Talking to Strangers

December 05 2015

Hello Listservians! I hope everyone's having a lovely day/night!
I'm 18 years old, taking a gap year before I start college next fall and I have no real idea of what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sorry, I don't have any incredible stories, nothing extraordinary had happened to me yet.

I've recently discovered there are websites where you can anonymously talk to strangers. This was pretty crazy to me because I didn't use social media as a kid. It's fascinating, I've never before gotten the chance to encounter so many people, even if it's only text-based. Although there was an overwhelming number of people who just wanted to tali about sex, I did get to meet some interesting individuals.
I talked to someone in France, the day after the attacks. They had been celebrating their birthday at a restaurant near one of the bombings and now feels guilty for surviving. I met an Australian male stripper. A young women in North Korea broke me down to tears with her descriptions of the horrors of the famine happening there. I got to debate parallel universe theories with a man in Sweden and discuss the meaning of life with someone in Michigan.
What I love most about it is that you skip the small talk and dive straight into the important things, really connect to someone. It's the anonymity that allows that, I think. I'm rather unintimidating when I'm just words on a screen, so people just say what they feel.

On one particular site you can post a question for others to answer. Two people get matched together at a time, to discuss your question, but you can't contribute to their conversation, only watch. Oftentimes people post disgustingly rude things in the question section. I was astounded by the amount of hatred and racism. It's unreal.
So I started posting my own things. Just nice little messages in hopes of brightening peoples' days. Some were shocked at the kindness, which I found deeply disturbing, the fact that genuinely pleasant words from a stranger was rare and not something to be expected. Some people respond with angry, resentful words and call me vile names. I still don't know why. The whole anonymous factor, probably. The best is when people say, "I needed this" or "I'm having a rough time and this made me feel a little better." That's what makes it worth it. If I can make a difference in a few people's lives, even in this tiny way, then I'm going to continue doing it. At least until I figure out a way to reach people better.
I guess where I'm going with this is you never know when someone might need your concern, or patience, or love.

Have a wonderful day/night! Take care!
Send me an email if you want to talk about things I mentioned, or anything else in general. Space, books, food, religion, just want to rant, anything's fine!

[email protected]
Salt Lake City, Utah, US

comments powered by Disqus