We are surrounded by strangers. Think about it. Everywhere you go, there are all these people you don’t know. But every now and then, paths cross, and you bump into one of these strangers. Sometimes literally, mostly figuratively.
But you have a lot in common with them. Besides from the obvious resemblances, like that you both have a nose and two ears. You might share the same hopes and dreams without ever knowing that. Then again, hopes and dreams are less obvious then noses and ears.
We mostly don’t interact with the people we don’t know. That’s ok. But when you do, you get to share a short moment with that person. If it is a happy moment, even if it is very short, it can brighten your day and make you smile. I think it has something to do with feeling connected, belonging, and sharing values in a particular moment. Sometimes such a moment can give you a glimpse of insight in who these people are, and how they are just like you.
So why don’t you actively engage in these moments more often? Why don’t you talk to strangers (besides from our mom telling you not to)? Sometimes there is just no real reason to, and the threshold is high, even if you are interested in engaging with someone.
For my design project, I am looking into the aspect of social interaction at the moment. Perhaps I could design a system that would not only make people play, but that also brings people together. That’s why I have been looking at moments of social confrontation with strangers. I think they are an interesting base for design.
So I guess what I am trying to say, is that I am going to help people bump into each other…
Did you have any interesting encounters with strangers lately? Do you have any moment to add to my little sketches so far?
(Oh also, in case you haven’t noticed but do want to check it out, my blog has a Facebook page now)