No wonder we have trouble knowing how to talk to strangers. As we grew up mom always told us not to talk to strangers.
There was a reason for this. It wasn’t to be mean to us or to others, but for our safety. Our society teaches us that strangers can hurt young people. As we grow up this belief stays with us, and unfortunately prevents us from meeting a lot of very good and caring people. However, there are things you can do to help when you are talking to strangers.
First, let go of those things that mom and society has taught you about strangers. Most people are good and don’t hurt other people, so let go of the idea that strangers are bad people.
Next, be prepared to be ignored by someone you don’t know if you try to talk to them. This will be easier to accept when you understand that other people have been taught the same thing you have about talking to strangers. Don’t take brush offs personally because it not about you as a person, but what they have been taught, just like you.
Keep Things Basic
When first beginning to talk to strangers keep the conversation very basic and impersonal. Talk about the weather, or about something you notice regarding your surroundings or something else that is superficial and non-threatening to talk about. It’s important to keep in mind that how you say something is much more important than what you say.
Speaking of which, if you are talking with a stranger it’s not a very good idea to use big words to try to impress them with. In fact, this is risky because you don’t even know if the person will understand what you are talking about and misjudge you as that kind of person mom taught them about. So, keep your conversation simple and very non-personal.
That’s right! Trust people. Our society has seriously damaged our trust for our fellow man by instilling in us that everyone is out to hurt us. But the reality is that there are few people, if any at all, that are out to hurt us. The best way to overcome this is take a chance and talk to strangers (in safe environments).
Build Your Trust
One way to build your trust in other people that you don’t know is to go out to a place you have never been to before and by yourself.
Now this might seem a bit of a frightening proposition, but it is the very remedy to disprove what mom taught you about strangers and build your trust in your own judgment and in people you don’t know. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t want to talk to strangers in places where there are few people around. For example, trying to talk to a stranger in a park where very few people are walking around is probably not a very good idea.
Another way to help yourself talk to strangers is to practice saying hello to every person you see while you are walking down the street or while shopping at the supermarket. And be sure to smile, at least a bit, whenever you greet someone you don’t know. Most people when they see a smile accompany a greeting will respond in kind.
The biggest thing to remember as you begin to learn how to talk to strangers is that most people are not idiots or bad. Rather, most people are pretty nice and can be trusted and would like for you to talk with them. Being able to trust others is the first step to being able to talk to strangers.