Hello Fellow Contemplators – I hope you’re all well. Sorry it’s been a little while since our last Contemplation. It’s Sunday here in Melbourne and I’m sitting down to prepare a few blog posts for the next few weeks and I hope to get a few contemplations done while I’m here.

Flipping through my A Sentence A Day, trying to figure out which prompt to use for today, I’m struck by how much I’ve missed the simple process of sitting at my computer and choosing photos for a post and then writing about them. It’s such a calming and soothing experience for me and I’ve missed it so much.

I’m so glad to be back.


Today’s Prompt: When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?

When I visited my family in Mackay recently, my mum and I both noticed at the same time that I tend to strike up conversations with almost anyone. Shop assistants, people in queues, people in elevators, people stopping to pat Gidget, pretty much anyone.

So when this prompt came up, it seemed like a good one for me and I’m interested to read your responses.

Are you someone who talks to anyone? Or do you need some warm up to get going?

I remember a few years ago, a new colleague and I were meeting for breakfast at the hotel we were staying at. It was an open cafe in the hotel lobby, with long wooden tables and bench seats – no individual tables. As usual, I was desperately craving coffee, so I was early. I ordered a coffee to drink while I waited and had a chat to the guy next to me in the queue. I was buying a juice as well and he asked me if I liked it. The juice is bottled in these strange triangular-shaped bottles and I had only recently seen them at the supermarket, so was intrigued by them. I told him as much and it turned out that he was the guy selling the juices to the cafe. We had a chat about marketing and how different retail is from the work that I do, and yet how many similarities there are, simply because it’s just people buying stuff – no matter what stuff, you buy based on the same thoughts.

After grabbing a newspaper and taking a seat at the table, I settled in to wait. Shortly after, two people sat next to me and started discussing their plans for the day. The guy leaned over and asked me something, I have no idea now what it was, and we all started chatting about travel and hotels and life in general.

During all this, my colleague finally came down from his room. He ordered a coffee, smiled weirdly and then sat at the end of the bench with his back to us. I finished up the conversation and moved over to join him and he asked me who those people were. I said I had no idea, I just met them and had a chat while waiting.

He was horrified. He told me that he could never do that. Had no interest in talking to someone he didn’t know. I smiled and jokingly said – well, you’re in sales now, you’d better get used to it.

It was only a few months later at a large sales meeting when I suggested that he have a chat with one of the seasoned specialists and he refused, stating that he had no intention of speaking with anyone who wasn’t above him since there was no obvious payoff for himself.

I was shocked. I couldn’t understand. I like to talk to everyone. I like hearing people’s ideas and thoughts and tales. I guess I’m generally quite a friendly person. I’m very open. And I certainly don’t analyse a situation to determine how I’m going to benefit from it.

So, when was the last time I spoke to a stranger? Today at Kikki.K – another customer and I had a little chat about the new (fabulously) pink range. And then in the elevator on my way up to my apartment – I commented on what a glorious day it is today and she agreed and asked me about my plans for the afternoon.

How about you? When was the last time you spoke to a stranger? Is it just an everyday thing for you? Or are you a little shy?

x desleyjane

Posted by:desleyjane

photographer, blogger, planner, scientist, dog lover, frequent flyer, daughter, sister, BFF, human

24 replies on “Contemplation – Conversations

  1. Your colleague sounds like a jerk.

    If there is an opportunity to make a funny remark, I will take it. Otherwise, I avoid conversations. The reason is that often, very often, people will say something I feel the need to correct.

    This is especially true when discussing anything relating to science (or lack thereof). Also, superstitions, religious beliefs, and a host of other things peripherally related to a belief in higher powers/beings/consciences or the power of this or that ritual.

    But, again, if it’s anything to do with humor, I’m right there for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Luckily he’s not my colleague anymore. I have moved on from there. I have been told that I have the ?enviable? knack of being able to politely tell people that they’re wrong. Oops.


  2. I’m always happy to talk to strangers and have had some memorable conversations as a result. You had me worried for a bit because I couldn’t think of any strangers I’d chatted to yesterday, but then I remembered a couple we met briefly in a garden. I think stranger talkers have an unwritten code – conversation often starts with a look that passes between them, and a quick understanding.

