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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Talk To Strangers
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

When we’re kids one of the first pieces of advice our parents tell us is “don’t talk to strangers.” Once we’ve become adults, however, the “don’t talk to strangers” rule needs to be flipped completely. Talk to strangers. Do it often. Wonderful things await you. A perfect example of this happened to me last week.

Last Wednesday I was in New York City for two events; the Smif N Wessun album listening session and the Nikon 4 to the Floor Tour. Smif N Wessun was on the east side while the Nikon event was on the far west side. This meant I had some maneuvering to do. When I left the Smif N Wessun party I noticed a woman in green who seemed to know a few of the other people there, though she hadn’t been at the event, and was walking in same direction as I was. Not really knowing where I was going I asked her if I was headed in the right direction for the F train. She said yes, which meant I wasn't a complete directional moron (at least not this time around). I followed up by asking her where she was going, figuring we could walk together and she could then point me in the right direction when we parted ways. As it turned out she was also going to the 4 to the Floor Tour event at Buddha Bar. This struck up an obvious conversation; what were we each doing there?

There aren’t a lot of people covering both Duck Down Records (the label Smif N Wessun are on) and 4 to the Floor type of events so we both knew we’d be able to connect on something work-related. It turned out she was in PR. We exchanged info and, since she had to make a stop before heading to the event, we parted ways with the knowledge we’d meet again in the club.

After being slightly lost (damned Little West 12th) we met at the event, where I also met three of her friends, and she invited me to another event in the city that was going on Saturday afternoon at a clothing store called Cockpit. Since I was going in that morning anyways for my buddy Adam Zaslow’s A.S.Z. Charity event I said heck yeah I’d be there. Turns out I was also going to score myself a sweet pair of PF Flyers thanks to the clothing store event. The shoes, however, are not the biggest prize of this story.

On Saturday morning I met up with two friends for the charity event. Afterwards we made our way to the clothing store where we bumped into my new PR contact and her three friends from Buddha Bar. After some conversation I tried on a pair of shoes. The girl next to me saw I was having trouble lacing them up (I felt like the slow kid in kindergarten that still eats paste) and offered to do it for me. She was there with a friend and we got to talking and since they hadn’t eaten and we were about to eat I invited them to join us. They did. The five of us headed out, at which point I called a sixth friend to join us.

Getting along perfectly we decided to head to a bar. My sixth friend called a seventh friend and while waiting for him an eighth friend just happened to walk by and join us. So suddenly it’s 6pm and there are eight of us stumbling into a bar to have a good time. Tracing it all back none of this would have happened if I hadn’t talked to a stranger on Wednesday night and then continued to talk with strangers throughout the evening and then again on Saturday. On Sunday I added the new friends who I’d had lunch and drinks with, as well as the folks I had met at Buddha Bar and seen again at Cockpit, to my Facebook and MySpace pages to keep in touch. This is one instance where the internet is pretty fantastic. It would have been quite the effort to keep in touch with six new people back in the day, but that’s not a problem anymore.

Rewinding a bit, Saturday night actually ended with us splitting off into smaller parties. Five of us went back to one of my friend’s places in The Village where we drank and hung out for the rest of the night on his 13th floor balcony that overlooks the city, but if I hadn’t talked with a stranger, and kept talking with strangers, my Saturday would have been much different, probably still enjoyable, but thanks to all the new people involved it turned out to be amazing. So talk to strangers. If they don’t talk back it’s no loss, but if they do there’s a chance you can enhance each other’s lives immeasurably. Besides, when was the last time you made a new friend?


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:54 AM  
  • At 12:51 PM, Blogger Nicole said…

    Hi, Random Shoe-lacer here!

    I am an avid believer in the power of talking to strangers. Everyone you meet has the potential to be your next partner in crime. So glad you are spreading the good word :)

  • At 5:39 PM, Blogger I Sort Glass said…

    I wanted to be the first to respond but Firefox was acting up earlier.

    Great article Adam...

  • At 11:21 PM, Blogger Prin said…

    I concur. :) They're only strangers until you start talking.

    When I was in Ireland, a kid started talking to me randomly on the street and I interrupted him to ask, "Didn't your parents ever tell you not to talk to strangers?" and he replied, "No, why would they do that?"

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Stamford Talk said…

    Adam, I totally agree. Talking to strangers is a key tenet of my life and hence the byline of my blog. Just last night at dinner, I said to a friend, "Where I'm from, talking to strangers is like.... it's like a SPORT." It horrifies my New Yorker husband, but ya know what, people like me way better than him. I was happy to see you post about something that people in the northeast don't do enough.

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Frank Zen said…

    Word up! Talking to strangers is my favorite thing to do! That's why I like alot of states outside of Fairfield County. Sometimes you get weird looks in these parts haha.

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