Today, I came across this awesome startup called Tea with Strangers. Surprisingly enough, the company aims to help you have tea with strangers. Started by Penn grad Ankit Shah, TWS hosts meetups at local cafés and coffee shops for strangers to talk for about two hours and see what happens.
In an age where the most common forms of communication are text-based (email, texts, blogs, etc.), it’s refreshing to see a company move back to the most core way of communication – conversation. The childhood advice was “Don’t talk to strangers,” but it’s so different as I grow older. A conversation with a stranger now is less likely to end in my kidnapping and more likely to end with a smile and learning something new about someone new. I’ve always wanted to talk to strangers and have awesome conversations about life and learn something super cool. Before every flight, I hope that I find a seat next to someone exciting who will see what I’m reading or watching and ask me about it to start a super fun conversation.
However, if you know me at all, that’s where my connection to conversation pretty much ends. As much as I love the idea and the results of it, talking to strangers is incredibly difficult for me. I’ve always been shy and extremely quiet, so only now am I beginning to be able to do simple things like order food while adding small talk and have semi-successful interviews. A year of working in my school’s attendance office and conversing with parents has built my abilities a little more, but I think a program like TWS would give me the opportunity to try to build my skills further without having to actually start the conversations and knowing that the other people will actually want to talk.
Unfortunately, TWS is not yet in Atlanta and won’t be in Atlanta for a little bit. I guess my conversation skills will have to continue to have little practice for a while and I’ll try to talk to strangers.