Don’t Talk to Strangers

by | Jeri's Travels

Did your parents tell you all the time you were growing up, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”? Mine did. They wanted to keep me safe. They wanted to let me know that I couldn’t trust every adult. Yet talking to people you don’t know is a necessary skill once we become adults, to talk with new co-workers, bosses, clients, networking contacts. If we’re going to be successful, widening our circle is necessary. Many of us are hesitant, however, because that old warning is lurking in our subconscious mind shaping our behavior without us even realizing it. It’s limiting because we don’t learn very much, because we don’t grow our networks, because we’re so uncomfortable making cold calls, because clients/customers sense our hesitation.

Traveling alone I’ve met many people in the hostels I’m staying in, on the tours I’m taking, on the lines I’m waiting in. In this picture I’ve met 3 new friends, Emma, Emily and Prem. I just walked up to Emma who was sitting by herself at an outside bar near the Sydney Opera House and said, ‘Mind if I join you?’ She let me know she was expecting 3 friends and that I was welcome to join them. We got to talking and I learned that two of them had lived in the US near NYC and were able to compare their experiences living in both places, differences and similarities in word usage, love lives, parenting, travel, work, school. I learned what was important to them. It was wonderful.

I would have never had this experience if I hadn’t challenged an old parent based well-ingrained directive about not talking to strangers, and replaced it with ‘boldly talk to strangers.’

In your life or business, what old parent based well-ingrained directives and assumptions are you still maintaining even though they are limiting your experience and the results you’re getting in your life and business?

Here are some I’ve run across in my coaching work:

  • It has to be perfect before I can reveal it to anyone.
  • The world is black and white. There are no shades of gray or alternate options.
  • If I believe something new now, it means I was wrong before. I can’t admit that.
  • Vulnerability is a sign of weakness.
  • Failure shows how inferior I am and will result in rejection.
  • I have to do it all myself for it to be done right.


Try these on for size instead:

  • Progress, not perfection is the key
  • There are an abundance of alternatives. So open your eyes.
  • I evolve and there is accomplishment and pride in learning and moving past old beliefs.
  • Being vulnerable requires courage. It is the sign of ultimate strength.
  • Failing forward, using trial and error, gets you to what works so much faster.
  • I can multiply my effectiveness by delegating to those I’ve prepared or those who are more skilled in specialty areas.

Challenging old assumptions is life changing. I had to challenge some old assumptions for me to plan and implement this new lifestyle. It wasn’t easy. I had plenty of help from those who listened and encouraged me. If I can do it, so can you. If I can listen to and encourage you, please reach out.

#travelingwhileworking   #workingwhiletraveling

Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


She can be reached at:

I told people what I was doing


Now I want to share the change journey. Will you join me? Sign up for my personal insights into how to make big change happen.

Get Our 5★ Rated Book

Customer Loyatly Playbook - 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in your BusinessRead First Chapter Free




Thank you. I will reply within 24 hours, unless this is a weekend or a US holiday.