When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You

Turn conventional wisdom on its head and discover the transformative possibility of talking to people you don’t know—a simple yet powerful source of energy that can bring beauty into every day of our lives. In this age of increased isolation, when so many of us are disconnected from the day-to-day world around us, engaging with people we don’t know—opening ourselves up to new experiences—is needed more than ever before. Talking to a stranger pulls you into a shared humanity, it’s a source of creative energy, it opens your world, it cements your relationship to the places you live and work and play, it’s a beautiful interruption in the steady routines of our lives. Talking to strangers wakes you up. But how does stranger interaction really work? When Strangers Meet explains that there are unwritten rules by which people know whether someone wants to be talked to, or not, and that govern our entrance into, and exit from, interactions. Sharing an unexpected moment of honesty and recognition—whether it is the nod that happens when two strangers lock eyes and ask, “how are you?” or a moment stolen to confide—is a special form of intimacy that is distinct from the daily intimacies we share with those we’re closest to. It’s necessary to our happiness. Ultimately, When Strangers Meet explores the rich meanings that exist in these experiences of fleeting intimacy and connection, and that linger in our hearts. Author Kio Stark renders visible the hidden processes by which we decide who to trust in passing, and the unwritten rules by which these encounters operate. For readers from Topeka to Tokyo, When Strangers Meet teaches how to start talking to strangers, and includes adventurous challenges for those who dare. Most of all it’s a sentimental education for a new way to love the world.

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Sarah Hiner

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Describes how lives can be enhanced by talking to strangers, drawing on the author's personal stories of brief encounters that she views as beautiful interruptions and sources of creative energy and teaches readers how to begin this practice.
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