Malcolm Gladwell`s new book „Talking to strangers“ is out and available on paperback. I already have started reading. Interesting as always, inspiring also, it provokes a lot of thoughts within me. I don`t ponder all of them at lengths, I also read this book just for entertainment; but one question pops up again and again: who is a stranger? Or better: who is no stranger to me? I`m afraid I don`t even know myself and my innermost motivations completely, let alone someone I meet from time to time or even only once.
Are we, in the end, all strangers to each other? On top of that: Communication doesn`t automatically and always result in understanding. What I hear and what I understand may be two different things – not to speak of what the other one meant with her or his words. There is much more possibility to misunderstand or misinterpret, what was said, than to get it all right. (And we didn`t even start to think about body language and gestures or cultural differences…)
It`s a wonder we manage to get along at all!
Maybe the situation with strangers is comparable to the encounter with an iceberg: We see only the tip of the other one. If we don`t get too close this doesn`t matter – we may stick with our superficial first impression. As soon as we draw nearer, have to confront someone, or must deal with each other in any way: there will always be a good chance to collide…