Day 2 of the Talking to Strangers 30 Day Challenge

After yesterday one thing was clear.  I don’t have a problem saying hi to strangers.  Also, talking with people in a familiar social context is usually not too much of a problem.  It’s the complete stranger in a random encounter that is the tough one for me.

Especially, if the stranger is a woman.  Which is one of the reasons online dating didn’t work well for me.  Too many words and lots of pressure with a high probability of brain-lock in a first meeting.  While I’m not really modifying the terms of my 30 Day Challenge, any initiation of conversation with any stranger still counts, I am intending for more than just a hello, now.

And today was a perfect example of taking this challenge to another level!!  Two youngish women at the beach came in from kayaking.  I said hi, one of them offered me a beer, and I said no thanks. For the purposes of the challenge, I would say my goal for the day was met.

A few minutes later I went swimming.  When I got back to shore I struck up a conversation that went on for 20 minutes or so.  We talked about all sorts of things, wine, dementia, and consciousness.  Very cool.  A definite win!

The keys to this little victory?

  • Finding something in common to talk about.  In this case, the beach, and Bellingham.
  • Letting go of caring too much about how I speak.  I find I use words based on how they feel instead of their definitions.  Which can be very confusing to people.  Non-verbal connection with someone is very important to me.  I find I trust that more than verbal or intellectual connection.
  • Knowing I’m enough.  Which I’ll talk about in my next post!  It’s a bit more subtle a concept than I’ve come across in the books and articles on self-worth.

Not having any expectation makes a huge difference.  I really think I’ve made a lot more progress over the last couple of years than I realize.  And tango had a lot to do with it.  The next 30 days may be as much about practicing what I have already developed than anything.  Learning to drop fear and other ego related baggage is key.  I can see the next place to take this after some practice is to be more willing to let my sense of humor come out.

Oh and the water was so nice today!  I really need to remember to take some pictures for you.