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To talk to strangers

(39 Posts)
granoffour Thu 01-Mar-18 12:46:03

I'm always starting conversations with random people I come into contact with. I think everyone has a story and its just boring to go through life not making contact with human beings. We all have so much to offer. I've made a lifelong friend this way. Met her in a supermarket and we ended up going for coffee and have been friends ever since (25 years now). I met a woman in a coffee shop once who did Pilates lessons so now I go to her classes and I feel like a new woman. I find out about so many new things by just chatting. And listening. My daughter on the other hand finds it acutely embarrassing and squirms when I start talking to someone when I'm on the bus or out and about with her and the grandkids. How about you? Have any interesting connections come up in your life as a result of a random conversation with a stranger?

janeainsworth Thu 01-Mar-18 13:49:46

I can’t find it now granoffour but I read an article recently that said the main predictor for longevity was social interaction - not with your nearest and dearest, but random strangers you happen to come into contact with.
So you’ll probably live to be 100. grin

Tippy22 Thu 01-Mar-18 14:13:40

I have fairly recently moved to my present home and have met so many people on bus journeys or walks by the sea and have heard so many interesting stories from what they did in the war to meeting royalty and actors, people telling me about their volunteering work so on and so on. My life seems quite boring in comparison but they seem just as happy to talk to me.

MissAdventure Thu 01-Mar-18 14:19:52

I meet all kinds of people when I'm out an about.
A lady on the bus a while back seemed determined to talk to me, and I wasn't really in the mood for a chat.
I gave in, and was so glad I did.
She told me she had just lost her husband (although it was almost a year ago, it obviously felt very raw for her) and she must have just wanted someone to listen to her.
We had a long chat, talked about her maybe joining some kind of group so she could socialise again, and whether she may at some time want to meet another man.
She didn't, and told me in hilarious detail how revolting she found the idea of of seeing 'an old bloke' in all his glory.
smile it cheered us both up, and I didn't even get time to tell her my worries.

Notagranyet12 Thu 01-Mar-18 14:56:45

Yes, I'm a bit like, I like to talk and help people if I see them struggling too because one day I'd like to think that someone might do the same for me. I've met a lady recently, walking the dog and we've become friends and meet most mornings but that just started as a random "Hello" to a stranger. Sometimes I wish I didn't always seek out conversation though because not everyone is interested and then it can make you feel a bit daft but most of the time people are quite nice. The worst thing is if you say hello to someone, and they look like right through you, that's not nice at all. I feel sorry for them that they can't even be polite, must lead sad and miserable lives.

Eloethan Thu 01-Mar-18 15:55:44

I don't usually initiate conversations but if someone makes a comment and looks like they would like a chat I rather enjoy talking to them.

FlorenceN Thu 01-Mar-18 15:56:57

Get on any bus in Glasgow and you'll always end up having a blether with someone!

NanaandGrampy Thu 01-Mar-18 15:59:10

Ill talk to anyone but Grampy is King of making friends !! Whether its walking the dog, popping to the post box or going to the supermarket , inevitably he meets someone and they start talking.

vampirequeen Thu 01-Mar-18 16:26:46

I talk to strangers all the time. Other people are interesting and you never know that might be the only social interaction they have all day.

BlueBelle Thu 01-Mar-18 16:45:03

I m afraid I do it all the time bus, train, shop queues etc My grandkids are horrified and find me so embarrassing They ll say who’s that I say I don’t know and then theyre like whaaaat

granoffour Thu 01-Mar-18 16:45:36

Oh, that's good news JaneAinsworth! Er...I think...??
And MissAdventure, that is EXaCTLY what I mean. You hear such funny, interesting, and surprising stories from people you'd never expect it from. With loneliness being such a problem in this country, I think a little natter with people while you're about your everyday business is a great step to keeping us all connected. You may have caught her at a very vulnerable time.

