Sunday, May 24, 2009

Talking to Strangers

Task #20. Buy 20 dollars worth of flowers and give them away to complete strangers

I have been visiting my hometown this past week and seized the opportunity to hang out with my oldest friend and her new young daughter. I've known her more than 15 years, and when I am with her, am amazed at how we grow and change (she's got nursing "assets!") and how we stay the same (she still despises her hair). I love the fact that I am my most comfortable self around her, goofy, but sharp and witty, and not having to prove myself to her. Thus is the magic of a long, shared and seasoned history.

When she asked what I wanted to do, I came up with this task.

She was hesitant. "People will think we're weird."

"So what?" I explained it was about our intention, our energy, not their responses.

So I bought $20 of Gerby Daisys and purpley blooms and arranged them into 6 different bouquets with lables like "Wishing you Laughter," "May you feel hopeful," and we walked up and down a local outdoor shopping area trying to find people to leave them with.

Some blustered in guardedness (a new mom in a stroller), others in shyness (a pimply faced 16 year old boy selling hot dogs) and some in delight ("A co-worker walked out this morning, are you serious?").

The point remains: people can be surprisely closed off to receiving love, to the opportunity to be touched. And yet, a tiny bit of persistence chips away at that wall, and pushes beyond our comfort zone, to confirm "we matter to each other."

Perhaps the boy tossed those blazing pink sunbeams. But maybe he didn't. Maybe this morning he is waking up to them, feeling a little bit more pleased with himself.

I certainly am!

Do you talk to strangers? I usually don't...but my friend's presence alivens me to be that outgoing version of myself.


  1. I have no problems talking to strangers. I mean, I realize that the best of friends were once strangers. I have found that most people are warm and friendly which helps me to continue talking to them (strangers).

  2. I love this! You know what? I bet that boy will remember your handing him those flowers for the rest of his life. You'll have no idea, but from time to time he will remember, smile, perhaps tell someone else. It's like a Ponzi Scheme for happiness!


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PhD in clinical psychology. Single. Pushing 30. Suffering Whiplash from the Roaming 20s...Who am I? What do I want? Where do I belong? Welcome to my self-induced treatment, a testament that we can all be a little crazy in our search for significance.