Have you ever found yourself telling a stranger your life story and wondered why the words are flowing so easily? Why when your best friend asked you how you're doing, you said "fine" — and yet this person, this bartender, this waiter, this passenger, this pedestrian — when they asked you how you were, probably only to to be polite, you told the truth for the first time in a long time?
Why are we more likely to be honest about our love lives with there person serving us beer, than the person we're in love with? Why do we share little pieces of ourselves with people on trains and planes and automobiles? Last week, I left a party and ended up talking more to my UberPool mate than I did to any of my friends inside. I told the ice cream man that I was quitting my job before I gave notice. I told the Trader Joe's bagger that it's been a rough winter. Why do these lovely strangers know more about me than my lovely friends? Why am I so willing to tell a sea of strangers on the Internet about my feelings, but can be so tight-lipped and at a loss for words in person? These are six reasons why sometimes it just easier to open up to a stranger.
When you share something with a stranger, you're at least acutely aware of the fact that they didn't know you existed before that moment and won't ever see you again. Having no context to digest the information with, they're forced to have a relatively unemotional and objective response.
Maybe there's something you've been dying to get off your chest but you don't want to live in the reality of a world where this secret is not. If you share it with a stranger, you release the tension and still keep your personal world away from it.
Sometimes strangers are more blunt with each other than friends. Surely it depends on what context you meet, but if you're sitting at a bar, telling your bartender you cheated on your partner, he's probably not going to make you feel better about it. Maybe that's what you need.
Broaden Your Horizons
It's always good to add new voices to your collective chorus of reason. Getting to know someone new can only expand your mind and perspective. Don't be afraid to make friends with people who are unlike you. If you're opening up to someone unlike yourself, chances are you're trying to broaden your horizons.
This person doesn't know you. They don't know your reputation. They don't know how people think of you and the value of your word. It's nice to talk to someone who can speak to you without knowing your baggage or holding a bias.
When you know you won't see the person again, you're a little too comfortable. You'll literally tell them anything in the world.
Images: Giphy, Fox