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Meet a 'familiar stranger'

Erik Tilkemeier


The Familiar Strangers Project
Creating stronger communities through new relationships

Familiar strangers, we all have them – people we see regularly in our daily routines, but don’t know. Maybe it’s at the market, the bus stop, on the train, in the elevator, or at the food truck. Chances are, if your routines cross paths on a regular basis, you also have other commonalities.

The Familiar Stranger Project is an experiment to connect people who share similar routines, and see what results. The next time you see someone who you don’t know, but have seen at least two or more times before, introduce yourself. Comment on how your paths seem to cross (without being creepy about it!), and tell them about the Familiar Strangers Project. The next time you see them, you can address them by name, building community one step at a time.



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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Hey Erik, do you have a link? I can add it in for you! Would love to learn about it! You'd probably like our Neighborday Holiday. We got neighbors around the world to get together on April 27. Learn more here:!

    • Erik Tilkemeier


      I chose GOOD as a platform to gauge interest in this project, which is really more of an idea than a formal undertaking at this point, so no, I have not created a website. I envision doing so, and including a forum for people to discuss their experiences.

      My work is in the field of Social Ecology: the Science of Community, and I am intrigued with the Familiar Stranger phenomenon. You can learn more about what we do at

      Anxious to see what GOOD community's reaction is to this idea.

      Love the Neighborday concept!


      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        Interested to know more about the science of community. I think linkshares about what you know would be fascinating. Hope to see more.

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        To gauge interest, I suggest following some likeminded people in the neighboring hub! Good luck with your project!