Live a Great Story Challenge 3: Sit Down With a Stranger

As a new Live a Great Story Ambassador, I'm participating in our weekly challenges. I am posting them because I feel that all anyone really needs is to know is that they aren't alone. Sometimes that's enough.


Challenge #3: Sit down with a stranger


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Because it hasn't been hard enough for me to make (lasting) friends in Tampa Bay, this is the challenge this week?

Okay, fine.

I decided it would be better for me to try this in a few different manners. I both went out in public and would ask to sit down randomly near/next to someone. Additionally, I put myself out there, in various situations, to see if people would respond in a friendly manner to me. I also observed friendships of the strangers around me.

Sit down with random stranger

I went to a few different places and would ask to sit down next to people after picking up my order. I tried to made it look like I would be staying for a little while by bringing my MacBook and some work to focus on if this didn't lead to a conversation. Sometimes, I offered my name to the person immediately after asking if I could sit with them.

It was almost a complete failure. Literally, no one wanted to talk to me after I was seated and introduced myself. People were on their phones or laptops and far too focused on that for human interaction. It was a sad day.

The only thing that made it not a total and complete failure was one man outside of a place I was working in Downtown St. Pete. I had asked to sit down with him, and we had been there together, making light small talk for about 20-25 minutes when he got a phone call and had to leave suddenly. He told me that I could have his parking spot because his meter was paid for 2 more hours as he wasn't expecting to leave so abruptly.

That small exchange was enough for me to think that I would have enjoyed getting to know him. It makes me feel like this attempt at the challenge was worth it.

As a side note, I hope everything eventually ended up being okay with whatever his emergency was.

Meet new people

I had been thinking recently that I wanted to get involved in a few different things that I used to do for fun in New York before I moved to the Tampa Bay area. Stand-Up. Roller Derby. Acting. Writing Workshops. Art.

I kinda just wanted to feel creative again, you know?

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And a lot of aspects of certain things are going very well. For the most part, I'm getting along with people I'm meeting and they are interested in what I have to contribute. I met with an acting coach for lunch and we had a really great talk about her style. I also found out that there is some previous editing work that needs to be completed, so I'm going to finish that up for them.

On the other hand, I've gotten pushback from some people in some of the things I am trying to get involved with again. Pushback that makes my stomach drop, remembering the last time situations went that way. Granted, things aren't predestined to always go that way, but it's a slippery slope and we're halfway down the hill already.

At this point, I'm re-evaluating my involvement in those particular activities. 

Observe

Alternatively, I experienced a sort of voyeuristic friendship. Monday, I didn't get a chance to read the challenge email before I went to the theater, alone to watch Call Me By Your Name for my review. I specifically picked a time of day that would almost guarantee a certain type of person to be watching alongside me in the theater. I went at a time that older, adult, gay men would be going. Not quite retirees, but close. I was going for an audience of older men that could afford to take the early afternoon off from work to go see a movie with some friends.

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I feel like sometimes if you pick the audience, you can pick how you will relate to the film. I could hear whispers between groups of friends during the film: "Do you remember that one guy when we were kids? Oh my god..." and "I felt that way when I met you."

I can relate to that feeling. So I can get into the mindset of who the filmmakers were trying to talk to in a specific film. That's how that works.

But on Monday, when this all happened, I went home sad. I drove home listening to a playlist of music I remember hearing in the city, with friends from school. Nostalgia in that moment made me so emotional and sad.

And, what'd you learn?

I learned I miss the life I lead in New York. I don't particularly want to move back to the state of New York, with winter and snow. But I'd like to have a bunch of different groups of friends. I'm just not sure if there are people in the world that also want that or have space for new people in their lives.

So I'm not really sure, to be honest.

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