Everyone knows these people. The people we see on campus all the time, at the store, in line at Starbucks ALL THE TIME. Yet, they are strangers. But, are they really? I always have trouble in situations when dealing with “strangers”.
The extroverted side of me (so 99% of it) wants to say something.
The extroverted side of me wants a new friend.
The extroverted side of me wants to put an end to this mutual awkwardness.
However, I usually don’t do anything about it. The 1 percent holds me back.
That 1 percent is scared that the individual is not as observant as me.
That 1 percent is scared that maybe the person will think I am weird.
That 1 percent is scared that I won’t know what to say.
Basically, my lack of action is all derived from fear.
I remember reading an interview with JK Rowling. She was asked about her favorite virtue. JK Rowling said that it was courage. If you read the Harry Potter series or watched the movies you know that courage is embedded throughout the entire work. At first I was really confused as to why JK Rowling picked this virtue. Lately, it started to make some sense.
After thinking about it, courage is truly one of the most beautiful virtues. Why? Because it is an agent for change.
It is an active virtue. It is a virtue that attacks fear head on and says…
“YOU DON’T CONTROL ME.”
It is a funny thing to think about how we all start out as strangers. Even to our own parents…we come into the world as a stranger. Over time we begin to meet new people and build relationships. Our friends were once just another kid in our class. Our professors were once just heartless lecturers. Our romantic interests were just dreams.
I write this letter as an encouragement to anyone out there to talk to a stranger today. Do not let your fear prevent you from finding a best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, mentor, etc.
By acting on the virtue of courage we are building relationships. By our interactions with others on our campus, community, and the world we are showing love to one another. Through introducing ourselves we are saying, “I notice your existence.” By talking with a stranger you are saying, “Let me hear your story.”
In the era of the smart phone it is so easy to look down, to look away, and to fake a call.
Today, I encourage you all to slip your phone in your jean pocket, take a breath to fill your lungs, turn towards the person you kinda sorta know, and say….
Now, the story begins.