Even when I have deep fulfilling relationships with people close to me, I feel uneasy to admit it but I have always found a certain kind of solace in talking to strangers. Or opening up to them. I’ve never understood why and most of the answers to that seem regular. You know the kind, that justifies the act to cover up a deeper psychological tornado.
The popular answer to this behavior, is that, it’s easier to open up to someone when there are zero stakes in it. The person barely knows you and can’t hurt you with the personal details either way. Unless you’re a billionaire. Which you’re not.
I’ve thought about the kind of conversations that I have with strangers. And I think about such things often, because I am remarkably fluffy in the head. What I noticed is most of the conversations revolve around who am I as a person and what do I want in life. What is in my bucket list. What are my sexual preferences. How do I want to spend my life.What do I think of life and God. So on. Now, it’s not like I haven’t had such conversations before with people close to me. I have opened up and I have talked about these things at length with them, but there is still that craving of talking to someone new. What is so magical about unfamiliar people? Is it really about the people or is it the constant urge for self discovery that attracts us to unfamiliar people?
For example, I was a certain person in 2016. Throughout 2017, so many variables have changed and influenced who I am and what I want. Nothing is static right? Now a friend who knows me from 2014, will not ask me ‘who are you this year Priyanka’? That’d be a psychotic move. I mean although I know that he/she feels different too but it’s just weird to keep asking ‘who are you as a person and what do you think about life? ‘ every six months.
Whereas with strangers you can keep answering that with different answers overtime, and eventually mapping who you’ve become and what you now want.
Now talking about the past and future. Have you noticed how everything done in the past seem very dramatic and story-like? And everything in the future demands accountability for your actions. For example, if you are a stranger reading this and I told you that I’ve killed someone 12years ago, you’d be curious about the how and why. Maybe in awe, maybe afraid of me. But you’d still be curious and dramatize it. Now if you’re a friend and I tell you that I am gonna kill someone after six months. You’d be horrified and ask me to account for my actions and also think I’m evil and a terribly screwed person. Maybe even report my blog! To tone it down, strangers usually accept the past screw-ups very casually and empathize, whereas people who have known you will ask for answers. Which might be right or wrong, but that’s not the point here.
I think we’re inherently trying to know more about ourselves through others. It’s not the people who attract us. I mean how many varieties of ‘awesome’ can humans really be? They’re humans after all, with basic psycho-social needs. But the constant craving to know ourselves better. That shimmer of hope to discover ourselves in an unfamiliar light. Repeatedly re-evaluating who we are and what do we want through different interactions and experiences seems like a plausible reason.