    I am reluctant to intrude if I feel people are not open to it so I’d be unlikely to chat to your colleague for long and would probably sense not to approach him – unless he was standing on my handbag or something and I had no choice! If someone is visibly shy, it can suddenly bring on an attack of shyness in me, which is really not helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so with you on this one, but for me it’s quite a recent thing. I would never have willingly talked to a stranger in my twenties or early thirties. I think when my son was born and people began to talk to me about my baby, it became easier. Now I really value these chance interactions very much. And your colleague IS a jerk!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Both definitely. I care much less what others think of me and am much more willing to engage with people and to stand up for what I believe. It was summed up for me by an elderly woman I met who said as she went through life she stopped caring what people thought of her, and started thinking about what she thought of others. I think age gives us some legitimacy to share our views. I notice my ebullient son is much quieter around people older than him because he thinks he has less to offer. It’s changing since he started work and interacts with adults all the time. He’s beginning to feel valued, and that gives him confidence.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s an awesome way of looking at it – caring what WE think about others, not what others think of us. And I think that I think 😊 that way already. But definitely age and experience has given me the confidence to speak up more than I used to. I’m so glad your son is gaining his confidence. I think it’s so important to be able to talk to anyone.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Desley, loved this post. There is so much to be gained by talking to strangers. My daughters used to be embarrassed by this habit, but when travelling alone or moving to a new country, if I didn’t talk to people I didn’t know, it would be a very lonely existence. Even online, I’ve met some lovely people in real life, just by chatting via blogs or photo groups, then suggested meeting for a coffee. So I’m definitely up for talking to strangers. I spoke to a lady on Saturday, up on Mount Wellington, in the snow, when her daughter had taken off one gum boot and walked around with one bare foot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you Ruth. How hilarious! One gumboot off in the snow! I agree, we can learn so much just by interacting with others. I had another colleague who kept completely to himself, even amongst our staff team and I feel like he was always in the dark and on the outer. Yep, it would be super lonely. Maybe that’s the other reason I’m so open to it. I live alone so don’t talk very much at home, so I need to fill that when I’m out and about 😊 Thanks so much for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I love talking to strangers. My husband knows this but always leans in to say, “Please don’t talk to anyone.” What?! He is not a talker–that’s why he has me! I loved this post, Desley.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a childhood friend who must have something about her that “speaks” of trust as strangers often open up and share, what I interpret as, personal stories. It is great fun to go on walks with her just to hear the who, what, when, and where of people’s lives…a walking storybook of lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a rich conversation! Both your post and the comments. Fancy only talking to someone who can give you some advantage, although I suppose we all want reciprocality. I’ve had some memorable encounters travelling, often with children, mainly in Syria and Jordan. Once in a lift with a young man, puzzled that I was travelling alone – I was old: once in the kitchen of my hotel as the owner sifted through lentils: once with the man repairing a mosaic in Petra: once with a group of men in ruins in Palmyra, including an archaeologist, on a misty New Year’s morning. But yesterday? Sadly no. I can only say hello, thanks and goodbye. That’s not a conversation!

    I’m REALLY looking forward to a conversation with you when I come to Melbourne. These contemplation posts are a real treat and I always enjoy your thoughtful response to the prompt. I also enjoy the memories the prompt stirs up for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Meg, this post really sparked a lot of conversation. I know he’s a strange guy, luckily I don’t have to interact with him anymore. I love your memorable conversations that you’ve listed. How rich and diverse!
      I’m looking forward to our conversations when you visit too, I’m so glad that you enjoy our contemplations. I hope you’re having a wonderful week. X


  8. I don’t often read your contemplation posts, not because I don’t like them, but because of the time it takes as I have to read the comments as well and then think about what you have written about. I’m quite a shy person, but oddly have found myself in situations where I HAVE to speak to strangers. Hitch-hiking, travelling alone, becoming an IT trainer and standing up in front of lots of people; teaching; meeting fellow bloggers! I also seem to attract strangers who tell me their life stories! And I’ll chat to a stranger on a bench, say hi to passing walkers and have a natter with the supermarket assistant. I’m sure I embarrass my OH many a time, but it’s kind of second nature now 😀 Oh, and I also think your ex-colleague is a jerk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And how! That’s great, you are a conversationalist as well. I consider myself to be shy as well, except at work of course. But in my personal life, I’m definitely more confident and happier to speak up as well. Good for you, I’m sure you aren’t embarrassing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s