MissAdventure Thu 01-Mar-18 16:50:49

I remember one ex complaining about women wanting to know all about total strangers, and I denied it was true.
We were out and he popped off to get a drink.
When he came back I said "Oh, could you not sit there, because Julie (a stranger a few minutes before) has just had an op on her bum after suffering for years and she needs to sit there, to be close to the toilet".

FlorenceN Thu 01-Mar-18 16:54:56

Julie wasn't holding back...!

grannyactivist Thu 01-Mar-18 16:57:44

My family say that I have an 'aura' that invites strangers to talk to me and one day about thirty years ago I decided it must be true. I was walking down Kingsway in Manchester, a huge long road and quite busy with people, when a woman approached me from the opposite direction and after bypassing several other people came up to me and asked if I would mind if she just talked to me. She was very lonely and I had plenty of time, so we stood and she chatted for about forty minutes in the street before she felt better - and then off she went. Just before she left me she said that she could 'see' a sort of haze around me and knew I would be the one to talk to - I'd more or less forgotten about it until reading this just now.

Grandmarnia Thu 01-Mar-18 23:26:21

@grannyactivist that is lovely

Grandmarnia Thu 01-Mar-18 23:30:23

I will often speak to strangers and it does brighten my day and I hope theirs too.
I spoke to a young girl in the nail salon today, and she was telling me all about her day; nothing special but very pleasant and I agree with @janeainsworth in that the social interaction is the key

Elrel Fri 02-Mar-18 00:25:29

Lovely chats on buses every time I go out!

Grannyknot Fri 02-Mar-18 07:29:44

I have a wonderful friend, in his 80s, who says What would life be without the pleasure of chance encounters? He is such a lovely, gentle, interesting man, always ready with a smile. People like talking to him.

Jane10 Fri 02-Mar-18 09:43:41

Ooh yes. Me too. I often have lovely chats with random people. I've made friends that way too. Sadly, if I have a conversation with someone on the bus I'm sometimes left wondering how they got on with a particular situation but I never see them again!

nannychris1 Fri 02-Mar-18 10:09:38

I talk to anyone, which is exactly what we all do on GN. My DH has learnt the advantage of striking up conversations with random people after suffering a mental breakdown that left him very isolated for a couple of years. It is becoming the byword of doctors and other health professionals to help us maintain healthy minds.

BBbevan Fri 02-Mar-18 10:11:00

A lady in Tesco the other day had a large trolley filled to overflowing with Easter eggs. She smiled when she saw me looking, and said "No, I haven't got a lot of children, I work at a care home" She went on to say that residents and staff all get an egg. But that some of the residents are very ungrateful and there is much back biting and arguing about who has the largest egg.
Made me think though

Fennel Fri 02-Mar-18 10:23:50

I love meeting new people and talking to them. Husband teases me - so how many children has she got? What is she cooking for dinner? etc.
He's fairly sociable too.
After living out in the wilds for the last 15 years it's a treat to have so many people to talk to.

Gillcro Fri 02-Mar-18 16:08:42

I love talking to strangers on bus, train, out walking , my gd once said to me do you know everyone. I just explained no I don't know everyone but I'm interested in people and sometimes I may be the only person they talk to that day. Although we make it clear she mustn't talk to anyone she doesn't know unless she has an adult with her.

Maggiemaybe Fri 02-Mar-18 17:00:39

I wonder if it's an age thing? I used to be forever hanging around impatiently waiting for my DM to finish exchanging life stories with perfect strangers, and now I'm just the same. smile DH has asked me many a time how I know the check-out operator I've just been chatting with, and it's always someone I've met for the first time. People are interesting, and we'd miss out on so much if we didn't find out their stories.

varian Fri 02-Mar-18 17:22:55

I remember about fifty five years ago I was on a train from Glasgow to London and sitting opposite me was a man in his forties who told me that he was a clergyman who had lost his faith.

I got the impression it was something he hadn't spoken about to any of the people who mattered in his life.

We talked for a long time. I could not possibly have offered any advice. I was very young and had little knowledge or understanding of his predicament. I just listened for most of the time and occasionally asked a question. I've always wondered what he decided to do.