Conversation with a stranger & social norms

Last night was a fun dinner and movie night for my husband and I. When we got to the theatre we were the only ones there and we decided to play a game of Sudoku together before the previews. We had just started our game when this man, probably around late 60’s, walked in and asked if these were the best seats, which happened to be in the aisle across from us and we laughed lightly and said yes. The next thing we knew we were engaged in a pleasant conversation with this complete stranger. As a few more crowds came in we kept talking with this man until the previews started. 

This made me think about my Social Psychology class. We had been talking about various social behaviors that people follow in day to day life, like for example the expected behavior when you walk into an elevator and how people react when you break that social norm. My experience in a theatre had been that people usually just keep to themselves and talk with the person(s) they came with. It’s interesting that we can sit in such close proximity to someone and yet we respect that space and privacy. Well this man was sitting across the aisle from us and it was really nice to talk with him and hear his stories. 

I like how my husbands says it, that you never know what you might learn from someone if you just take a chance to talk with them or if you greet someone you just might get a warm greeting back. Of course it’s always wise to use your better judgment, but it’s true, you might hear an interesting story or have a different experience.

I’m glad that this man decided to strike up a conversation with us last night. I learned that he’s very proud to be a grandfather and loves his grandkids. I think everyone has something great to share about themselves and I think sometimes we take for granted the life experiences we can learn from listening to someone.


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