Strangers

Yesterday I had the lovely fortune of speaking via phone with another blogger I met via the April A to Z Challenge. We shared our career stories and swapped thoughts on blogging, writing, life, and a bit of politics.

We’ve also welcomed into our home this weekend, a young classmate of our daughter who needed a place to stay for a few days between a trip to New York and a summer program in Indiana. She’s been a pleasant guest and an enjoyable visitor.

I’ve been struck, once again, by how quickly strangers can become friends.

We teach our children: don’t talk to strangers. We protect ourselves. We avoid ‘the other.’ Don’t talk to strangers. Yet, each acquaintance, every friend, even our best friend, was once a stranger.

Strangers move in and out of our lives.

Some quickly, with intense impact; others lingering, through the ebb and flow of a given moment; still others remaining for the long haul.

No matter how long they stay, or how intense the encounter, each one-time stranger has potential to change who we are.

Rather than avoid every stranger, should we not welcome the stranger and teach our children the stranger may be an angel unaware, that we must listen to our truth, learn to trust our intuition, protect and respect our dignity and the dignity of the other.

And perhaps sometimes we should talk to strangers.

Do you talk to strangers? Has a stranger recently had an impact on your life? 

You are welcome to join the conversation…

6 comments

  1. Hi Janet, excellent call – of course friends were once strangers to us . I am reminded often of the story about the young woman preparing the feast for the master who is coming to dinner and some scruff turns up and how inconvenient but she does the right thing and feeds the scruffy person only for it to be revealed that it was the master in disguise.
    I am generally quite happy to chat with strangers if I get a bad vibe I remove myself . I am trusting into this medium now forming connections and baring my soul with my writing and I have to trust in this process ,use my intuition and have faith in the overall goodness of people.
    it is important not to let the ‘bad stuff’ overwhelm and limit us from making loving connections…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I totally agree that it is important to not let the ‘bad stuff’ overwhelm us — and to trust our intuition. I’ve never been one to not chat with strangers or fear meeting new people. I am finding that as I’ve transitioned away from a life directed by work and children’s schedules, that my social circles have become smaller and that the opportunities for strangers to become friends as lessened. I, too, am trusting this process of blogging as a means to make connections not based on ballgames and music lessons…but perhaps more meaningful connections.

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  2. Hi Janet.
    I think that ‘stranger’ is a short-lived term. After just a few minutes of conversation, a stranger can turn into an acquaintance and sometimes a friend.

    Like you, and like Sandra, I am keen to welcome strangers. I’d say that this feeling has grown as I’ve aged, not diminished. With all of the horrible things that are happening in the world, it feels even more important to, as Sandra says, “have faith in the overall goodness of people.”

    So, although you won’t see me approaching some guy in a isolated area in the dark and striking up a conversation, I mostly look forward to the ways in which strangers enrich my life and, when things are right, become my friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen – believe it or not, in the safety of my habit I often approached ‘some guy’ in less than desirable situations – mostly to assist in some way. But as I raised my children, my energies shifted and I seldom risk my life for others (except my children) anymore. I think one of the most difficult things as a parent is to help my children find that balance between being open to strangers, trusting their intuition, and knowing when to walk — or run — far away.

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  3. I have had this same experience, both online and off. But, ‘stranger danger’ is still critical for kids who don’t have the wealth of experience adults do. Of course, how do you explain to kids why it’s OK if mom does this but you can’t!

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    • Yeah Jacqui – I find it very difficult walking the thin line between helping my kids be cautious and not too afraid. I think it is important to help them articulate their sixth sense of people and to learn to trust their gut.

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