You’re an Adult, Now.
As children, we’re given loads of advice from our parents. We are taught to look both ways when crossing the street and never to talk to strangers. Ingrained in our heads from the moment we can walk and talk, these universal warnings are undoubtedly imperative for a child’s safety. But as we grow older and gain a sense of instinct, is the latter always applicable?
Enter a crowded subway in Manhattan or a Starbucks hitting its morning rush. Both settings full of busy New Yorkers but it’s just about guaranteed that you won’t see two strangers interacting in either scenario. These days, it’s considered a breach of space. With the advent of iPods and cell phones, we have the ability to give off the “I’m unapproachable” vibe, just by plugging in our headphones or pretending to sift through emails.
Twenty years ago, this would never have been the case. Maybe we would have been forced to chat in a coffee shop, because no one would be staring at a laptop. We probably wouldn’t be so nervous to sit across from a stranger at a small table. Is this behavior something that we’ve taken from our childhood, or have we have adapted to the societal behavior of keeping to yourself and minding your business?
Sure, like any child, I heeded these warnings from my mother, but there’s got to be a balance. There is a reason why New York City can be a terribly lonely place. 8 million strangers with extremely different lives and backgrounds brush shoulders with each other as they go through the motions of every day life.
You just might be surprised if you talked to one of them.