The Strangeness of “Hello”

We all think about saying hello to strangers, however most of us never do. This article depicts the consequences of conversation and the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

People live full lives that are unique in many ways. They have different friends and familial experiences, hobbies and interests that are personally stimulating – things in this world that they deem important. Most of us want to find others who think similarly to ourselves; mainly because we can relate and share our thoughts with someone who is likely interested.

On the other hand, one of the greatest joys about meeting new people is not delving into similar interests, but observing and inquiring about a mindset totally foreign to your own.

It is so interesting to have a conversation with someone who views the world through a different lens. They could have had a very similar life to you – attended school, been exposed to the same technology, traveled, lived in a community – yet their perception and lessons learned from their experiences are completely different than your own.

Saying hello can lead to new insights, connections and perspectives. This activity, conversing with those you don’t know, can expose you to ways of thinking you previously did not understand or acknowledge. This is the greatest opportunity for learning. Not only do you get to discuss something familiar to you, but you are able to widen the scope of your understanding. It’s eye opening to discover alternative perspectives because it forces you to analyze your own paradigm of thinking. This is the beauty of conversation; as an individual, you have things you would like to talk about, however the natural overlaps between two people guide the interaction. Not only do you learn, but you also teach, since the information and perspective exchange is reciprocal.

Often times, engaging with others is an exhausting exercise. For two people who have little overlap, topic areas of mutual interest are difficult to uncover. Generally people think the same way; conversation is plausible, but it takes a catalyst. Most people don’t feel comfortable assuming that role. However, they are not opposed to being part of catalysis – meaning they’re willing to engage in conversation – they just don’t want to initiate the engagement. While this is true about many instances in life, we all experiences moments in which we have no desire to speak to others; we simply want to be alone with our thoughts.

What do I suggest to you? Don’t force anything.

Your experiences will naturally create a bridge between you and those you do not know. While this is the case, you should approach interactions with curiosity, rather than indifference. Whether you assume the catalyst role or not, it is up to you to meet the other person halfway and be open to whatever it is you find in the middle.

Because if you do say hello, only time will tell what there is to be learned and where your mind will end up.

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