Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life Lessons: Talk to Strangers

Though we grew up with our parents and authority figures urging us not to talk to strangers, I would completely disagree. Of course I think you should stay away from the van driving, lure-you-in-with-candy type of strangers, but there's an entire group of them that you should be talking to.

Some of the coolest people I've met in life have been strangers. There have been people I've said hello to while out shopping and then a conversation blooms. I've talked to more people than I can count while waiting for flights, on the plane, and I even once ate lunch with a great guy in the Seattle airport who was on his way to Japan. Turns out he was from NC and frequented Wrightsville Beach during the summers of his youth, which is where I went to college.

This is something that I try to impart on the students that I work with, because you never know who you'll meet or where opportunities will come from.

Last week I saw a student in our office who I had met with a few weeks back in January and was excited to hear if she had any updates on post-grad plans. She went skiing a few weeks ago with friends and decided to jump on the ski lift with a random guy, and had a great conversation with him on their way up the mountain. Turns out he and his wife work for National Geographic creating documentaries (her dream job) and they just so happen to be in the stage of gearing up for a new one. Guess who has an interview next week to be on the team?

This completely made my day to find out that not only had she made great progress since we last met, but that she happened to land herself a seat on a ski lift next to the exact person she needed to talk to. And instead of sitting their quietly or (worse) pulling out her phone, she struck up a conversation.

That same evening I went to the VA Bloggers meet up downtown at Tobacco Company. I went in not knowing a single person, but when I tell students all time about the importance of putting yourself out there, networking and meeting new people, I jumped in and went for it. I met so many great gals from blogs that I have loved reading, and got the scoop on the best brunch places in town--thanks RVA Brunch Club!

After striking up a conversation with Mallory from Mal's Miles we learned that we have a good mutual friend who she went to college with, and was one of my best gals in grad school. Small world indeed! We also came to the realization that we're the exact same person, and that our significant others also have a ton in common. We all went out together last night and had such a blast, Mal has a great recap including a picture of the devilish cheesecake on a stick that we both ordered for dessert-yum!

So moral of the story(ies): talk to strangers, you never know who you'll meet out there in the world!

The other moral is a personal note to self to keep up with blogging because you love it and have been a really bad blogger since like mid-fall. Boom.


Mallory @ Mal's Miles said...

Yay for talking to strangers and making new friends! I am glad you have come back from your blogging break... I bet it was the cheesecake that motivated you.

Shannon said...

I love this! It was really great to meet you at the Virginia Bloggers meet-up. Hope to see you again soon!

Anna said...

Thanks Shannon, it was great to meet you as well--thanks for coordinating a wonderful event!

Anna said...

That cheesecake could cure anything!