Think about it. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife………. Every person you have ever met in your life (besides your family) was a stranger at one point.  What stands between someone you don’t know and someone you just met is a mere handshake.

You know that warm feeling you get when you watch all these older movies and someone is walking down the street with a big smile on his face saying hello to everyone? “Hello Bob” he says to the grocer and as he passes by the butcher, “Hey Jimmy, how are the kids?  Tell Jane that Nancy sends her regards and let’s have dinner soon”.  It just seems like the town we would all want to live in. In many ways, we all live in that town. It’s called the world. My wife Julie with local taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Once they were all strangers, now many consider her a friend.

The Importance of Talking to Strangers

We all have to take taxis, ride the bus, take airplanes, cross people in elevators, go to the local store……. so it’s easy to just say “Hello. How are you? My name is Georges. What’s your name?” What’s wrong with that?  Why wait for Christmas to be friendly?  “Don’t talk to strangers” is necessary for all of us to protect our kids but we may have taken that phrase a little too far. I always talk to strangers and I love it. It makes me feel vibrant. Why wait for a chance for someone to introduce you? Take an active role and talk to someone………….anyone.

My wife is the ultimate “people machine”.  One floor above our apartment in the hotel where we live, is one of the nightclubs that we (el-live Productions) supply bands to. Because of that, many of our bands pass through our hotel and whether we’re in the elevator, on the street or in the restaurant, she will strike up a conversation with people from all over the world and just before saying goodbye she’ll suggest “Hey, we have a great band upstairs in the night club. Why don’t you bring your friends and check them out?” Eight times out of ten, they show up.

From Thailand to Taiwan to Vietnam, all the street vendors, taxi drivers and shopkeepers know her by her first name. They look after her and my young son. They give her discounts, call her by her first name and always give her the widest smile. We go back to some countries four years later and everyone remembers her. Of course the fact that she speaks three languages perfectly and gets by with at least five more doesn’t hurt.

Making Friends Around The World

My wife and I have had the pleasure to live in ten different countries for at least four months at a time and it has changed our lives forever in the most amazing ways.  We’re now in our seventeenth year living away from Montreal, Canada, our home town.  We now live between Vietnam and Singapore and we literally have friends all over the world.

Granted, as musicians/artists we get to meet more than our fair share of people. I never looked at the audience as “IT”.  I always saw them as friends that I hadn’t yet met.

You don’t have to travel, speak a different language or be a musician to meet people. Look around you and say “Hello” to the first person you meet as he or she may turn out to be one of the greatest people you’ve ever met and could enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.

A mere “Hello” to a complete stranger could end up putting a smile on both your face and theirs………….. and that, my friends, wherever you are, is reason enough.What do you have to lose? No one is a stranger for more than one minute.

Thank you for reading, It’s good to be el-live.