Music and the Spoken Word

Connecting Briefly with a Stranger - Sunday, October 27, 2019

As children, we are told, “Don’t talk to strangers.” That’s an important safety tip during childhood. But as adults, interacting with people we don’t know is a regular part of life. In fact, depending on the circumstances, there can be some valuable benefits to talking to strangers.

A relationship columnist for the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out that “sometimes a stranger—not a friend or a loved one—can significantly improve our day. A pleasant encounter with someone we don’t know, even a nonverbal one, can soothe us when no one else is around. It may get us out of our own head—a proven mood booster—and help broaden our perspective.” She went on to cite a research study that asked participants to talk to at least one stranger a day for five days; 99 percent reported that they found the experience pleasantly surprising, and most said they learned something from one of the strangers.1

And yet we hesitate to reach out to people we don’t know. Maybe we’re afraid that we won’t be received well, that we might say something foolish, or that we may not be interesting enough. Or perhaps we feel like we don’t have the energy or time for it. Quite simply, staying comfortably in our own world seems easier. But those who try to connect with strangers are usually glad they did.

One woman who was feeling down on her 48th birthday decided to cheer herself up by writing 48 letters to 48 strangers in 48 hours. She asked friends and family members for names of people who were sad or alone, and she wrote each one an anonymous note. She was surprised at how much love and compassion she could feel for people she had never even met.2

So don’t worry if you’re not skilled at making conversation. Connecting with another person is more about caring than competence. We just have to be a little brave, interested, and open to others. Whether in a classroom, on a bus or airplane, or in the aisle of a store, we can take a moment to connect with someone. And sometimes, such brief encounters just might improve our day in unexpected ways.

1 See Elizabeth Bernstein, “The Surprising Boost You Get from Strangers,” Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2019,
2 See Bernstein, “The Surprising Boost You Get from Strangers,”
Oct. 27, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,702

The Tabernacle Choir
Members of the Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Brian Mathias

Lloyd Newell

From All That Dwell below the Skies
John Hatton; arr. Mack Wilberg

The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Irish tune; arr. Mack Wilberg

In Thee Is Gladness
Giovanni G. Gastoldi; arr. Daniel Kallman

Psalm 19
Benedetto Marcello

More Holiness Give Me
Philip Paul Bliss; arr. Ronald Staheli

Simple Gifts
Shaker song; arr. Mack Wilberg

Rejoice, the Lord Is King!
Horatio Parker; arr. Ryan Murphy