Talking To Strangers by Evan Kongvold

Originally posted to Generation Viewpoint on January 28th, 2016

Have you ever went up to someone and started talking to them? For most of us the answer is probably no. We get scared to talk to them, but why? We are all just people so why are we scared? The fear of the unknown is a common topic and holds people back more often than not.

I was recently in Starbucks working on school on my laptop minding my own business, when an older gentleman came and sat down across from me. I looked up from my screen and he introduced himself and I introduced myself back. I was confused why he sat down at my table when there were plenty of tables empty for him to sit at. I went back to work and he asked what I was up to. I told him very shortly that I was doing school slightly hoping he would get a hint to go sit somewhere else and not bother me. He didn't get the hint and asked how I was doing school in Starbucks. I told him that I did cyber school and told him how it all worked for me to be able to do school where ever I wanted.

I was astonished that he was comfortable with just going up to someone he has never met before and asked questions about stuff that he didn't need to know. I have gone up to someone I never spoke to and started conversations maybe 3 times in my entire life and I crapped my pants every time I did.

He then sat back and started to read a book he brought and I asked him what book it was and it was a story on a historical battle in some war. He told me about it and all of it went over my head because everything he was saying sounded like something a history professor would say. At that point I was extremely comfortable with him sitting across from me with his tall coffee and book, because I had a small connection with him.

I feel as though the newer generations are losing that kind of courage, including me, and it's hurting us. It's not physically hurting but I feel as though our daily routine could be a lot more enjoyable with more human interaction.

I come to Starbucks, on average 3 days a week. I get here around 9 or 10 in the morning and I'm here until around 2 or 4. I'm here longer than most of the employees and I still don't know any of their names and they don't know mine. The most they know about me is that I drink up to 4 cups of tea per visit and what tea I always get. It silly but I'm scared to have a conversation with them.

I want to challenge everyone to talk to someone you don't know. Even if it's a simple, "How's your day going" to the cashier while they are checking you out. Who knows, maybe you could meet your best friend or spouse by just saying "Hey."

Evan