Conversations with Strangers

Conversations with strangersForget everything you’ve heard about not talking to strangers. Okay, maybe not everything. Trust your instincts always, but from time to time the perspective a stranger can offer is exactly the view you’ve been seeking.

Conversations with Strangers

I’ve often been told my life plays out like a rom-com of the late 90’s. Truthfully, I’d love it if my role in life was anywhere near the adorable characters Meg Ryan played in You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle… I’d even settle for When Harry met Sally… but this isn’t that kind of story. No meet cute in the story I’m about to tell you. I don’t think the interactions I have are especially unique, I just think they happen because I tend to be pretty approachable in my day-to-day behavior. I smile at everyone, make direct eye contact, and use lots of pleasantries with my servers and I try to really listen when others speak. Basic manners and good human-ing, you know?  All of this typically leads to extended conversations with all kinds of interesting people and thanks to the internet I often stay in contact with them for years to come. It’s made for a very interesting life with LOTS of stories. Coming home from New York last week was no different.

I had arrived at my airport gate to discover my plane had been delayed. Sigh. Not a huge surprise when you travel frequently, you get use to plan B, and plan C, and even sometimes plan D. I’ve learned to be flexible and find that the most unexpected things are exactly what was supposed to happen.  This time my flight was not direct and I had a connection that I was a little concerned to be missing. I courteously walked up to the counter to inquire about the status. No luck. As I headed back to my seat I encountered a woman who was also traveling on my flight. She struck up a conversation and we began discussing where and why we were traveling. She was very pleasant. I was engaged immediately and thought to myself she was the type of woman I’d invite to coffee if we lived in the same city.

So, What do you do?

Then she asked the question that always trips me up in general spaces. “What do you do?” I think this question makes most of us who operate in multiple capacities hesitate. Not because we don’t know what we do but because we wear so many hats it’s not always easy to simplify. “I write”, I tell her “kind of freelance.” This is true, blogging is just kind  of hard to explain as a job.

Instead of taking the answer and moving on the woman replies,  “Do you blog? You seem like a blogger.” 

I am both flattered and taken aback. ( What exactly does blogger imply?)

I give credit to her still seeming nice and that blogger wasn’t being used derogatorily in this instance and ask her if she also blogs.  She tells me that while she isn’t a blogger herself she reads lots of them and has for years. She mentions several blogs that she has been following religiously and it was fun to hear the familiar blog names and knowing that several were people whose contact number was saved in my phone. She reminisced about when she was once introduced to one of these favorite bloggers. It was as though she was describing a meeting a celebrity. Ah, the rise of blogger to influencer…. micro-stardom.

She asked how long I had been blogging and who I followed. I recommended a few blogs I currently read on a regular basis and then the conversation got deeper.  She told me how she missed the days when she would get up in the morning, coffee in hand, open her computer to read what her favorite bloggers had done the day before. She loved following them just to know what happened from day-to-day. “They would share their favorite blogs and then you would follow their friends too. It made the world seem more connected.”

She went on to say that it was harder to find blogs like that these days and that bloggers aren’t sharing like that anymore. “Everything just looks like a magazine now”

She said she recognized it’s become a business but she missed the days of real connection.

Me too.

It made me wonder if we had forsaken our audiences for a paycheck. Had we sold out for money and impressions? Did we sell the very thing that made us special?

I told her I really appreciated her feedback and she asked for my card and said she would follow me. I hope she does. I want her to know that our connection mattered.

This conversation with a stranger is making me re-evaluate how I’m blogging today. I do think so much of it has become manufactured beautiful pictures, SEO and bigger social numbers. I wonder if we create projects to project an ideal that even we can’t fully obtain sometimes. I know I don’t want to do that for myself or for my audience. I’m not saying you won’t be seeing sponsored content from me but maybe it’s sparked a redirection to more of the way it was. It could be the best or worst thing that I’ve ever done… hopefully, y’all are along for the ride. Maybe if it’s good you’ll keep inviting your friends. More connection. More conversations with strangers.

I truly believe that the greatest thing in life is to love and be loved, to see and be seen in return.

There was once something very special about this place we created on the internet. These places where we allowed strangers see us, connect with us and we connected right back. Places where we knew we aren’t alone. They were places to connect and have the most meaningful conversations with strangers.

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Comments

  1. Good job! 🙂

  2. More connections are always a positive thing!

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