What you think about, you bring about. If you think most people are mean, selfish, and out to get you, then that is the kind of people you will be looking for and find. However, if you think most people are kind, helpful and want the same things from life that you want, that is the type of people you will run into and meet daily. There are bad people, but they are a small minority, and the chance of connecting with them is rare. There are so many more good people in the world who mean us no harm and may be in a position to help us or someone we love.

We are all more alike than different. Everyone, no matter what the circumstances of life, wants joy, security, food, warmth, shelter and hope for the future. When we speak to others and acknowledge their existence, we give a gift of validation. We are saying in both verbal and non-verbal ways; “I see you and recognize a fellow traveler on this journey.”

Think hard, have you ever had someone get mad at you for saying hello or smiling? Of course not and yet many people are so fear based that they anticipate rejection. They assume that others will not welcome a kind word or greeting. Think hard again, have you ever gotten angry at someone smiling or making conversation when your paths crossed? Hasn’t a random compliment or friendly greeting boosted your mood or made your day happier?

Just making eye contact, smiling or making a comment on the weather is all we need to do to open a conversation. A casual dialog doesn’t necessarily lead to friendship or networking, but it might.

In my own experience, it has amazed me how narrow that six degrees of separation really is. By remarking on the paint splattered pants of the fellow in line at the post office, I learned the name of a wonderful contractor. Asking exiting restaurant patrons what they had ordered and how they liked it has helped save us from dry tuna and into delicious chicken Alfredo.

Not only is it okay to engage in conversations with strangers, it is the only way we enlarge the edges of our community. We all need to step out of our safe comfort zone of fear or reluctance and into the realm of “No more strangers, only friends waiting to meet us.”

The world is abundant with good people and you are one of them. So smile and make small talk with someone new today. You will both be glad you did.

Should You Talk to Strangers?