Strangers, people who we define as people who we do not even know for the better part of our lives. These strangers can include the people you order food from in a shop, to any random person waiting near you at a subway station. It is something that we associate with possibly even being dangerous as there is the term “Stranger Danger”. However, almost everyone that you talk to is technically a stranger originally, no matter how close you are to them nowadays. Even the closest friends or family members were strangers at one point, it is through communication and time spent which qualifies them as not being a stranger. In fact, I would even argue that the relationship between parents and their children started off as strangers. When you were born, they knew nothing about you or what you even looked like. As people will say, our parents only know us for a portion of their lives, but we know them for our entire lives.
For my endeavour into talking with strangers, I decided to talk and try to hold a conversation with one of the employees at The Rec Room that me and my friends visited today. The employee was working the Racing Simulators that me and my friends were playing. I decided to strike up a conversation by challenging him to a race to see if I could beat his score.
We struck up a conversation about the various racing steering wheels that we may want to buy for home use. Although it was an employee/customer relationship, I felt as if I had a genuine conversation. I ended up being close enough to where we had various interactions where we challenged him to various other games in exchange for free games.
This is a classic example of one of the arguments of the Hamblin article that “people might be described as alone together” (Hamblin, 2016). The reason why it is an example is because I could have just left the employee alone and not have talked to him at all. We could have each stayed in our own little bubble, and I could have left as soon as the interaction of using the racing simulator was done.
I also feel this in my day-to-day life, especially when taking transit since it seems as if most, if not all are stuck in a virtual bubble with zero interaction with others. Headphones are essentially the bubble that surrounds us and prevent others from starting conversations with you. Essentially, this idea of being alone together is cultivated by the cultural standpoints of the city and whether “earbud culture” is prevalent.
All in all, this is very different then interacting online with others, especially strangers. There are some “strangers” that I have gamed with online that I would consider technically my friends. However, there is nothing that beats the genuine and fast acting social aspect of building an in-person friendship from strangers. If two people click, it becomes quickly obvious and progresses as if it was a dream. Online interactions should only be used to lead to in person ones.
Hamblin, James. 2016. “How to Talk to Strangers.”