365 Challenge: Day 234 – Stranger

Stranger: a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar


‘Stranger’ is one of those words that immediately evokes something negative in my mind. We tell children to stay away from people they don’t know. We doubt the honesty of someone we do not recognize. New or weird things encourage fear and nervousness. It’s probably healthy to have a normal level of apprehension over those things that feel strange to us. Where I try to push myself in these areas is to look at how I can convert the negative into the positive whenever I’ve deemed something I interact with as ‘strange.’ It certainly doesn’t work in all cases, e.g. children should always stay far away from people they do not know unless a familiar and friendly adult is also with them. But we should push ourselves to try new things in case we eventually find something we actually like or find a way to become comfortable in a slightly stretched out skin.

In the past, I was uncomfortable meeting new people because I didn’t know what to say or do. I don’t like small talk. I felt awkward figuring out topics. Although I love silence when I’m alone, it’s not a good feeling with someone you don’t know. While I am still a little uncertain at times around others I’ve just met, blogging has taken this fear away in many ways. I no longer worry about what to talk about with a stranger. I have so many new topics and ideas from everyone here, plus my confidence and voice have become stronger. It’s turned into a positive experience now when I meet someone new and find a way to bond or connect, even on something trivial or fleeting.

On the flip side, when I walk down the street, if someone I do not know tries to talk to me, I am immediately uncomfortable. ‘Stranger Danger’ flashes in my mind — and I’m an adult. The world we live in today is a scary place and I always worry that I need to look over my shoulder. Living in NYC in some ways gives you quite a thick skin; you learn to watch for things more acutely as there are more people and very different people around you at all times. Different in terms of attracting every sort of person from all industries, all walks of life and all hopes and dreams. If I lived in a smaller town, I might not worry when a random stranger walked up to me; that’s often considered normal. It’s not the case here, but it’s also something I learn to handle each and every day.

It’s scary when an incident like yesterday’s NYC terrorist attack happened several blocks away from me; it also reminds me to be leery of strangers as much as I am trying to find a way to open up to new people. I also don’t want to put on a mask of fear every time I walk out the door. In the end, I try to find balance in being safe, taking educated risks and keeping my guard up when someone new approaches me. Strangers live all around us. Many are good people. Many are just as afraid of us as we are of them. Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance to get to know the stranger who might end up becoming your friend or confidante.

Credit for today’s 365 Daily Challenge once again goes to Janet for suggesting this word. It took on a different meaning this week for me. Isn’t Janet great?


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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  1. Hi James. I agree with The Cozy Pages commentator. Your excellent piece brought to mind the moment I first recognized my innate fear of someone hiding behind a tree in the orchard I traversed, when running home at dusk. I have long been more afraid of humans than of things in the woods, (although a snake will make me jump if I stumble upon it). But I was in NYC (for the Combined Book Expo) last June. My impression of the experience is recorded in a little photo book you’ll see “up” on my website as soon as I figure out how to do that. That was an intense day for an old gal coming from a little cabin in the woods. …But I digress.

    I am very new to blogging and communicating via the internet…but you’re right. It is very freeing to find a few like-timbred voices to talk with, about non-political subjects, able to tap opinions that bubble up from the soul, being heard, without being seen: It’s like participating in an a truly honest discussion, learning to express one’s pure thoughts, and enjoying the resulting self-discovery. Come to think of it, that’s the premise of your 365 day challenge, is it not? Thanks for the blog, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An insightful piece…
    Ironic, don’t you think, that all of our friends and significant others etc etc were once strangers? You’re right, though; strangers are perhaps as scared and/or wary of us as we are of them.
    Also, glad to hear you’re safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m quite different on this front and maybe that is living where I live shining through. Unless my anxiety is on high alert I can be found randomly smiling at strangers walking down the street, and randomly striking up conversations with people for the hell of it. This isn’t common here, people still prefer the head down and plow through approach to life but I just like meeting people and enjoy chatting to different people especially from other countries. When I hear a foreign accent I’m on that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, glad to know you’re safe from yesterday’s attack.
    I have some serious anxiety when it comes to meeting new people or being in a group with people I don’t know. Blogging definitely helps though. Great post, as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad that you’re safe from the terrorist attack. Please be safe. I still want to read my “365 challenge” post. Haha.
    Even though I try to be calm when I meet new peoples these days, but the inside me still feel super uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good to know you are ok. Our son is in New York this week. He lives in London and so we had no idea where the office is he is working in in NYC. so we panicked a bit! But he got in touch and said he was ok. I think you have to be aware and be vigilant but not fearful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Once again I blush. Thanks so much for your kind words. I thought of you and another of my blogger friends right away when I heard about the attack because I’ve never been to New York so I don’t know how close anyone is to any of the landmarks. Glad to hear you are safe. I used to tell my kids all the time never to talk to strangers – including strangers on the internet – because you never know if they are telling the truth about themselves. Since the name of your blog is This Is My Truth Now, I must take you on your word. Actually though I have made several wonderful connections with people I’ve met online and have met in person a couple of them. There are people that make me hesitant about them though. I suppose that is inevitable. Maybe I rely on the smile thing too much, thinking that if they smile back at me they can’t be all bad? Great post, Jay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and you are welcome. It is hard, but after a long enough time period, I develop a good trust / bond with bloggers or those behind the internet wall. I’m all over the place, I don’t think I could possibly hide or fake anything without it being caught somewhere! LOL Hopefully everyone you know was ok here in the city.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I thought of you just as I thought again of my son who lived and worked in NYC when 9/11 happened. Thank heavens you are safe. I think your post shows great insight and I’m glad you are handling it this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m a native New Yorker so I know just what you mean. We tend to be more cautious. When I moved to the south and random people spoke to me it was a little unnerving at first because I wasn’t used to it. But now after living here for 14 years I find myself expecting it. When I visit NY, and a stranger doesn’t greet me, I feel offended. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I completely understand, as I’m not very different from you in how I feel about, and approach, people. That said, while we live in uncertain times, we can’t let the ugliness take away from the beauty. There are a lot of good (great!) things and individuals out there. Certainly it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant (as we should be), but we need to keep the faith: the positive does outweigh the negative, just as good does outweigh evil.

    Liked by 1 person

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