Tag Archives: stranger

Breakthrough Conversation

I went to the bar after work the other day with the sole purpose of killing time to avoid the commute home during rush hour. I walked in and saw one of my coworkers. I’ve known him for a few years but he works in a different department and we’ve only talked about work stuff, weather, movies, and local sports teams. That was probably the first time that I had even seen him out of work. It’s better to drink with somebody than to drink alone, so I pulled up a stool next to him and sat down. We started talking about work stuff, but the conversation eventually turned into a real one.

We talked about our lives. Where we grew up, where we went to school, where we lived before moving to the city. We talked about our childhoods, our families, and what we thought about the world. It was a breakthrough conversation, the kind of talk where a stranger becomes a friend. It’s always cool to get to know someone better. It’s weird, it’s almost like humans need social interaction or something.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Not Knowing Who You’re Talking To

We live in an age of caller ID and ADD, so there are lots of times when you’ll end up having a conversation with somebody and you’re not quite sure who they are. I got a text this morning from a number I don’t recognize. The person mentioned that they bumped into a girl I used to work with, so I assume that it’s a coworker from the past but I have no way to be sure. I just kept on texting them back like I knew who I was talking to. I suppose I could have asked who I was talking to, but that seemed rude because this person obviously know who I was. So I just went along with it and kept asking questions about the girl the person bumped into. I had no idea who I was talking to but the person had no idea I didn’t know, so no harm, no foul. Not knowing who you’re talking to is a weird feeling, but I guess it’s better than not talking to anybody.

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Singing “Happy Birthday” to a Stranger

I was at a restaurant last night enjoying a nice meal with some good friends when we were interrupted by one of the servers with an important announcement. Apparently it was Pablo’s thirty-first birthday and he chose to celebrate in that particular establishment and the server wanted everybody to wish him a happy birthday. The server counted to three and the entire restaurant started singing “Happy Birthday” to a stranger. We were all united for ninety seconds while we sang loudly and off-key. Then we went right back to enjoying our food and ignoring Pablo. Such is the way of the world: we will acknowledge a birthday briefly but nobody really cares.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sweet or Sour (game)

When I was a kid I would play a game in the car called Sweet or Sour. It was a pretty simple game. You wave at a stranger in another car. If they wave back, they are sweet. If they don’t wave back, they are sour. You don’t get any points if you get somebody to wave back, and you don’t lose any points if they don’t wave back. We didn’t keep score. Nobody would win and nobody would lose. In retrospect it wasn’t much of a game. I was still good at it though. It’s probably not a game that I will teach my kids. It just conditions kids to be overly friendly and unsuspicious of strangers. It’s like telling them that strangers have the best candy.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Airport Conversations

Airport conversations are some of the most interesting conversations that you will ever experience. You’ll have an hour to kill before your flight starts boarding, so naturally you’ll go to the bar to pass the time. Someone will sit down next to you and you’ll make idle conversation but you know that you’ll most likely never see that person again. Somehow that means that your conversation will casual but intimate. You’ll tell them your whole story: your name, your occupation, where you’re from, where you’re going, sometimes things that you’ve never even told your closest friends and family. Then you realize your plane’s about to depart, so you say goodbye, wish them a safe flight, and go your separate ways. You’ll never see them or hear from them again, but sometimes it’s nice to have a friend for forty-five minutes.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Social Butterfly

A social butterfly is a person who can talk to and relate to anyone. They are friendly and personable and instantly likable. It’s a skill that can’t be taught. A social butterfly can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and they’ll be acting like they’ve known each for years within a few minutes. They float around between different social circles and bring everybody together for awesome parties. They make awesome politicians. The only downside to having so many friends is that it’s hard to form deep and long-lasting friendships. But social butterflies are never bored, they are never lonely, and they always know the place to be. I wish I was a social butterfly and not just writing about them.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Thinking You Know Somebody

You’re at the store waiting for the cashier and you think you recognize the guy that’s two spots ahead of you in line. But you’re not sure because he won’t turn around, and it’s hard to confirm somebody’s identity without seeing their face. You’re debating whether or not you should tap him on the shoulder, but you don’t want it to be awkward if you’re wrong. So you bite your tongue and settle on a leaving a message on his Facebook saying that you thought you saw him at the store. And he’ll respond and say that it was him and that you should have said hello. Other times you’ll pass by somebody that looks familiar, but you can’t remember who they are or how you know them. So you don’t say anything because you’re not sure if he’s really your forgotten friend or not. And even if he is your long-forgotten friend, you still have nothing to say to him. That’s why you forgot about him in the first place. Thinking that you know somebody generally isn’t a good enough reason to start a conversation. You better to be sure that you know the guy.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Strangers That You Know

The world is filled with strangers that you know. I take the train to get to work almost every day. And so do a lot of other people. And I’ve noticed that I’ve started to recognize a few other passengers. I don’t know their names, I don’t know what they do for a living, but I recognize their face when they get on or off the train. It’s a weird feeling because I want to nod my head to say hello and have to remind myself that I don’t really know them. It’s not just on the train; I see a lot of people in random places that I recognize because they stand out so much. There are two Asian twins that wear matching outfits and carry yoga mats around with them. There’s a homeless lady with an impressive mane of facial hair and a shopping cart that I see all over my neighborhood. I’ll catch a glimpse of somebody that I met at a party for fifteen minutes three years ago. You want to talk to strangers that you know, but you don’t because you don’t want to seem crazy. But is it really? After all, everyone you know was once a stranger to you.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Stranger Who Turns Out to be an Acquaintance

I was playing disc golf with my friend and was about to tee off when a guy started walking towards us. We waited to throw until he got there and offered to let him go ahead of us so we wouldn’t hold him up. He suggested that we just play together. As we made small talk, I noticed that he seemed really familiar, someone from way back in the day. It turns out that his son and I were childhood friends. We played on a few soccer teams together and we were Indian Guys for a few years. It had been almost twenty years since we last crossed paths. It’s kind of funny how you can remember random people from your childhood but can’t remember people from college. Nothing proves how small the world is like a stranger who turns out to be an acquaintance.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Thinking You See Someone You Know

You’re downtown running errands and you see your friend walking towards you. You start walking over, greeting him as you go. You get a few feet away from him and realize you’re talking to a complete stranger. You can brush past him and pretend you’re talking to someone else or you can apologize and explain that you thought he was someone else. Thinking you see someone you know and having it be a stranger is kind of a let down. It’s like seeing The Phantom Menace for the first time and wondering what happened to Star Wars. What happened to my friend? And who the fuck are you? I’m just going to try and pretend you don’t exist. Next time you better be who I think you are.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Wrong Car

You’re waiting for your friend to pick you up because carpooling is the shit and gas is expensive. He texts you and tells you to go outside. You grab your stuff and head outside and see him pulling up. As he slows down and you grab the door handle to open it, you realize that it’s not his car and this is not your friend. You were about to get in the wrong car. And that driver thinks you’re trying to car jack him. All you can do is laugh it off and apologize. The wrong car got you again.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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