Come Talk To Me

I like to think of myself as an approachable individual – someone who strangers feel comfortable striking up a conversation with. And I don’t say that as a vague, blanket statement that most people use to compliment themselves. I say that because it happens to me all the time.

Strangers coming up to me isn’t a new thing. It’s not a fad. It’s been happening for a while.

One instance I remember was when I was 13 years old. I was standing in line at the food court waiting for my order of french fries, when I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned around and there were two girls standing behind me.

One girl said, “Hi, my friend thinks you’re really cute. Do you want to go on a date with her?”

So many things ran through my head between the time she finished her question and the time I quietly mumbled, “No, thanks.” In real time, it was about 1.8 seconds. In my head, it was an eternity.

I remember the girl – who apparently thought I was “really cute” – was wearing so much makeup I didn’t even know where her eyes were. That’s not me being offensive, that’s me telling the truth.

They stormed off with linked arms, muttering stuff like “you made a big mistake” and “you broke her heart”. By the time I turned around and received my order of fries, the cashier’s eyebrows had already taken the elevator to the top floor of her forehead.

More recently, though, I am still approached many times in public places.

In downtown Toronto, I’m basically an unofficial tour guide. I’m rarely down there, but every time I am, I must carry a “fresh meat” odour with me. People have gone out of their way, in a huge crowd, just to ask me for directions.

I was at a sporting event last year and I was waiting for someone in the concessions area while I held two slices of pizza. A security guard came up to me and she said, “Oh, I see you bought me dinner.”

And then we got into a short conversation about the brilliance of buying pizza as soon as the doors open – it’s the first batch of pizza made that evening and is, obviously, still hot.

Another time, a guy came up to me on a crowded sidewalk and asked if I’d like to donate money and support his charity. I turned him down, he shook my hand, said “no worries, my brother” and walked away through the crowd.

It was as if I had just met Jesus and I’m the only one who saw him. This guy didn’t proceed to ask anyone else for a donation. He was just there for me. I felt special, singled out, weirded out, and once again, approachable.

Even when I was in Cleveland last summer – a foreign country – I developed a rapport with a disgruntled customer at McDonald’s. He hadn’t received his order after twenty minutes (they had forgotten about him) and started talking to me.

After we had sat down at opposite sides of the restaurant, he walked by me to go up for more food. I said something to him like, “Going for more, huh?” I had no business saying that. That’s something you say to close friends, if anyone. He said, “Yeah.”

Makings of a bromance, I tell ya. 

Less than three minutes later he walked by again with his food and I said something like, “Wow, they were fast this time!” He replied, “I know! I’m shocked.”

If that wasn’t me living out the “friendly Canadian” stereotype perfectly, I don’t know what is.

Maybe it’s not so bad wearing an imaginary sign all the time that says, “Come talk to me.”

I’m going to end this post here – sorry it’s a bit abrupt – because this isn’t what I initially intended to write about. What I wanted to discuss was going to come after this “short introduction”, but the words I want to share haven’t been able to exit my head. It’s been a four hour struggle.

So instead of forcing it, I’ll write it another day this week. 

Do strangers approach you in public? If so, let me know. We can start a club called, ABS – Approached By Strangers.

 

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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62 Responses to Come Talk To Me

  1. Talula Teabag says:

    Awesome post. I didn’t want it to end.
    I’m the opposite, I guess, and I like it that way. I absolutely HATE it when people just start talking to me. All I can tolerate is a courteous hello, and then just like being left alone. I guess I don’t make eye contact, and even if the random person pops in for a chat, I’m pretty short with my answers so they know I don’t wanna chat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you!
      I tell myself that I hate talking to strangers and I try to avoid it at all costs. But in the moment when it’s happening, if they aren’t being intrusive and I know they don’t have ulterior motives, then I don’t mind it. That being said, anything longer than 30 seconds is too much lol.
      There will be somewhat of a “Part 2” to this post possibly Wednesday, if you want more!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela says:

    I am too – although I am dreadful with directions and usually don’t respond correctly when put on the spot, I get so flustered. I often wonder how many tourists are lost in my hometown because of my unintentional wrong direction advice. We often laugh about it because my sister likes to talk to strangers and strangers seem to like talking to me. Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Talula Teabag says:

    Looking forward to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jess says:

    Haha I laughed really hard at how abruptly you turned down that girl. Although I give her props for trying. Lord knows I wouldn’t have attempted it. I rarely have strangers strike up conversations with me. I might be stand-offish, I don’t really know. Probably because I almost always have headphones in, or reading a book if I’m waiting. Even when a stranger does start talking to me, I’m incredibly awkward about it. I have found New Englanders don’t really talk to strangers unless they have a reason for it. But if I go to the Midwest or the South, strangers make conversation all the time and I get weirded out by it. So basically, when a stranger talks to me, I have that New England face that says, “What do you want?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rebecak says:

    This is soooo true!! I, for one, reached out to you in cyberspace and I certainly don’t know you. I could’ve reached out to anyone but I chose you. Super weird. Super creepy. Totes glad that I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was in New York City last year, I had so so many people on the subway ask me for directions and/or help with the subway system. Despite being a tourist, I became an annoying subway know-it-all so it suited me quite nicely. It was a perfect match for my desire to help people, and my need to show my superior intelligence.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rebbit7 says:

    Stranger do talk to me; I thought I was the only one, but glad that you experience the same thing! Funny enough, I get asked for directions to places when I’m traveling, which is hilarious, because I look nothing like a local (don’t they see me with the gigantic backpack and travel gear?), so it always baffle me whenever people continue to approach me. What an interesting world we live in, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Such a strange world. Maybe people would rather approach someone that looks friendly than someone who lives in town. I’ve never really approached a stranger to ask a question so I don’t know what the vetting process is haha

