Don’t Listen to Your Mother On This One: Talk to Strangers

David Topus, Author

I’m happy to share my interview David Topus, author of Talk to Strangers; How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income and Life (John Wiley and Sons, 2012), a surprising look at how opening yourself up to strangers can help change your life. David’s interview on NBC can be viewed here and in the BBC here

Diana: In what ways has talking to strangers enhanced your life?

David: Over the years I have met hundreds of interesting people, many of whom I would never have come to know if I hadn’t opened myself up to the possibility. I begin every encounter with the assumption that the other person is fascinating and unique, and that there is something I can learn from them. Because I believe this, it tends to be true. I have garnered clients, contacts, investors, partners, employees and friends through people I’ve met in the most unplanned, random places and ways.

The number and variety of people I have met — and developed relationships with, both professional and personal — is nothing short of remarkable. I sometimes shake my head in amazement at how people seem to show up in my life. Sometimes I even wonder if these encounters are truly “random”, or if they are predestined. I think the universe puts certain people in our path, but it is really up to us to take advantage of the opportunity to meet them. In my book, I outline the four beliefs of successful random connectors. One of them has to do with the world being a friendly place, and another is about being socially fearless, believing you can meet anyone you want to meet. When you believe this, somehow the universe puts people — amazing people — in your path.

Diana: What do you do each day to take care of yourself?

David: I make a point of getting a good night’s sleep, and I ride a bicycle 12 miles up and down hills every other day….I have met people while riding the bike; people I have stayed in touch with and been enriched by personally.

Diana: Does reaching out and connecting with strangers have any benefits beyond the monetary or business ones, for example, on your mental or emotional well being?

David: Actually, yes. When I open up to others, especially those who wouldn’t typically talk to people they don’t know, and when I create a level of comfort and trust that makes it possible for them to open up to me, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I feel I have helped someone else break through the veneer of isolation that they — and so many people — are likely to have. Most people WANT to make new connection, but they either don’t know how, or don’t have the confidence.

I like to think that if I give them a good experience in meeting a “stranger”, they might be more likely to give it a try on their own.  Beyond that, I am encouraged and exhilarated by the commonality of human experience I often bring out in my conversations, and I get tremendous energy from meeting complete strangers and finding this common ground that makes us both human.

Diana: David, Thank you!

Click LIKE if you agree about talking to strangers and COMMENT if you don’t. And please share any encounters with strangers that you’ve had!

 

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7 Responses to Don’t Listen to Your Mother On This One: Talk to Strangers

  1. Erin says:

    I like what you wrote about being open and talking to new people. I could not find a ‘like’ button so I thought I’d comment.

  2. Sharon says:

    I also like the book’s premise and am commenting because I had trouble with the “like.” It’s a great way to learn new things and encounter new ideas. Thanks for introducing me to another interesting book and idea.

  3. I whole heartedly agree! I talk with strangers all the time – on the bus or train in Jerusalem, walking through the Old City, in shops, restaurants, at special sites around the country, etc. – and I’ve met some amazing (and some not-so-amazing) people – many have become clients, colleagues, friends… I often say that if I stay in Jerusalem long enough (and am open to talking with strangers), I’ll eventually meet everyone in the world… With the variety of people I’ve already met, I think I’m well on my way to that!

  4. awais says:

    i really like yr comments and really i enjoy it. hahahha very nice i live in pakistan and thats all diffrent for us hahha

  5. Cynthia says:

    Inspiration for me to continue my many a day acts of kindness to total strangers….

    • dianabletter says:

      I’m inspired by your random acts of kindness to total strangers! What’s harder for me is random acts of kindness to myself! Thanks for writing!

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