Is it easier to be honest with complete strangers?
I once met a man on a plane and started telling him things I found difficult to tell people I knew. Difficult, because I feared judgement from my circle and how they would view my choice. With this stranger, there were no strings attached. After a few minutes of friendly ice-breaking banter and establishing that he wasn’t a psycho, I blurted out what I had kept to myself for a while. It was a relief – he went through a similar experience and encouraged my decision. He reminded me about the importance of discovering new things, re-aligning priorities, and getting to know myself. It was a short yet uplifting conversation. He is now a friend.
It’s funny who we end up trusting. People we’ve just met could give us a sense of security, yet we sometimes find it difficult to tell our parents certain things because we already know their reaction upon finding out. I have a friend I’ve known over a decade whom I sometimes purposely withhold information from because I know she would disagree with my ideologies. The rule I go by is, “if it doesn’t help build up the relationship, then keep it to yourself”. Those who advocate complete honesty would disagree with this way of life. But there comes a point when there’s no point in explaining or arguing – the deeply held beliefs of the two people in conversation could never be reconciled.
It is therefore easier to be honest with strangers, because you don’t care if they judge you or not. They’re not yet friend nor foe. If that stranger happens to ‘get it’ and you strike a lovely conversation, what a bonus. If he doesn’t, then you haven’t lost much since you’ll likely never see him again.
Have you come across strangers you instantly trusted?