From T.

I’ve gotten so many wonderful comments and emails, I wanted to share one (with his permission):

Hi “Talk to Strangers” author,

I’m writing to you right now because I want to thank you now that I can still do it (in case you delete your blog).

I had just started my fall semester in USC as an exchange student when I bumped into your blog – funnily enough by clicking on a link on The Arrogant Nation, a blog that I read for no more than a minute. After the first few posts, I immediately knew this was a great project. I was also very surprised that it was lead by an investment banker, a profession whose social relationships are usually governed by mercantile interest and reputation – an idea based on my experience of Business student and Finance Team member in a big corporation – and that rarely stirs self-critique.

This double aspect, added to the fact that I was totally new in this country, got me reading all of your posts so far. It quickly became a game that I adopted in my own everyday life.
I’ve always been a nice guy making friends easily, being nice and polite with everybody from the boss to the secretary and focusing more on true friendships than just drinking friends. But since I applied some of your habits like actually triggering conversations with random people without pre-selection, deeply listening to them and congratulating sincerely, things happened to me like that I had never experienced before:

– I met my Michelle!!!!

– I was offered free drinks and free food from merchants, crazy discounts on bus trips or pieces of art, without even asking for them, sometimes making me refuse them!

– I was offered the warmest looks, smiles and hugs from complete strangers.

– I was offered teachings on life… sometimes boring I admit!

– I was offered benedictions from beggars

– I made friends with a stranger 40 years older than me.

– I slept with the Occupy LA movement, my first citizen engagement act – after voting, right.

– I now love meeting strangers and starting conversations in the most unlikely situations. This one is just so good, because it forced me to recognize that I know nothing about so many things and that I have to get back into a child’s growth mindset. It makes life so much more interesting.

I hope it will still work back in my country. Seems that Americans are very open in the first place (“Hey how you doin’?”s systematically thrown to any stranger), making the project a little bit easier.

To conclude, I am very impressed that you can handle so many things in your life. Your work is very time consuming, but you still manage to write this blog and do all different things. I suppose that’s actually one of the reasons why you want to make the most of your free time, and enhance it through a better social life.

I also think that talking to one another could turn a mere competitive, communautarist and paranoid society into a more collaborative, inclusive, self-aware and curious one.

Thank you for having shared your learning to the public. What you did definitely did a LOT of good to many people. Probably to you too. Even your current situation is a good teaching: love needs trust and sincerity. Seems that sincerity is paradoxically harder to achieve with very close people than with strangers.


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3 thoughts on “From T.”

  1. “But since I applied some of your habits like actually triggering conversations with random people without pre-selection, deeply listening to them and congratulating sincerely, things happened to me like that I had never experienced before”

    “How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first bestselling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide. …”

    You and “T.” are both absolutely pathetic! You expect me to believe, that neither of you was aware of this book, and countless others like it?! That it had never occurred to you naturally, without the guidance of any book, how easy it is to simply compliment people around you with sincerity, and express an interest in them and their lives or families or personal interests? To say, “which item is your favorite?” to your waitress? You have got to be putting us on!

    1. Annoyed Reader… I have a feeling that if you really possessed the birth-given mastery of human socialization that you are claiming, you would have far too many friends begging for your attention to be spending your time repeatedly posting berating comments on this blog. It also seems strange to me that someone who is as naturally inclined to “simply compliment those around [him] with sincerity” as you are would not find so much satisfaction in degrading another person’s efforts to emulate the more socially adept… but you appear to be one of the most prolific commenters on the site. Instead of leaving extensive discourses on why Fletcher and his blog are pointless, maybe you should be blessing the lives of those around you with your divine social presence. Just a few thoughts. Thanks.

      1. well said.

        I appreciate ‘annoyed readers’s’ presence on the blog if for no other reason because most of us seem to truly believe that fletcher’s experiment is an act of good and positivity– I always appreciate hearing things from another perspective.

        But you can’t have a debate with someone who treats everyone else like ‘idiots’ who should find all of the insights here ‘obvious.’ I’m thrilled to hear a strong opposing viewpoint on the blog: just not one filled with so much thoughtless condescension and hatred.

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