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How good are you at striking up conversation with a stranger? Do you allow your prejudices and assumptions prevent you saying even hello let alone being able to allow others differing opinions or do you simply hubristically block to protect your ego, time, patience or anger?
A recent study comes up with some surprising conclusions:

[curiosity.com]

By FrayedBear9
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41 comments

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6

I actually talk to strangers often, much to the embarrassment of my daughters.

6

I am an extroverted introvert or vice-versa.I live alone and I like being alone. The only people who come to my house are my relatives and one person whom I consider a friend, and he comes infrequently. This is how I choose to live.

However, I have many casual acquaintances and I talk extensively to strangers. My son once asked me, "Do you HAVE to talk to everyone you meet?" No, and it is not everyone, just quite a few. Most of the people with whom I initiate conversations talk back. Some ignore me, but I do not take it personally. I do not like to engage for long with most of them because, in reality, I find most people boring, but they seldom find me boring.

In part, talking to strangers satisfies my human need for contact. It suits me in that I do not have to follow up with later contact. People like to tell things to me and at times, I know that my words mean something on a dreary day--or I offer an impartial shoulder to lean on for five or ten minutes. I am fairly misanthropic, but paradoxically, empathetic and caring.

Go figure.

That sounds so much like me.

@jlynn37 Have you ever taken the Myer-Briggs personality test? I am an ENFJ, but am just about in the middle for all of them. The E/I is about 52/48; hence, an introverted extrovert.

@Gwendolyn2018 No.

@jlynn37 It is an interesting test and is available online.

@Gwendolyn2018 Thank you.

No one can give you the love that you will give to yourself and you will not grope your own crutch?

@FrayedBear I do not understand your question.

@Gwendolyn2018 Simply adding to your profile comment about gropers with a possible suggestion.

@Gwendolyn2018 I now assume that your remark is primarily caused by 45's admission that he did. I recall 40+ years ago being horrified by the great novelist Isaac Asimov stating that he "goosed" women's backsides.

5

I am good at talking to strangers. People find me easy to talk to, and frequently overshare. I think I have a broad base of general knowledge and find chit chat easy. After doing that for a while I need to slip back into my solitude and recharge.

That sounds like it came from my own mouth. I think we're related somehow. smile001.gif

@Anne209 Sistahs from another mother.

4

Talking to strangers is fun, and can be very rewarding. If the stranger is unwilling, I shrug if off - their problem, not mine.

Byrdsfan Level 8 Sep 19, 2018
4

I'm lucky, because I'm an extroverted Australian living in England. It means I can ignore many of the rather stuffy local conventions, and people don't think I'm mad, just antipodean.

Best of all worlds - apart from the b.cold and wet!

4

I seem to attract people who want to tell me all about their lives. Simple eye contact, a smile, they start taking. So no problem, really.

zeuser Level 8 Sep 18, 2018

Same here.

The dis- or advantage of a patriarchal elder's beard?

@Gwendolyn2018 it's your amazing long hair.

@FrayedBear The hair does seem to appeal to people!

4

I talk to everyone, all of the time. My girl and I are the ones walking through target like "I love those shoes" "where'd you get that shirt?" "That smells good, you should get it" "who dey!" "Do you think and 8yo boy would like this or that better?" "Your smile is so pretty!"

This is why the boys won't go shopping with us. But, we meet so many nice people!

Minta79 Level 7 Sep 18, 2018

People consistently laugh at me and my sister when we shop together. It is isn't as if we deliberately try to attract attention, but we do.

@Gwendolyn2018 With that gorgeous hair and slim figure of yours you know that you cannot help but elicit attention from others. But why laughter, yours is not a face that invites others to laugh at it?

@FrayedBear Well, I am not slim (average weight), but the hair definitely elicits attention. People laugh at my sister and me because of the way we talk to each other, not because of how we look. We banter and say "sisterly" things to each other. People often say, "You two have to be sisters!" and relate to our bond.

4

I have absolutely no issues in meeting and talking to strangers. One of the activities I enjoy doing while camping, is walking the campground and talking to campers and getting a bit of their stories. I will introduce myself to a strange woman to see if she might be receptive to getting acquainted, and it is about 50/50.

jlynn37 Level 8 Sep 18, 2018
4

It's not been a problem and I enjoy these encounters greatly.

JSchaper Level 6 Sep 18, 2018
4

I’m somewhat of an introvert bit I have a public service background too. I know it’s complicated. I will greet people and make eye contact but don’t engage much beyond that.

The lethargy from memory of prior hurts?

@FrayedBear no

3

Hell, I talk to about anybody & everybody. The supermarket, waiting rooms, waiting for a light to change,...you never know when a conversation will teach you something or find you a new friend! I just a few hours ago had a half-hour conversation with two JW's on my front porch! I didn't get aggressive or insulting, tho I did state my case. Right from the get I said I was an active atheist that had read the bible! I listened as much as I spoke (as hard as that might be to believe!!!). I always want to leave folks with a smile rather than a frown, even if my chronic pain is raging, I know it's not their fault! I will never write the 'Great American Novel', or achieve world peace, but I can leave folks feeling a little better when I depart (no smarmy comments to that, please, LOL!) I tease & talk with all the staff at my local supermarket all the time, & even if they weren't before, they are usually smiling after we interact. My little contribution to try & make the world a better place! Better than nothing, anyway!

