Mexico City, Personal Development, Social Skills

I Have Been Challenged

“I didn’t know you were such a wallflower.”

I looked over at Mauricio. He seemed dead serious. Wallflower? Me? My wallflowerin’ days are long over.

“You smug Mexican bastard. What the hell are you talking about?”

He grinned.

The Very Best Way

Mau had noticed that I don’t go out much. If he has a late night, chances are when he comes home I’m typing away at my laptop, reading, or studying Spanish.

“Why don’t you go out and make some friends?”

“Well, what would I say? My Spanish is terrible.”

He just kept grinning.

“Okay, Mr. Adventurer. I have a challenge for you.”

Mauricio had read this post. In it, I challenged myself to learn to strike up conversation with strangers. (I also did a second challenge, where I had to follow up with the people I met.) He decided this would be “the best way for you to learn Spanish.”

More likely it’s the best way to irritate three random residents of Mexico City. Still, I was intrigued. Going out and talking to total strangers, across a language barrier? That’s got to at least lead to some great stories, and who knows, maybe it really will help my Español.

The Terms of the Challenge

“You have to talk to three people you don’t know. Total strangers. You can’t choose people you think speak English. And no asking me or Gabe to translate.”

Okay, three people. I can do that. It sounds like three new friends to me. As with my original challenge, the following people don’t count:

  1. Anyone whose job is to talk to me. Cashiers, waiters – they’re paid to be nice to me. Making extra small talk with them can be a good warm-up, but that’s all.
  2. Anyone I’m introduced to. If I have an introducer, they’re not strangers. Time to cowboy up.
  3. People I have a reason to talk to. If we’re both at a party or we have a mutual interest in meeting new people, it doesn’t actually force me out of my comfort zone.

To these, Mauricio added one more condition:

If there is any kind of offer for follow up, if they invite you to a party or anywhere else, you have to accept.

Deal, mi hermano. Deal.

Results in 1 week. Please tweet and share this post.

Standard