x Stranger Danger x

November 02, 2015

When I was growing up, strangers are a big no no. You can't talk to them. You can't be around them. I was skeptical of anyone who I've not met before or have no common acquaintance with.

But after moving out of my hometown to another country where I know no one except relatives and few friends, it is unavoidable to encounter strangers. I learned to step out of my shell and slowly warm up to people I've never met before.

In this modern time where everyone seems to make social media and pub hopping (and/or the likes) a part of their lives, odds are, you will chance upon a stranger. From online dating sites to Twitter followers to Instagram hashtags or followers, to cafe or pub hopping, there are strangers everywhere.

There are different kinds of strangers we will encounter. Most would probably be a one time encounter and some would stay and become friends with. I've met a lot of both. I've met people I've not personally met yet but keep in contact with through messaging. I've met strangers from travelling and still keep in contact with. Strangers are basically friends we've never met yet. But are all strangers worth being friends with?

For people who have been following my lame blogger life, you would somehow get that I have trust issues (thanks to all the wrong men I've loved before ROFL). Lies are easily used to front a good first impression. I met someone who said he was single. We hung out a couple of times and dearly enjoyed each other's company. To cut the long and boring story short, I found out that he is currently in a long term relationship. I had to (try) stop(pping) whatever was going on between us. Can someone please enlighten me why people do this?

I am not saying that everyone out there are bad and dangerous. In fact, there are still people out there who are genuinely nice and friendly. BUT this does not give you the assurance to let your guard down. Remember, not everyone you meet are as nice as Snow White (Uhm, what? Yeah you get what I mean lol).

Remember these 5 things when being around strangers for the first time (and 5 reason why you should not be afraid to meet one):

When meeting a stranger for the first time...

1. Never disclose personal details on the FIRST encounter (not even the second or third). First name is fine but your whole name including your mother's maiden name? Unless it's a job interview or a police investigation, go ahead. You may even say your dog's middle name.

2. Never trust your valuables around strangers (or trust them at all in general). Going for a bathroom break? Bring your handbag which carries your wallet and phone. You can never be too sure of these people. I have a friend who met someone who looks very decent - wears expensive clothes, speaks well and looks well mannered. She left her bag on the table and asked this guy to look after for her as she would just make a quick order of drinks, few seconds after standing up, the guy was gone and so were her stuff.

3. Do not get too drunk (aka wasted) ALONE with strangers. No this is something I've not done before. But it's basically self explanatory. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

4. (Try hard) not to fall in love on your first encounter. Is that even possible? Yes, it can happen. Although most of the time it is more just an infatuation than love, some people actually do develop certain emotions towards people they've just met. Yes, I very well know how this works. It can be both a good and a bad thing actually. Well, mostly bad haha. Just be careful. It can be a deep dark trap if the other party is not as interested as you are.

5. There can never be enough reminders to tell people how to act around strangers. There could be different situations that would require certain behaviours. Again, not everyone are threat to society but in the end, always think about your safety. There's nothing wrong with being (too) friendly but always keep your guard up.

But on the other hand, there are also 5 (awesome) things why we should let ourselves meet these "stranger dangers" at least once in our lives..

1. Expand your social circle. You don't want to be stuck with the same boring (I am joking friends and family) people for the rest of your life.

2. Connections. With strangers being friends, chances are you will meet someone who you will have (or need) connections with. One time, I headed an event where I needed a sound system, I remember that I had drinks with someone who was a friend of a friend that runs some sound system business. Problem solved and I helped him promote his business, win - win!

3. More stories, different experiences. Chances are, these strangers you meet will not be from the same walk of life as yours and this will bring about different kinds of stories and experiences. You will pick up life lessons and advises from different heads of opinions.

4. Chance on love. Well.. who knows? We all begin as strangers anyway, right? ;)

5. Lesson/s. Strangers, may they be a one time encounter or someone who will become a dear friend, or bring about heartaches or become the love of your life, will become a learning point in your life. Everyone we meet, I believe, did not just cross our paths to walk by. Everyone did or will do something significant. Now, with every encounter you will have, think about what story you will have with this person that is worth writing in your life's storybook (may it be good or bad.. think about it).

Hey there stranger, nice to meet you.

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