Guest Post: Talking to strangers may not be such a bad thing

“You never know who you’ll meet.” My friend Lani said this to me the other day, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Although she was referring to how she feels she always has to look put-together when she leaves the house, I think this line can also be applied to the everyday interactions we have with those around us.

I was skiing with my dad and sister at Mt. Hood during the last weekend of spring break. It was a bright, sunny day and it felt great to be with my family doing something we all loved.

In the early afternoon, I hopped on the chairlift with a guy I didn’t know. The guy was older, about 50, and we talked about snow conditions and his profession. Turns out he was working with a buddy to redesign a nightclub in downtown Portland that would combine dancing and drinks with a unique Chinese restaurant. I was fascinated by his project because I want to go into entertainment PR and possibly do promotions for a nightclub just like the one he was talking about. He told me that getting my foot in the door of the entertainment world was hard, but anyone who had a strong personality could do it.

As the chairlift reached the top of the mountain, he wished me luck on my future career and told me if I was ever in Portland to stop by the old Galaxy to see what the place had become.

Though our conversation didn’t last longer than two minutes, I gained valuable knowledge about a possible future career and got some good advice from someone in the business. What started as ordinary small talk easily slid into a motivating and encouraging encounter with a perfect stranger. Through this small interaction, I realized that everyone around me has an interesting story to tell and striking up a conversation is the first step to hearing this story.

Have you had a conversation with a stranger that inspired you to move forward with your career?


 Amy Holm is a junior at Western Washington University majoring in public relations and minoring in history. She is passionate about connecting with lots of different kinds of people and using those skills to help others get where they want to go. She is interning at the Smithsonian this summer, so hopefully that will provide a sense of a career path for her. To learn more about her, follow amyholm31 on twitter or visit


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