If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world. Francis Bacon, English philosopher and statesman
I’m the kind of person who talks to stranger. Recently, while waiting to board a flight home from Iceland, I sat next to a friendly looking woman and said hello. During the time my husband was away at the bathroom, I learned her early history, the story of her divorce, about her education, her past and recent careers.
Isabel was raised in the shadow of the Palace of Versailles in France. Her playground was, literally, the Gardens of Versailles. She wasn’t happy with the the fact that she was terribly sheltered by her mother. She eventually married an American doctor, moved to the U.S., and had a son. The doctor left her for a nurse. She has a master’s in bio-something but didn’t enjoy it so she earned a doctorate in anthropology. She enjoys the fact that she can call her ex-husband at the hospital, ask for Dr. Miller and say, “Dr. Miller is calling.” She’s a college professor but, because of her French accent, mostly teaches on-line. About her accent, she said, “When my students call me on the phone asking for help, they don’t seem to mind that I have an accent when I solve their problems.” She lives in Seattle. I encouraged her to write a book. She said she would stay in touch so I can keep her motivated to do so. All this in a matter of a few minutes! Whew!
Isabel’s energy was contagious. She was delighted to meet a new person, hear about me, and share her life. I’m so glad I didn’t pass up this chance to have a few memorable minutes with a fascinating stranger.
P.S. – Isabel once visited Figi to reconnect with a man she met in an airport. She has my card. I may see Isabel again.
Affirmation: I’m delighted to hear the story of a stranger.
Coaching questions: If talking to strangers seems scary or odd to you, why do you think this is true? What might you gain from talking to a stranger? What might your lose?