3

Having moved a lot when I was younger I learned to make myself be outgoing. My wife and I just finished up traveling around the United States for 4 years and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people at every stop along the way. No matter where we traveled we found that most people have the same hopes and desires.

Alphajoe Level 2 Sep 20, 2018

Desire to dominate the rest of the world and have it as your slaves and providers?

@FrayedBear I think the deilsire you speak of is wished for by only a very few %. Most of us just want to be happy, safe, and be surrounded by friends and family.

Have you watched the news clip from Israel about Israel going to DEFCON3?Israel on Defcon3?

- Agnostic.com [agnostic.com]
3

I'm terrible at it because I'm really awkward. I always end up saying stupid shit. So usually I don't even try because I'd rather spare everyone else the embarrassment.

Like I suggested below and got stomped on have you tried Toastmasters? They can be very good at continuing your learning. Practice makes perfect - perhaps you also need to know that the person who doesn't make mistakes and talk shit at some time has not yet been born. I remember my first day behind a broadcasting microphone - it was fortunate that I wasn't wearing shorts otherwise the noise of my knocking knees would have been broadcast throughout the land! ?

3

I have never had a problem talking to almost anyone.

Sticks48 Level 9 Sep 19, 2018

The boy can shout at the Emperor "you've got no bloody clothes on" take on life? Seemingly these days there are many who simply block you.

@FrayedBear While l find humanity extremely disappointing, l do enjoy talking with individuals. I seem to have a curiosity about people.

@Sticks48 As my bro said "the day that you stop learning is the day that you are dead". He stopped learning 20 years ago this month when he was hit head on whilst riding his motorbike on his birthday weekend by an inexperienced motorcyclist wearing an illegal black masked look good helmet on the wrong side of the road on a blind corner.

@FrayedBear So sorry to hear that. Of all the emotions, grief is by far the worst for me. Everything else pales in comparison.

@Sticks48 Strangely my bro was the only one out of my family that I briefly grieved. We were like cat and dog for nearly 50 years and so had business that will never be accomplished now.
I guess my motto is "live the day and do not grieve if tomorrow does not arrive - just try and make sure that your bucket list with each person is fully ticked off."

@FrayedBear Sounds good to me. ☺

3

I live in Kansas. It's perfectly normal to strike up a conversation with a total stranger here. Everybody does it.

Even Dorothy ... or did she start the habit?

@FrayedBear I don't know if Dorothy started it or not but you can go to Liberal and chat with the Dorothies, they have several.

@sewchick57 Liberal is a town in USA.

@FrayedBear Yes. Liberal is a small town in Kansas and it's where the Wizard of Oz museum is and they have at least 6 Dorothys every year.

3

I have started many conversations with strangers who do, wear, say things that attract my attention. So far it has been a positive experience........

3

I can talk about anything to anybody. It's one of the few things I really like about myself even when I'm feeling down.

Hordo Level 6 Sep 18, 2018

Because it lifts you up? Perhaps you should do it more often - make a friend a day.

3

i am fabulous at striking up conversations with strangers. i do it whenever possible. my guy is shy and is just amazed how i used to talk to people on buses (i don't ride public buses anymore) or how, at a social gathering, i just start talking to just anyone. i don't make more than than the usual assumptions (like that the other party is alive, if i see breathing and eye movement) or prejudices (i would probably not strike up a conversation with someone wearing a swastika armband).

g

genessa Level 8 Sep 18, 2018

I have an old friend like that. He would and did talk to anyone on the 4 hour daily train commute. None are friends. 25 years in a singles club and I don't think that he has any friends that last more than a few years. He is travelled, intelligent to a point, sensible, football mad and drinks. After 76 years, the last 40 mainly lived without a woman and yet he is still out there in the herd looking for one.

@FrayedBear i'm not friends with anyone i have met on a bus where i currently live, not solely because i no longer ride public transportation. when i lived in los angeles, i made friends on the bus, since we turned out also to be neighbors. but i do not have your friend's problem at any rate. i live with my guy; we've been together for 18 years. i don't drink. (i hate football too.) i've never belonged to a singles club. i always enjoyed being single. now i enjoy being half of a couple. i don't think your friend's trouble stem from his ability to chat easily with strangers. one doesn't do that with the expectation of their becoming friends. one does that to be friendly (which is different) and to make the ride, or the gathering, or whatever, pleasant, and also because chatting with others can be, in and of itself, pleasant.

g

@genessa indubitably and particularly when a 4-hour commute is calling. I'm not sure that my friend, who I haven't seen for ten years but we talk about every 3 months, actually has a problem. He simply makes out that he has a problem.
Long ago I read that historically one third of the population never marry or have children. If still true a fascinating fact.

