Remember when you were little and your parents told you not to talk to strangers?
Well recently I have been going out of my way to forget all of that and it has paid off in interesting ways.
What prompted this?
Part of the reason I’ve been having more random conversations is that I have been taking the advice of Lindsey Pollack whose career search book I’m reading. Lindsey suggests getting speaking about your search with whoever you meet and also getting in the habit of introducing yourself more. I also had a great conversation yesterday with Jocelyn Harmon and we reflected that we are trying to have more faith in strangers. We observed that the web savvy crowd is generally less suspicious of the intentions of strangers and willing to learn and accept resources from them.
Things better and funnier than candy that I’ve gotten from talking to strangers
I had a nice conversation with a woman on the subway who is in business school. She had some good advice for me and when we got off together she gave me her card and wished me luck.
On the street in Manhattan a man dressed in a full batman costume walked by me on the street and gave me a full pat on the back as he passed by saying “Laila tov” (goodnight in Hebrew). Not something I was expecting! (ok this one’s just funny)
Meeting with Jocelyn Harmon yesterday. Jocelyn isn’t really a stranger since I have been reading her blog for a while and I read about her work on Beth Kanter’s blog, but I did call her out of the blue. I found her cell phone number posted on one of her online outposts and decided to connect. A less web oriented person might have been thrown by someone reaching out on the spur of the moment like that. Meanwhile, we had a great discussion and I really enjoyed talking with her.
Sitting in Starbucks the other evening I joined a conversation that three guys were having at a neighboring table about class and race. Turns out they are participating in a summer service internship program I had never heard of. Joel gave me his card and has since connected me with someone at a prominent DC nonprofit focused PR agency.
Traipsing around DC with a friend looking for a restaurant yesterday we were about to use google text to get directions, but then I though better of it and asked a person passing on the street if they knew the area well. DC Stranger beats Google text FTW!
Anyone else have great stories of people you’ve just up and introduced yourself to or struck up a conversation with? Have you found it as worthwhile as I have?
photo by dariuszka
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