I noticed an interesting social phenomenon years ago at college. I was standing at an Indonesian cultural fair and I was appreciating the artwork of a small Indonesian chest that was on display.
A person walked up next to me and I somehow mistaken him as my friend, whom I have known for quite awhile. It was probably because he was wearing the same shirt as my friend was wearing all the time and had a similar hair style.
I said to him “Hey, look at this chest here. It’s quite intricate isn’t it? I had a chest like that once. My grandfather once gave it to me and told me to put my most valuable items in it. So I had my stuff in there like Yo Yo’s and Pokemon cards…”
I went on with my conversation for 5 minutes and he just went along with. Eventually, I realize that we have not met before. Despite feeling a little bit silly, I just went on with the conversation with him. We conversed a little bit more and eventually introduced ourselves. We shared a little bit more about ourselves before agreeing to hang out later. I just made a friend that day.
There’s an interesting phenomenon when you just opening up yourself to a stranger. He or she will just follow along with the conversation. When you just assumed that you have known him or her for a long time, the conversation happens naturally. There will not be as many awkward reactions you see from the person as you think there would.
The reason that something like this can happen is that situations are always ambiguous, but you can always dictate what happens in them especially if you show your confidence in the interaction. In my example, I assumed that the stranger was someone I knew for a long time and it wasn’t hard for me say what it’s in my mind. My conversation was just natural and was smooth. It was like a glitch in the matrix.
I am now more encouraged to open myself up in a conversation with anybody I meet. It is fun and spontaneous. Sure, some people may not be too receptive in the conversation at all, but there many people who will naturally go along with it. It makes traveling more interesting because you never know who you are going to meet. The next person you open yourself up to may become your great friend, a business partner or a potential love interest.