Here’s Why You Should
Never Talk To Strangers
How fascinating when it happens.
That thing called Trust.
Between people we call Strangers.
Just what is it that moves us to believe in the decency of others so easily?
Merriam-Webster defines trust as ”The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
Whew! Knowing that, when you really think about it, trust is the infinite undercurrent propelling our lives forward.
It creates paths for countless favorable interactions and connections to occur, between those both known and unknown to us.
It allows us to navigate our days with faith in the good intentions of ourselves and our fellow inhabitants on this earth:
We trust the person driving toward us to keep themselves and us safe.
We trust the emergency responders to know how to help us in our moment of need.
We trust the delivery person to distribute our packages in a timely and careful manner.
I could go on and on.
Yet we often take trust for granted. We are often consciously unaware of its vast presence and mighty impact until it brilliantly, conspicuously appears.
Twice in my life total strangers have surprised me by demonstrating incredible acts of faith in humanity.
The first time I was far from home, shopping in a magical little store, waiting for my car to be fixed. The owner and I struck up an animated conversation as I meandered through the shop. Upon ringing up my purchase, she informed me that they do not take credit cards. Ah!
“That’s okay,” I said, “I can pay cash.”
“Nope,” she said. “You need your cash for the rest of your trip. Sign this.” And she handed me a scrap of paper that read ‘IOU.’ “You can send me the money once you get back home.”
I had known this person for maybe 45 minutes, and here she was trusting this out-of-state stranger to pay upon returning home the next week.
She didn’t ask for my address or phone number to remind me or track me down.
She just sent me off with an IOU.
No way to miss the trust factor here.
Why would someone do this?
I thought, “I will never forget this. This is a once in a lifetime gift. I cannot believe the compassion and trust this person just offered me.”
The second time I was at my local farmer’s market. The coconut macaroons at a new vendor’s table were calling to me. He insisted that I try it before I buy it, and once I took a bite I knew I would be buying.
I gave him a twenty to pay. He asked if I had any ones, and I did not. He gave me back the twenty, explained he couldn’t make the change right then, and that I could pay him the next time I came to the market.
I had literally just met this person two minutes before. We exchanged names and a handshake IOU and I promised to pay as soon as I broke that twenty.
Again, no way to miss the trust factor here.
Again, why would someone do this?
I thought, “I cannot believe that something like this happened to me again! This is amazing, and humbling. Really now, what inspires someone to have that much faith in a stranger?”
That got me thinking.
We all have an innate sense of trust which is passed down through each generation. Long ago, trust between members of a group was crucial. Survival was dependent upon the reliable collaboration of each person to hunt, gather, build, and protect.
In our more modern days, trust is the foundation of our societal and economic interdependence. We have seen far too many occasions where trust has eroded, and we have witnessed the adverse effects upon individuals, society, and the economy.
We also learn about trust through our experiences during the formative years of our lives. Being cared for and nurtured when we are very young instills a sense of trust in others that endures throughout our lives.
In a nutshell, trust equals survival.
And we all want that.
But trust also adds exhilarating nuances to our survival, impacting our lives in favorable ways.
When I was gifted those IOUs by people who had no clue as to whom I really was, and yet believed in me to honor our agreement, we each became a better version of ourselves.
We mirrored and amplified the conviction of our faith in one another, ourselves, and humanity. We moved from trusting in order to survive to trusting in order to form connections, and a tingling excitement surged through us, igniting our hopes for the infinite possibilities yet to be realized.
If I had never talked with those strangers I would have missed out.
Why take this leap of faith so readily?
Each time the dance of trust is initiated, especially between strangers, a little bit of magic transpires:
- Self-confidence increases - You recognize trustworthiness in one another, and you are rewarded for that recognition
- Pride strengthens - You are worthy of the faith you have in one another
- Awareness heightens - You are more conscious of your impact and ability in creating magnificent interactions
- Respect flourishes - You expect the best from yourself and others and vice-versa
- Joy compounds - You feel positive and productive witnessing the difference you make
- Optimism amplifies - Rewarding experiences encourage you to share, seek out, and propose new experiences
- Social connections thrive - Vibrant, healthy relationships beget more vibrant, healthy relationships
Trusting others is fun and makes you feel good!
And you can never have too much of all that!
To be fair, we know that not every act of trust produces the positive, healthy results we hope for or expect. We run into our brick walls and deep holes. But by and by, if you are keeping track, you will notice that there are more instances of affirmative outcomes than not.
As for me, these two experiences that stand out so brightly in my mind and heart have truly impacted my life.
I repaid each person as quickly as possible, wanting to live up to their (and my) expectations.
I returned twice more to that little shop off the beaten path, partly to say hi to the owner and partly because it has some of the most unique things I have ever come across. My market shopping includes a stop at that baked goods table every chance I get. I gained two friends, encounters with wonderment, and the determination to pay it forward.
Humbled and honored by their faith in me, I value opportunities to extend the same to others.
So come on,
Make your leap of faith!
Say hello to a stranger…
Discover your better you!