We grow up being told never take lollies from a stranger, never get in the car with a stranger and never talk to a stranger.
The meaning behind the repetitive phrases from our parents, our school teachers, and our baby sitters seem to finally kick in at about the age of 6. Before then we are still excited little kids with an endearing trust in everything and anything.
I was sitting in the park the other day with a friend and a little girl, who was about the age of 4, was running around openly absorbing the world with her eyes. She stopped, picked up a headband that was a few meters away from us, and in a surprisingly mature and unintimidated manner casually asked if it was ours. It wasn’t. Which we politely told her. She put the pink headband back down, exactly where she had found it. And walked away. No stranger-danger for her.
Sadly this ease of communicating with strangers doesn’t last.
For the next 15 years of our lives (sometimes more) we avoid ever having to talk more than mumble a few words to strangers. Whether it be in the video shop, the supermarket or to the couple asking for directions. I do understand the need to be alert – there are bad people around with unwelcome agendas – but I feel we have taken it a little far.
It takes most of us at least into our 20’s to become comfortable enough to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.
To have the confidence that not every single man in the street is a pedophile. All those years of being told the stranger is an enemy is a hard belief to destroy. To try and bring ourselves back to the same raw state that we entered the world in is tough – to that of a trusting human being.
Today I think I have shed most of my stranger-fearing scales. But it was, and still is, a conscious mission. I do see now that great things can come out of talking to new people, which I have thought about in a previous post. But today I am really encouraging the fall of stranger-danger.
This photo was taken as part of a ‘professional’ Yammer photo shoot. As you can see, we encourage people to talk to strangers which I think is awesome. I am definitely in the right place.
*This photo was also taken by the wonderful photographer Alan who happens to be @bryonycole‘s Dad – you can find out more about him over here.
For the month of March I am writing a blog post every day as part of #b03. Thanks to Steve for the challenge.
One time when I was living in France in the middle of winter, I was walking down a grand boulevard and hungrily scoffing an escargot in the way that hungry students do.. A man walking in the opposite direction cocked his beret and turned to me and said “bonsoir” as he passed me in such an economic but thoroughly charming way that an impression was made right then and there. As such I’ll always recognise the humanity (heck pets, trees and done statues too) in my vincinity esp when we’re the only folks in the space.
Great post Sar and wonderful to hear you’re working in an environment that encourages it for good! My job as an auditor means lots of talking to strangers but sadly they’re not as excited to talk to me in that context which is another reason why I started my blog 😉
Ps: I LOVE this new profile photo of yours: great shot and the lighting is beautiful! So wish I could’ve assisted Bry’s Dad on the shoot!
It is amazing how sometimes one small human interaction can have so much impact. I love that you even acknowledge statues – I am going to work on that. ‘Why hello there, you are one still statue – impressive.’
Next photo shoot we will call you up for sure 🙂
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