Walking Stories

|| CENTRAL STATION || Here is a place where everyday people walk by each other & get on trains with them spending an extended amount of time sitting down next to them; and yet the only thing that happens is silence.

Central Station — Sydney Australia

Headphones in, phones up and they take not even a minute to find out the name of the other person they’ll be sitting next to on their train ride.

Talk. Listen. Share. Converse.

Be People Who Communicate.

Every person has a name find out what that is.

Every person has a destination find that out too.

Every person has a story so take the time to listen.

“Hello, how are you? Would you mind if I sit here?”

These are the most simple and common questions that could be asked to start what could be a very memorable conversation. People are usually not apposed to conversation on public transit, but what goes through people’s minds is that they don’t want to bother the other person (as if they had anything important to do). We put music on to avoid the awkward silence, we check and then re-check our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, trying to avoid the awkward looks of wandering eyes that are not sure where to look. But what if we just do what should be the natural thing, talk to the person next to you.

I’ve recently been reminded about this problem and how amazing a conversation is with who once was a stranger, but then leaves a friend. I was running late to my train and as I sprint up the steps the flags are waving and the doors about to close. My feet think faster than my mind and quickly hop on the train. It’s a tight fit just to stand so finding a seat seemed to be an impossible request for myself. But there right in front was an open seat next to an old man. And so the conversation starts:

Hey, would you mind if I sit here?

Then the old man looks up smiles and responds with a witty remark:

If you think you can fit here, by all means the seat is yours.

I then began to put my headphones on as you do. But I then stop myself thinking I don’t want to be rude, he’s an older man and probably wouldn’t appreciate it much. Be intenentional. So I sat there and the awkward silence began. After a few minutes passed I then opened my mouth to engage. I know, it seems scary, intimidating, what was I thinking.

Have you always lived in the Sydney area?

And with that simple question this man opened up and answered with the exact amount of years and months and so I followed up with where he lived before that then and he then responded, now that’s a good question. He went on to share a history of experiences. Without going into detail about our conversation, I’ll skip to the end and give you the conclusion. The old man loved the conversation so much he gave me his numbers and made sure I was able to contact him again for an extension to our train ride encounter. And I would have never known this to be a possible ending to a seat next to a witty old man. I’m not trying to tell you every conversation you attempt to start will for one turn into a full on conversation nor will always be as engaging and end you with a number and a friend like my experience. But, what I do want to get across is that it never hurts to try.

-Challenge-

Once a week for one month take the time to start a conversation with someone. If it’s someone who you’re sitting next to on your train or bus ride to work, or next to you at the coffee shop, or maybe someone you have class with that you’ve never talked to before. Places you spend a time in where you’re surrounded by people that you don’t usually talk to. Make an effort, put yourself out there and meet someone new this week.

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