When I woke up this morning, I caught this thread on Twitter from Asha Rangappa and was instantly taken.

Her premise: Spending just a moment engaging with a stranger in a kind way can create ripples that make the world, quite literally, a better, more enjoyable place.

It’s an idea we’ve discussed frequently — I talked about practicing simple acts of kindness most recently in our book club chat about Angela Santomero’s Radical Kindness.

Related: 19 random acts of kindness you can have fun doing with your kids

The idea came to Rangappa, a frequent political pundit and Yale senior lecturer, when she sat on an Amtrak train, randomly striking up a jovial conversation with another passenger about a book. She described how their chat impacted other passengers on the train in noticeable ways.

In other words, hearing happy strangers talking to each other just made other people happy too.

#speaktostrangers challenge: 30 days to a kinder world
Photo Trung Thanh on Unsplash

Haven’t you experienced this? I know I’ve tried to play peekaboo with crying toddlers on hot subway cars, and when the child starts laughing, the rest of the car lightens up. I’ve seen random people connect on the street over a team hat or a slogan t-shirt or a newspaper article one is reading, and then even more join in. I take the time to look a harried cashier in the eye, and ask her sincerely about her day — then watch her mood lighten immediately as she moves onto the next customer.

It’s so simple. And it feels really good.

And hey, haven’t we parents all had some nice conversation with a parent on a playground bench who we’ve never met, once our kids discovered each other on the monkey bars? We may never see them again (my Brooklyn neighborhood gets a lot of tourists), but we’re left with that amazing feeling.

Asha’s suggestion: “A 30 day challenge where people committed to just interacting with complete strangers for 1, 3, 5 minutes” — someone you don’t know and will probably never see again.

She goes on to point out that it may seem small, but if it was consistent, and multiplied each day by 2 million interactions, where would it bring us?

Related: Kindness Crate combines crafting and compassion for kids

As someone who could use some random doses of kindness and happiness in my own life, I’m all in. But then, if you couldn’t tell (ha), I’m the type who talks to strangers all the time. I’m sure it will be harder for others to put down the phone, look up, and make a connection.

IRL. Not online, not on the social medias.

But then, that’s why it’s so rewarding.

Let us know here, or on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook if you try it. Share your experience and use the hashtag #speaktostrangers. I’d really love to know some of your stories! I bet they’ll be awesome.

Top image: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This