starbucks… and, well, you find them super attractive. So much so that you’d like to know more about them and maybe even go out on a date. If only you could find the way to strike up a conversation.

So many of us find it difficult – some nearly even impossible – to start talking to strangers. Maybe because it was so ingrained in us as kids that it was dangerous to do so, or maybe precisely the opposite: that as adults we’re all too aware of the sting of rejection.

Whatever the case, in the grown-up world – one without unnecessary ego attachments (after all, a conversation in the coffeeshop does not mean you’ve met your soulmate… however, it is possible), there’s nothing wrong with chatting up that cutie who’s caught your eye. In fact, you may be missing out on an opportunity if you don’t at least smile and say hello.

On that note…
Believe it or not, the best thing to do might just be that simple… Smile sincerely. You know, not that plastered on I’m-terrified-doing-this kind of smile but rather a genuine, warm greeting and say hi. Ask how they are. Ask if they come here often (ironically of course – because you both know you see each other in this space almost everyday).

Say anything
If it’s the first time you’re noticing this person, don’t let that stop you. A little common, everyday friendliness – mention uncharacteristic weather, a headline in the news (particularly if a paper’s in sight) or even the traffic – and the door is opened to communication. Remember, your “pick up line” need not be a line at all (in fact, it shouldn’t be!), nor does it have to be the most creative conversation in the world. The point is to let the person know you’ve noticed them and have a conversation.

If you’re still searching, take note of common ground. Even though the person in question may be a stranger, there’s no doubt you share something in common. (See the aforementioned… whereever it is, you both come here often… or at least right now!). Just remember, don’t be afraid and what’s the worst that can happen? They don’t respond in a friendly fashion? If that’s the case, you’re not really interested anyway, are you?

Close the deal
If you aren’t particularly shy and can take it past a smile and hello, make your introduction more personal by noticing – and commenting on – something specific about your potential paramour. Are they wearing a new coat? Did they get a haircut? Do you always notice their shoes/watch/beverage of choice? Whatever the detail, ask about it. Compliment it. Show – casually of course – without seeming stalker-like – that you’ve paid attention to them in the past (or that you’re paying attention at that moment). A person who is similarly interested will take the hint most of the time.

Check yourself
Lastly, if this whole idea makes you nervous, ask yourself why? What have you got to lose? Better to try talking and get no response than wonder about that “missed connection,” right? If it helps, remember that people who are skilled at talking with strangers rarely plumb the depths with them in casual conversation. They start simple. They smile. They comment on the world around them. Then they find out, courtesy of the universe and its energy, that great things can happen, when you’re not afraid to reach out for the smallest human connection.

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