Is it okay to talk to a total stranger?

June 30, 2011 10:40am CST
I was in a public hospital waiting for name to be called in order to see a doctor to get a medical certificate when a man sitting beside me suddenly started a conversation. Since I don't want to be rude, I responded and started to talk with with him in few words. He was talking about his eye problem, he was a fast talker and moved the topic from one to another. I made gestures that i'm losing interest yet he don't get any of it at all. I was so annoyed that i want to tell him to stop. But i don't want to embarrass or offend him. I was thankful that my name was called before i reached to that point, a relief in my part. is it okay to talk to a total stranger? do you find it hard to say to a stranger that you don't want to talk to them or that you find them irritating?
2 people like this
11 responses
30 Jun 11
i totally get how you feel, i hate people i dont know talking to me.. its ok if they are asking me a question, or if they start up a conversation and then take the hint if its obvious i dont wanna talk back etc but i hate people that just go on and on and on and its clear i dont wanna speak to them! theres no need for that, and i find it terribly irritating. especially if your in a hospital, or a queue or something and you just dont have the time, or patience lol! although, this probably sounds terrible, because i'd probably make more friends if i wasn't this way lol!
1 person likes this
1 Jul 11
thank you for understanding how i feel. talking to a stranger is really not bad but one must know the limitations and as to when to end it. a person must recognize gestures and verbal ques. actually, i feel bad for acting like that to him but i can't help it...his topics were way out of my interests and all i can hear is his nonstop talking.
1 person likes this
1 Jul 11
*cues....my mistake:). anyway, he was kind though, he approached me after he was seen by the doctor that he's going home already...and i smiled back at him.:)
1 person likes this
1 Jul 11
some people just don't understand boundries.. and boundries are veryyyyy important! lol!
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@GemmaR (8526)
1 Jul 11
I think that it is okay to talk with them, and in the past people did this a lot more. You are talking to total strangers now online, so why not talk to them in person? If you're waiting for a doctor's appointment, he might have been a little nervous about whatever his appointment was for and therefore wanting to talk to somebody to help to take his mind away from his nerves. I find this a lot in doctor's surgeries and hospitals just because of the nature of the place making people feel a little bit uneasy. You were right to talk to him, as you probably made him feel a bit better.
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@deebomb (15323)
• United States
30 Jun 11
Hello iheynne and welcome to myLot. I would have moved or pretended to sleep. But actually I like talking to strangers in hospitals and the grocery store. It helps the time to pass and I like learning about other people.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Jun 11
Personally, I don't mind talking to strangers, if we have managed to create and have a good rapport with me and we somehow manage to share an similar interest. However, in your situation, it seems that the person who encountered is looking for someone to talk to but he's not willing to listen at all. I think you have done the good thing and avoided him. Your attempts to drop the conversation , in my opinion, is not rude. Usually, I find comfort when strangers actually respond to me when I casually remark about something. However, if I were in your situation, I would rather ignore him and responded with him with silence. at least, he knows that I will appreciate if he stops talking to me as if we have something to continue on. I mean, if his purpose was to entertain himself while waiting, he should have least be sensitive to stranger's feelings that they don;t want to be disturbed or constituent a conversation. anyone who forces me to talk is an action that i detest in people.
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@Hatley (164654)
• Garden Grove, California
30 Jun 11
lhyenne here in t he US I guess alpt pf people who are super uptight will not talk to anyone that have not been introduced and scrutinized thoroughly but for heaven's sakes in a public hospital you will meet the public,gee whiz how awful bu t look you are part of that public and the man started talking to you was probably just as nervous and tired of waiting as you were. my g he is not thinking of raping you or hurting you he is just being friendly to ward off his nerves. I do not mind someone like that in a hospital setting. on a public bus here where we have a lot of illegals on the buses I mind my own business and do not encourage any talk at all.However In a hospital mostly ill people are waiting for different things to help them and are not out to do you in.
• India
30 Jun 11
yes it is a confusion. though you should be a good judge of the person in front of you. with in a few sentences said by that person you should make active decision whether you should continue to know other better or stop.
• Canada
3 Jul 11
Someone speaking to you in a hospital is a whole lot different than someone coming up to you in a dark alley somewhere. When people are stuck in waiting rooms for long periods of time, they get bored, nervous... and they feel a bit of a "kinship" with the other people doing the same thing. It's quite natural to turn to someone sitting close by and make idle conversation. The man was probably tired of sitting there alone, waiting to see a doctor, so he just wanted to talk. You said he was talking about his eye problem which he probably wouldn't do in a different setting. Everyone is there, waiting for the doctor, so he was just kind of "sharing." No need to be rude or get annoyed... if you don't care to have a conversation, get up and walk around, make a phone call, get some water, etc. People get the idea pretty quick when you don't want to talk to them. Alternately, simply be polite and say, "If you'll excuse me, I'm really not feeling well and I'd prefer to sit quietly" or "Please excuse me... I'd like to read my book now."
• Philippines
1 Jul 11
Sometimes whenever strangers approach me I also feel irritated. When I am not in the mood of talking and just choosing to be quiet I just make it plain and simple conversation. I don't want to be rude as well, but sometimes you should show the other party that you need the right to be left alone and they need to respect that. Anyway, I think that he's just trying to vent his feelings since you said that you were in the hospital. Probably he is just lonely and does not have any company where he can talk to.
@murkie (1105)
• Philippines
1 Jul 11
well, it depends on my current mood. but generally, there's nothing wrong with talking to strangers. as the saying quotes, strangers are just friends we haven't met. your bestfriend was a stranger once. yet you came to share your life with him/her. as long as they don't too annoying, or they do not imply an immediate threat, it's good to be conversing with strangers. especially if you have something new to learn. hey you are all strangers to me. yet, here i am discussing things with you.
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
1 Jul 11
For me it is okay but not get you heart involve to them because who knows they might you get your life true.
• Romania
30 Jun 11
According to the Bible, we're all brothers, so we're not so totally strangers after all. Practically, situations like that you were involved in happen. Not frequently, but sometimes they happen. And it's good to know what to do then because it's completely ridiculous to stutter or to get stuck. I believe that we are all human beings and we should treat each other accordingly. When a total stranger talks to you, it's polite to answer him unless he doesn't offend you. Give him a precise answer and try to be nice. If he continues to talk and you don't want to answer him anymore, try not to offend him by saying "Please, leave me alone, I don't like to talk to strangers" or similar stuff. Try to be subtle: pretend that you send an SMS or if you have a magazine or a newspaper read it. However, you could never know who is that total stranger who talks to you. As the parable says the rich man was waiting for Jesus with a rich meal and so on. Suddenly, somebody knocked at his door. It was a poor person looking for some food. The rich person banished him saying that he's waiting for important guests. After that the rich person asked Jesus why he doesn't come and Jesus told him that he came and the rich one banished him. Or, someday you could be the one who really needs to know something from a total stranger. Then, if he doesn't answer to you, you'd certainly change this aspect. So, always be polite when a stranger wants to talk to you.