Conversation with strangers

It’s a strange feeling, going from complete strangers to becoming more familiar with each other. A “Hello” followed by “Can I have a quick moment with you?” was nerve-wracking, to say the least.

I volunteered to organize one of SFU’s Game Lounge sessions and safe to say, my first day was very busy. Many students came to try out the games on display. Luckily apart from the initial greeting, the topics flowed quite naturally as I ask people what kind of games they like playing. Then it became a casual conversation like you would have with a friend about what things excited them. It was a quick progression.

I find the conversation starter to be the most anxiety-inducing, especially if you have no idea what the other person would want to talk about. But once the ball starts rolling, it tends to be a pretty smooth exchange.

The body language. The minute gestures. The facial expressions. These immediate indicators allow us to communicate our intentions clearly even if we were to lack clarifications.

The interaction I had was also successful because I had a background event to help guide me and others into a natural atmosphere where conversations are simply bantering. There are no stakes. And given the natural assumption of us all being students also gave it a reassuring factor as well whereas online might lack that. However, online interactions can be just as relaxed as well if you can gauge people’s responses to the topic at hand.

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