@FrayedBear i never had children because i didn't, and don't, want them. i never married because when i was young there appeared to be one framework for marriage, which seemed to me to be the equivalent of prostitution, and i wanted no part of it. my relationship with my guy is not like that. we may as well be married, but we're old and sick and poor, and marriage would actually result in our losing the meager benefits that keep us alive. we may get around to it if we survive, but it surely won't be for the purpose of having children.

g

@genessa you make some laudatory points particularly about children, prostitution and elder abuse through discriminatory law.
I have just had a quick read of your profile and it makes the remark above of not talking to swastika-bearing people all the more intriguing. I think that I probably still favour the Pol Pot method of conversation with intellectuals when it comes to swastika wearing people. Thank you for your replies and good luck with the biography

@FrayedBear thank you kindly. i am rewriting a portion of it because alas that portion was begun before i owned a computer that actually had a hard drive. it operated on a system that, if it were a car, would be the equivalent of one with square wheels. it's gone. pffft, gone! meanwhile i've lived more than another third of my then-lifetime, so the is more bio to graph. i might never catch up! (i wonder if that would contribute to literal immortality or only literary immortality?)

g

@genessa I remember the days of 5" and 3.5" floppies and a 40-megabyte hard drive was pure luxury! A friend recently told that Window latest version does not recognise the old drives. How true that is I don't know.

@genessa It all depends if current events are germane to the story and shed new light into your biography.

2

I am always a little timid to approach people at social gatherings if I haven't met them before. Especially if it is an entirely new group of people. As someone who has funky hair and lots of visible tattoos, I seem to make some people uncomfortable. There is one notiable time where I was speaking to a group of my peers about a project I was working on regarding ectoparasites. Someone joined the conversation, and kept cutting me off when ever I would try to answer a question about the subject. They hadn't realized I had brought up the topic, and proceeded to tell me after cutting me off a forth time, that no one cared for the opinion of a young woman with purple hair. They were absolutely not kidding.

Rude.

I hope you told the effing prat you had more right to express yourself as you raised the subject and that the colour of your hair has nothing to do with your opinion. Effing prat!

How old was he?

@FrayedBear I absolutely put the guy in his place. He was probably 50/55. Unfortunately it happens more often than not, but it takes all kinds. There is nothing like being a little different to make middle aged men lose their minds. ?

@VashtaNerada The only problem that I have with purple hair is when it is menapausal purple on some batty middle age woman!

@FrayedBear I will likely have purple hair when I'm menopausal, lol. There is also the distinct possibility it could be blue or red. It is funny though, that purple hair has become to middle aged women, what sports cars are to middle aged men. I'm all for what ever makes your heart happy, as long as people stop being mean lol.

@VashtaNerada lol. Q. What's the difference between a clown and a Menopausal man wearing golfing trousers?
A. The clown knows that he is wearing funny pants.

2

I fairly often strike up conversations with strangers and it sometimes surprises me to see how eager most people are to talk. I don't mind saying that I usually stay away from controversial topics like politics or religion (or lack there of). I find that most people seem very happy to engage is some conversation. A small number of people just keep it to a few words, some will want to keep the conversation going and others are happy with a short conversation but almost everybody engages at some level. It is also interesting to see stranger's face's light up and it is clear they appreciate that someone "broke the ice". I think it's great but not a great time to get on a "soap box".

OCJoe Level 6 Sep 19, 2018

We are herd animals.

2

I'm pretty social, so I find it easy to talk to people about just about anything. I would like to think I have the good sense to "read" the person I'm about to talk to to make sure they want to talk.

2

I've always seen strangers as friends I haven't met yet. After the first encounter, the picture is developed and the details emerge. Before that time, they are merely unknown friends.

2

For someone who has social anxiety and who doesn’t like people, I tend to end up talking to total strangers for hours and hours with no problem. I think it’s more crowds I have trouble with.

graceylou Level 8 Sep 18, 2018

I end up talking too much. But mostly because I am so nervous. I wish I could just shut up sometimes.

@Ubergooroo I actually enjoy the chats. And we would cover tons of different topics. Before I know it three hours have passed.

@graceylou & @Ubergooroo have you tried Toastmasters. They teach and allow you to practice honing the skills you already have to improve them to high levels of desirability.

@FrayedBear I’m not sure why I would need it since I don’t want to talk to people most of the time. As for public speaking, I’ve taught university classes and given lectures. In high school I competed in public speaking competitions....in French. I don’t have a problem talking to people; I just don’t want to.

@graceylou Sad that you have no desire. You have so much to offer.

@FrayedBear Well, I work with dogs and I talk to them a lot.

I tend to get frustrated with people being idiots. Or being too normal. I would rather not to be around them.

2

I’m a very private person. Also, speaking from the point of view of a person with very high levels of social anxiety I avoid eye contact let alone conversation with strangers. It has absolutely nothing to do with prejudice by any means. Except that most people are generally awful ?

Sbaren00 Level 4 Sep 18, 2018
2

I am not good at all at starting a conversation, but once I get going it's hard to get me to stop?

Proving the research?

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