I recently had a very heartwarming experience with a stranger that led to a very saddening realization of how distant we are from everyone these days. I was browsing some clothing in a store when a guy a few years older than me stood nearby, also looking at the clothing in front of me. Rather than pretend I wasn’t there and continue shopping, like most people do nowadays, he began to make casual conversation and introduced himself as Brandon, a native to the Houston area. He and I spoke about the current situation of the pandemic and how it’s affected our schooling and daily life, and although the conversation didn’t last more than a few minutes, I felt more connected to this random guy than I do to many people in my own community just down the street. Maybe it’s my fault for “not bothering” to talk to people when I’m going around town, or maybe if I tried nobody would stop to listen and carry on a conversation anyway, but thinking back on my encounter with Brandon, I realized how sad it is that a casual conversation between two strangers has become so uncommon.
Of course not everyone is quiet and reserved, for example, my dad is very charismatic and conversational and can’t help but spark conversation with both people he knows or doesn’t. Anytime we go out somewhere it seems he always finds someone familiar, and on the rare occasion he doesn’t, he becomes acquainted with someone new. Maybe it helps that he isn’t easily embarrassed and feels comfortable being himself (even if not everybody finds his jokes as funny as he does, haha no offense dad), but it’s a trait that I wish I had more of.
It’s nice to feel noticed and be greeted by someone at the grocery store or at the doctor’s office. As insignificant as it may seem, small gestures like these can make a great difference and improve a person’s attitude and hopefully encourage them to pass it on. I’d like to try (and encourage you) to be more conversational towards others, even if it’s a simple hello or compliment as you pass by, and hopefully leave as good an impression as Brandon did on me.