Strangers on a Plane

By Matter

I have a confession. I love to talk with strangers. As a child you are told never to talk to (or take candy from) strangers, but now that I’m a grown woman, I have thrown this childhood no-no to the wind.

There is this little burst of giddiness that erupts inside when I can sit and dig deep into the life of a complete stranger who I don’t know from Adam. Perhaps it is my natural inquisition to interview people, but over the years, while traveling on a plane across country or sitting on a patio at a coffee shop, I have had several pleasant conversations that have shaped my life in one way or another. On a recent flight to Phoenix, I was chatting with an older gentleman, and he reminded me of the truth behind this well-known quotation: “There are no original ideas. There are only original people.” What a great reminder, from a perfect stranger. Can you really take advice from strangers? I think so.

In life – and in business – you never know who you are going to meet. Just think about all the people we pass by or sit next to on a daily basis. There are many opportunities to experience a pleasant chat with a stranger. As a PR professional, these experiences can result in new business leads, provide sound advice for current problems or lead to candidates for job openings.

I recently came across an article in Real Simple about a fellow woman – who happens to be a writer – who was equally excited about meeting strangers. In this personal narrative, she tells the story of how she met a stranger on a plane and ended up helping him write a love letter to the woman he was trying to win back. It sounds insane, but this article is a must read, and it might even inspire you to take your nose out of that book next time you’re on a plane.

What’s your best stranger story? Please share – we want to hear about your experience.