      Liked by 1 person

  8. peckapalooza says:

    I’m actually really grateful that strangers don’t make a habit of approaching me in public. It’s probably because, more often than not, it’s shields up for me. I’m reading a book or I’ve got earbuds in. And if those fail, there’s always the “I’m stressed out” look on my face that seems to exist even if I’m not feeling stressed out about anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      You’re one of the lucky ones. I feel like if I’m walking down the street reading a book someone will still find a way to talk to me. I’ll work on my stressed out when I’m not stressed out face.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am pretty shy so whenever someone goes out of their way to talk to me, I am immediately flustered by it. When I was in college, I was a tour guide, but even when I wasn’t in my uniform people would pull over on the side of the road or stop me walking and ask me for directions. It happened once a week and I don’t know what made them think I was the right person to ask lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha once a tour guide, always a tour guide. I did residence tours at my school…maybe there’s a common link here. I guess we just look like people who would give assistance? I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mariah says:

    Paul,

    I’m the exact opposite. People don’t approach me at all. I lack the come hither aura of people with a resting smiling face (at least that’s what I think). It’s an actual hell being an introvert, when I /want/ people to approach me because I’m so shy. You’ve struck gold, appreciate it.

    Anyway, you remind me of my friend Paul. It’s coincedental, the identical namesake. Fitting, too. He snuck up to the whole class and became the student government president once. He was that social and approachable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m an introvert to and never go up to people! It’s too difficult to do that lol. But if someone else initiates, I’ll just talk to them as if we’ve been friends forever for the short time we exchange words.
      All people named Paul are exactly the same, I’m convinced! Though I was never student government president.

      Like

  11. I have the “Don’t you have a twin?” face, apparently. My twin seems to work at Olive Garden or the Spaghetti Factory, always some mid-level restaurant. She’s a flirt, the sweet kind that always makes people feel better about themselves.
    Me? I’m an only child, and I’ve never worked as a waitress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Those are two of my favourite restaurants! If I were you I’d use this to your benefit and go to those restaurants for a meal and act like you work there so you can get discounts. Run away if they ask for ID though.
      It is crazy though how there are seemingly clones of us walking around living an alternate life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I sometimes wonder about my twin’s life; I wonder if she dresses like me, if she wears more or less makeup. But generally I’m just happy that people aren’t angry when they think they’ve “recognized” me!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. commutingwithkristen says:

    One of my first posts was about strangers spilling their proverbial guts to me! How do I apply for my ABS – Approached By Strangers membership?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes they do. And they only sometimes regret it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Barb Knowles says:

    First of all, I love your new tagline “Something to discuss at the dinner table.” It’s perfect. If I make typos here it’s because I already have my eye patch/shield thingy on and can barely see.
    That happens to me, too. Tim thinks it’s because I talk to everyone , but I think it’s because I make eye contact with people. I bet you do, too. It kills me when I’m in a store shopping, with my coat on and my bag over my shoulder and someone asks me for help. “I’m sorry, I’m not an undercover employee, I’m SHOPPING.” That actually does happen, but I’m not rude. Just incredulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think if I wear an imaginary sign it must say “free therapist” because I usually just get middle aged women coming up to me and telling me their problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can see you being very approachable. Even via internet you seem to have a charisma about you. Oh and now I know who my Canada tour guide shall be!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I get it when I wear a white shirt with a collar and am in a store that doesn’t have staff already in their “team uniform.” Sir, can you help me? No, sorry. I don’t work here. I’m wondering why I’m here just like you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’ve always wondered what would happen if someone in your situation said “Yes, I do work here” and then gives advice to another customer. It would be interesting to watch play out.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Myka says:

    YES. Everyone talks to me! All of the time! Friendly Face Friends is what I’m going to call us. You & I. LOL. Most of the time they divulge information to me that I don’t know what to do with. Uhhh. But hey, better approachable than avoided, eh? (I don’t know why I say eh all of the time. I use it with my American friends too. Canadian wannabe).

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I get approached by strangers all the time! It’s so weird. I like it a lot, except when it’s super creepy. I seem to attract the creepy ones more than anything. (What this might say about me, I don’t know, but let’s move on). But when I get the wonderful, weird, nice ones, it’s the best thing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I seem to have avoided the creepy people, for now. It’s just always weird to me how I’m the one they decide to go up to and not anyone else around me. Lol maybe it’s a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. 1st) I would just like to say…Paul: Breaking hearts since he was 13!
    2nd) I get approached by strangers all the time! Yesterday, I was ordering a churro and a women turned to me and asked if they were good. I had a whole convo with her about churro as we waited for our order. So yes! Sign me up for the club!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. But that’s only like 5/10. The other 5/10 are wired people that ask like “Hey…where did you go to high school? I know this girl that looks exactly like you!” UM no okay. I’ve moved around a ton so it’s highly unlikely. And also I’m an original, I do not have a twin 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. John Montesi says:

    I think I start conversations with random people more than they do it to me. I wonder if I only do that to people like you. ABS-es(?), as it were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      As opposed to people who never get approached? Interesting. Next time you go up to a stranger, ask them if people normally come up to them haha. That might be the best way to conduct this study.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. elizarudolf says:

    Nice post…..😚🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Rea says:

    I feel like im the one who approaches the strangers. i am very extroverted

    Liked by 1 person

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