9 Rules for Talking to Strangers

Improve communication without being a creep

Eric Sangerma
Publishous

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Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

When you were a kid, did your parents tell you not to talk to strangers?

Too many people hold on to that advice long after it stops being useful.

I loved staying indoors with my family for a few months during quarantine. But since we’re out of lockdown (for now), and I’m spending more time outside, I’m noticing that my perception of strangers has changed.

Studies show that even a short conversation with a stranger will improve your mood (Sandstrom & Dunn, 2013). And to be clear, this very much includes meaningless small talk.

But there are right and wrong ways to do it. This isn’t something we learn at school — understandably! — and lots of people don’t know how to start.

So if you’re hoping to try your hand at something new and start talking to strangers more often, here are some guidelines for you.

1. Only talk to people who want to talk to you.

This one should be obvious, right?

Unfortunately, lots of people fail Step One. They think their job is to convince the other person that they want to have a conversation.

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Eric Sangerma
Publishous

I Help Companies Excel and Individuals Thrive. I write about Mental Health, Relationships and Productivity. Follow me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericsangerma/