Delimit My Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" ~ Hellen Keller

Day 26 Talk to a stranger each day

Well, I finally found a challenge that will expand my comfort zone and it sounds uncomfortable, even impossible. Just thinking about talking to a new person everyday makes my head spin. I have no clue on how to start a conversation with someone new and not embarrass myself? What if I just freeze up on the spot, petrified? It most likely won’t turn out that bad, fears always bring up the worst thoughts, but the thoughts do race through my head.

I always seem to be over analyzing situations and psyching myself. It’s the same issue I have with asking a girl out on a date. I just think about all of the horrible, although unlikely, circumstances in which something goes terribly wrong. Then I think about the repercussions and embarrassment. Irrational as it may seem, I just figure that it’s not even worth trying, so I walk away. I absolutely hate that I do this! Hopefully, this challenge will force me to conquer my fear of rejection.

The challenge however is a little vague in the details department. Does it count if I talk to waiters, grocery store clerks, and even say hello to the random person hiking the same trail?  In my mind, I don’t consider that talking to a stranger. They just seem like an exchange of pleasantries rather than actual communication. For my purpose, talking involves some topic that flows back and forth continuously between two or more people. I know a rather formal definition but I’m a scientist at heart. So if I am going to do this challenge I need to live up to my own definition.

Therefore, I have created some formal rules for this challenge. Obviously, I have to actually communicate with the stranger, more than just a greeting, so I have to get their name and learn something new about them. The conversation should be longer than a few minutes otherwise it borderlines small talk. The bonus challenge is finding something in common with the stranger. This could include hobbies, songs, food, and any other areas. Ultimately, the goal is to have a full conversation with someone new.

Some questions I am still grappling with. If I get rejected by someone should that count, or do I have to find a new stranger? I think I have to say yes, because rejection is a part of meeting new people. Next, should I be allowed to use the challenge as an opening line for talking to strangers? It might become a handicap or a cheat if I use it. However, it could take away some of the awkwardness as it gives the stranger a reason to talk with me.

If you have any suggestions on the rules or some good old advice on talking to strangers, I would love to hear them.

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends. ~ Shirley MacLaine

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4 thoughts on “Day 26 Talk to a stranger each day

  1. In analyzing the challenge, you are both finding reason to excuse failure and push for extra credit.

    Where do these challenges come from? Yourself? A friend?

    This is a good challenge for breaking that fear. But, what if you run into the same people some days or don’t see new people that day because you stayed indoors? Must you go out of your way to find someone NEW every day? That would be a challenge in itself. As would the risk of picking someone not interested in chatting so extensively. And, on a work day, wouldn’t your time best be applied to work than thinking of finding someone with whom to speak in depth?

    Just my two cents:)

    • What was my excuse for failure? I don’t really consider someone rejecting me failure because I still tried to start a conversation.

      I mostly search for them online and decided them based on which one scares me the most.

      Luckily, I am at a college so there are plenty of new people everyday. Yes, I think the challenge would be going out of my way to talk to someone new. I didn’t really think about talking to someone uninteresting, but its not that long of a conversation. My problem would be on the weekends when I am focused doing homework all day. Always lunch break for work, maybe?

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