14 – Talk to 5 random strangers

This was an odd one, I didn’t really have anything lined up for week 14 so I had to improvise. How do you just walk up to strangers and start talking to them, and most importantly – where do you find them?

Everywhere, would be there easy answer. It would have been a lot easier if I was promoting something, then I could have stopped anyone on the street and started talking to them. I chose Oxford Street as my starting point and the first two things that came to my mind was Starbucks and those after-work pubs where people just stand around in the streets looking surprisingly happy. As I was looking around in these places and people were either in their own groups or they were doing their own thing on a laptop or on a phone.

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Personally, I would be a little annoyed if someone bothers me in the middle of doing something, especially when it is obvious that I am busy, therefore I did not want to disturb anyone. It was so awkward but I just went for it, the worst thing that can happen is that they will look at you like you’re a freak, or just tell you to get out of their faces. In total I spoke to 2 girls and 3 guys.

1 – The 1st one was a girl in the queue of Starbucks while getting my tea, scheming who my next victim will be. I started the conversation with a comment on how long the queue was. She looked a bit tired so I asked if she had long day at work. I could tell from her face that she was thinking, why is this girl talking to me but I kept going for the sake of it. Guess what, she works in finance, no wonder she looked like a zombie because that’s how I feel when I finish work. The conversation lasted for as long as the queue did, so just a few minutes and she didn’t look impressed but it still counts.

2 – The 2nd one was a guy sitting down with a Macbook also looking pretty tired. Why are we this grumpy and anti-social!? It gets me thinking of the whole reason why I started this blog in the first place. The guy was doing some video editing and had taken a break, looking around huffing and puffing. I took that second when he turned his head in my direction to drop in a comment that whatever he was doing looked complex! That conversation was actually pretty interesting because I am a fan of anything media and he works in advertising. He turned out to be very friendly and the conversation lasted for about 10 minutes until I looked at the time and said “Oh! I have to meet my friend now, it was nice talking to you.” – on to the next one.

3,4, 5 – I found a group of 3 standing outside of a pub looking cheery – Yes! Happy people! It must be goose that got them feeling loose. I went up and asked for the time, pretending that I am waiting for someone. They actually asked me how my day was and I have to admit, I dropped my blog in the conversation because I really wanted to hear what other people had on their bucket list as I was clearly lacking inspiration that week. One thing they all agreed on was to travel the world – I’m working on it! The other interesting thing that one of them said was to “live life to the fullest without caring what anybody else thinks”. It sounds so simple yet how many people can actually say that they live by it?

Here are my top 3 tips on speaking to strangers:
* Observe your surroundings – maybe do what the Brits do best and talk about the weather. What about that long queue at the coffee shop, that damn bus that is always late or that stinky smell in the air?
* Catch them in a right moment – lurk, lurk, lurk and make eye contact. The worst thing would be to interrupt a conversation or something that they are doing.
* Be approachable – smile, smile, smile and you are good to go!
Or just put the Will Smith swag on and hope you don’t get slapped in the face, like: Yo baby, I know your feet must be tired because you’ve been running through my mind all day!

Ideas on where meet people when you are by yourself would be museums, galleries, markets and random classes (there are plenty of free ones in London and www.meetup.com is a good start). Going into a bar alone would be more difficult, especially for a girl I guess, but I will leave that for another time.

I love networking and meeting interesting people, this is something that should be done more often! : )

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2 Comments

  1. April 18, 2014 / 10:58 pm

    Hi there!
    Thanks for following. I’m a happy camper now you are joining me as I trip around by RV, plane, car and time machine to the past.
    Comments, compliments, critiques and wisecracks are most welcome.
    We are currently in Arizona in the USA. We talk to strangers all the time here. It’s almost expected! as people as so friendly.
    You have a great blog. “See” you again soon.
    Which Way Now 101 aka Carol

  2. June 22, 2014 / 9:23 pm

    Awesome project! I can see why this is especially tricky in London – I know first hand how it feels! Most people don’t want to talk to anyone, let alone make eye contact!

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