As of the 2021 Canadian Census, approximately 3.05 million people live in The Lower Mainland. It’s safe to say that 3.05 million is a lot of people, especially people that I not only don’t know but people I have absolutely no connection with. Growing up in The Lower Mainland, I have realized that though it is quite big, somehow, I find that everyone knows each other.
If a stranger came up to me wanting to have a conversation, first, I’d wonder, do I somehow know this person? I would have varying emotions depending on my first impression of them and whether the environment is appropriate for a stranger encounterment. If I am interested, I am open to striking a conversation with strangers, if not, I go about my day.
When I stumble upon a person online, I typically look through their social media profiles to see what their online presence shows about them. Most of the time, a person’s online identity will tell you everything about them. Searching up a person will show you anything; their interests, their educational background, the city they reside in, and most importantly to me, the people we share mutuals with. Most of these aspects online gives me reassurance on the person as I can have some sort of initial judgment on them rather than seeing no online activity.
For this assignment, I figured since I am going to a social university event with two friends, I might as well talk to many strangers and write about the most interesting encounter. At this social university event, there were two lines; general admission and VIP admission. One of my friends lined up with me in VIP admission, and one lined up in general admission. I told my friend in the general admission that I had to line up in a different line and that I will meet later inside the event.
When I met up with my friend inside, she introduced me to someone she had met in the line. We talked for a couple of minutes. She told me that she did not attend Simon Fraser University and that her friend invited her to come. Later on, we finally exchanged social media. After following each other on Instagram, we noticed we had a couple of mutuals. Interestingly, our mutuals were not from Simon Fraser University, but random individuals that we both know. I thought to myself, where does she know these people from?
If I knew who she was prior to meeting her, I would already know what to expect about her character from her social media presence and our shared mutuals. The stranger encounter assignment has allowed me to have no prior opinions on her, but to just have a true organic stranger encounterment.