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Do It

Interact with one stranger today

Todd Tyrtle

Out in the world!

According to a 2004 study published in Science, commuting is associated with fewer positive emotions than any other common daily activity. And yet, for those of us who commute on our bikes or by transit we have so many opportunities to interact with strangers.

This article talks about a number of studies showing that while our instincts might be to avoid talking to, or even looking at strangers, doing so makes us feel better. I can vouch for that - almost all of my interactions with strangers have left me feeling good for some time afterward.

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  • Libby Lowe

    It might be a midwest thing, it might be something I get from my mom (a trait of hers that earned her many eyerolls when I was a kid) but, I talk to strangers all of the time. Just yesterday, I bonded with strangers over the not super awesome service in the new banh mi shop in my neighborhood. But it wasn't people complaining. There was a sauce situation and everyone was trading and trying to help each other out. Kind of sweet.

  • megandaygray

    I love this. I now live in Geneva, Switzerland, where people are freaked out by strangers talking to them.. Yet, they are all starving for affection. So I try to chat up a stranger each day, whether its at the Migros grocery store, like today, or In The gym, like yesterday, or at the tram stop.. Its amazing how sour faces can turn to smiles:)! Makes my heart sing!

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      To your point about Geneva- It's interesting to see different cultures reacting in different ways to societal forms of politeness- like introductions, gratitude, and empathy. I know some cultures don't like to acknowledge things publicly, like death, for example. It's great that you're breaking down societal norms in Geneva by introducing yourself to others. It would be interesting to see you documenting it all. I thought this project was really interesting. This girl Anab Jain shared her Wifi publicly on the street in London:

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    When I lived in NYC I carried tiny bottles of bubbles with me on the subways. During any commute, I blew bubbles and then shared bottles with strangers. It was awesome and always started conversations. There was NO agenda other than to make someone smile and to make the commute just a little bit friendlier. Best reaction was a 70 something woman, who literally Skipped down the platform with her bubbles. Talk to Strangers, interact, you will learn amazing things about life. (I also always offer Free Hugs & conversations with homeless people, they really need to feel seen/heard) HUGS and ooOoOoooOo bubbles to you :)

  • Susie Wyshak

    I started this project last year where I went to 30 cafes for 30 days and asked a stranger a random question. Got bogged down editing the videos but you can see some here. I live to talk to strangers...and seeing a stranger's reaction can make your day. Maybe 1/3 of the time people think it's odd when you talk to them, but that's just their world view...and 2/3 of the time my life has been illuminated by a quick remark or conversation.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      This is so cool, Susie! You should share the videos as posts on!

  • lichts

    Already did. Out on a bike ride this am, saw a kid with bright red shoes walking to school. Said "Good Morning" & "I like your shoes"! He said "Good Morning" & "Thanks". Then smiled. :D