Talking to Strangers

An empty blue bench in a park.

When I was a kid my parents used to joke that I had no sense of stranger danger and honestly, I’d likely be the one to obliviously strike up a conversation with the “I have candy in my van” guy… That said, as I got older, I stopped jumping at the chance to talk to people. So this assignment gave me the push to reconnect with that old side of myself. But before I could start a conversation, a stranger actually asked me the first question: What are you reading?

It was an older woman named Elsie. She’s 97!! We talked about books, family and she gave me some great life advice. We definitely didn’t talk like we were strangers – it was like catching up with a friend :-). I learned a lot from that conversation. Like how to make raisin bread & that “it’s okay to be sad sometimes” because ups and downs are a normal part of life. Elsie moved to Vancouver over 65 years ago from a small town in Europe (I forget where exactly). She kept mentioning how incredible Vancouver is and I agreed. Two strangers just happy to live in such a great place.

What constitutes a stranger? I honestly don’t know. I’d say in-person conversations are way more meaningful than any online interaction but that’s just my opinion. Whether it’s with someone you just met or an old friend, in-person conversations offer so much more value, richness, and connection! I’m grateful for my interaction with Elsie and I seriously consider her a friend now. I’ll catch up with her next time I see her on a walk.

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