If you’ve written off talking to strangers as something you’re not particularly interested in, let me see if I can change your mind.
It’s about facing your fears and overcoming them.
Whether you’ve never done it before, or whether you’ve fallen out of the habit, the act of opening your mouth and saying something to someone you’ve never met… well, it changes you.
If you believe that strangers would rather not talk to you, or would rather not be disturbed, then you probably choose not to disturb them most of the time.
Which means you consciously avoid the possibility of getting negative reactions from people.
Which means you haven’t trained the skill of overcoming negative reactions. Which increases your fear of rejection, or judgement, or whatever it may be for you. Which means you avoid certain social situations. And so the cycle goes.
Now let’s say the belief above is correct. Let’s say that strangers don’t want to be disturbed.
What I’m suggesting that you do, in this article and in this previous one, is to disturb them anyway.
Because having them reject you in some way will create an opportunity for you to face a negative reaction head on.
And the more familiar you become with negative reactions, the easier it will be to overcome them. The easier it will be to break the aforementioned cycle.
This is how you build core confidence.
Facing your fears reminds you (viscerally!) that you’re not made of glass.
Even if everyone in the room bands together and ridicules you the minute you say the wrong thing… it doesn’t actually break you. You could walk out of that room, high on adrenaline, and realise that you’re absolutely fine.
If you’ve never had that experience after a rejection, let me tell you how liberating it feels. It’s exhilarating. It’s living. You feel like you can do anything. Like you can talk to anyone.
But me telling you all of this means absolutely nothing. It doesn’t give you anything. It doesn’t change anything.
Because this isn’t something you can convey in words. You have to live it.
I’ve done this enough times to know that the vast majority of strangers will be happy to talk to you. You’ll hardly ever actually get rejected.
But the point is to face your fear. The point is to expect to get a negative reaction, and do it anyway.
And remember: this isn’t about having a good conversation at this point. It’s about choosing to face a negative reaction and coming out stronger, and more confident, on the other side.
Try sharing thoughts with strangers, as per the exercise in the previous article. Five in one day should be enough for you to understand and internalise what I’m talking about here.
But if you still don’t feel the internal strength that comes after you’ve done this, try a few more until it hits you.
And, as cliché as it sounds…