The reason I talk to strangers is because of my mom
A good friend of mine was embarrassed of me for so long. No matter where we would go I would find someone to talk to. Just a quip, or a smile, or a compliment, it drove her crazy, but then when she found out that my mom is American, she said it all made sense. American's live on their front porches, Canadians are back-yarders. Studies have shown that American foot treads go toward a store greeter, Canadians walk away from greeters. Thankfully, that part of me is Canadian, I walk away from greeters, but I don't think they exist anymore. But, I guess, the rest of my extroverted-ness is thanks to my American Mom.
Talking to strangers is a comforting rush for me. I like being nice to people, and being that girl that made their day when they go home at night. I like to pay specific compliments, like if they're alone in a store, I'll tell them if something looks nice on them. I would want someone to do that for me. I also ask people questions any time I need an answer. My decision to not wear a watch originally came from wanting a reason to talk to people.
Don't worry, I know the difference between good and bad strangers, I know who needs a smile, and who looks like they might want to eat me for lunch. It is not naivety, it is simply an interest in brightening someone's day, or saying what you're both thinking at the grocery store when the manager is yelling from the second floor and getting everyone's attention except for the person he needs to talk to.
In high stress situations talking to strangers helps to calm me down.
This comes in handy when I am flying because sometimes, turbulence freaks me out. I met a former running partner, and current friend, on a bumpy plane ride home from Minneapolis. The turbulence was making her airsick, so I thought I would do us both a favour and talk her ear off the whole way home. I told her she didn't even have to look at me, and for the most part she didn't, but talking to her made me forget about the turbulence.
And at Christmas time I took a Beechcraft plane, these birds seat about 9 people. They put the women in the back to keep the weight (the men) in the front. Its cruising altitude is about 5 000 feet, you could throw a rock from a high rise apartment and hit this plane. I kid you not, the pilot wore a toque, and his preflight chat with us was "if you need something, just come tap me on the shoulder".
To combat my nerves I turned to the woman beside me and chatted her up during the 20 minute safety procedure recording (did it say something about parachutes??). My first question: "Have you been on this flight before?" her answer was reassuring, she said it would be bumpy and loud. I loved her honesty. If she would have said smooth sailing and I felt so much as a bug hit the plane I would have sweat myself dry. But because she prepared me and I knew what I was in for, I was ok. And as it turned out, it was the smoothest flight on a Beechcraft, ever. We talked almost the whole 40 minute flight, nearly shouting at each other because of the propellors' volume (loud was a bit of an understatement after all).
Go, talk to a stranger today.