Talk to strangers.
They offer the right mix of humanity and anonymity that thrills a confession. Many people I have spoken to have reaffirmed that some of the most honest conversations they’ve had are with insignificant strangers in their lives. The characters flit away to live their respective lives blithely unaware that they’ve left a lasting toeprint.
Some conversations are like that. They leave you spent and quivering because they hit you in the gut with such force. You never see them coming. And before you know it secrets leak out of you. Sometimes in return you are also rewarded with rare and honest divulgences. It scares and exults you to see how much of what you think are extremely private thoughts are actually relatable to another random person.
It is one of the reasons why many of our close friends, spouses, siblings, and parents are much more interesting at times to another person than they are to everyday relations. They can be witty, flirty, honest, passionate for that small window of time, carefully curating information that builds a new unblemished persona for a short while before reality hits and they are forced to acknowledge their pimples.
But isn’t it in such sparks of honesty that an individual measures his worth? They reveal hidden desires, fantasies, fears, frustrations without encumbrances and judgments. Like sexual tension, they melt when analyzed deeper. Such conversations lie dormant, like unused and unreturned discarded gifts, a throwback to vulnerable moments of honesty. Maybe that is why such honest conversations are avoided. How then to look into a chance confidante’s eye afterward without unseeing their deepest thoughts. We feel naked in front of them. Isn’t that infidelity, cheating someone who has always been in our lives and therefore has the first right to information? Are we then acknowledging that we want something different, that we are someone different however briefly? It asks difficult questions to which there can be exquisitely delicate answers. Answers that can take us through moors and marshes of our heart, revealing hitherto untrodden mossy hideaways.
Every one of us has a story to tell. How engaging that is depends on how self-aware we are. How interesting it is depends on how articulate we are. How sweat inducing that is depends on how brazen we are.
Talk to strangers. They surprise you. I promise. I met some of them.