In Which We Talk To Strangers

The rural hamlet of Gig Harbor isn’t precisely known for its friendliness – quite the opposite, Gentle Reader. It’s commonly said to be quite snobby – and having lived here for a good many years, I have to unabashedly agree.  Further, it doesn’t exactly encourage… diversity. Self-expression. Differing from the herd. Um.


Not Pictured: Gig Harbor

While strolling through town the other day, I happened to remember that The List demanded that I, at some point, speak to every person to cross my path for an entire day. This seemed like an appropriate time for it, as I hadn’t seen anyone until I went on my walk, and I intended to go straight home afterward. This is known as cheating. Now, being me, I was dressed in my usual uniform – for those who are unfamiliar, think a plucky young lady from about 80 years ago.


This was sure to be exciting.

The Task: Speak to everyone to cross my path for an entire day

The Execution: This was more difficult than I anticipated, but as more and more of the passersby ignored me, the more determined I was to be aggressively charming to them. “Hello!” I would brightly intone, “How do you do?”

I must say that the most negative reaction I got was commonplace complete dismissal. More frequently, I’d get a smile back – particularly from joggers, who couldn’t spare breath to chat, I’m sure – and, once or twice, a frank and friendly brief conversation. Surprisingly, I got more hellos back than I didn’t.

The Verdict: Well, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to greet everyone I see ever again, but a cheery greeting to a stranger is no bad thing. I could stand to be more friendly to the world at large, and I really think that I’d like to be.

Also, I noticed that women were most likely to say hello back, and the older an individual was, the more inclined they were to be friendly. I don’t know what this indicates, other than perhaps elderly ladies see me as a kindred spirit.

Plucky Bernadette

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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3 Responses to In Which We Talk To Strangers

  1. deenietot says:

    I’m more likely to make eye-contact with a passerby who is older than I am, regardless of their gender.. and eye-contact often leads to a ‘hello’ or at least a smile from them. It’s like I’m intimidated by the youngsters, or even those who appear closer to my age, and I will either avoid their gaze by looking at the ground as I walk, or sometimes I’ll avoid them completely by crossing to the other side of the street earlier than intended (I don’t do that if it means going out of my way and having to cross back over). Pretty sure it stems from all the teasing I got from classmates, growing up. It was best to not make myself noticeable.. even a quick, accidental glance was an invitation for them to make fun of me.

    • Understandable! I’m pretty sure that I’m more direct with women than with the likely straight-dudes that I pass by – I’ve had some bad experiences, and while I’d rather not profile strangers, I don’t want any trouble.

  2. Emily says:

    I give pretty much everyone a “howdy” here in Baltimore and it generally works out really well. I get a lot of good mornings back, and “have a blessed day.”

    I do ignore the ones who are obviously on heroin, though.

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