An Ode to Supportive Strangers

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As a kid, you’re told not to talk to strangers. But with experience, I have come to the realization that talking to strangers is not such a bad thing after all. In fact, I would say, out with the old “don’t talk to strangers” and in with the new “reach out to more strangers.”

It all started with my first blog. I received the most support from strangers.

Then came my business (now defunct). Again, I received incredible support from strangers.

At each phase of my life, I was indebted to the fact that strangers have always been more kind to me than the ones I personally know. With some observation, I realized this is the story for a lot of people. Strangers often tend to support more.

Is this because strangers are more kind? Or because more strangers than friends/relatives are on the lookout for what you have to offer? Maybe distance makes the heart go fonder, and up-close we are full of blunder? Or perhaps, it’s because strangers know how it is to feel unseen, to be treated like a stranger.

The world is vast, and people are boundless with distinct personalities and mental models. If our content does not cater to the needs of a small group of friends/relatives, instead of sticking to the archaic scripture of not talking to strangers, we should, maybe just maybe, reach out to more. The ones who would eventually become your tribe. The ones who understand your thought process and techniques.

I often feel intensely grateful to the strangers who have taken the time out to support me, often juxtaposed with an uncomfortable question, “Why are the people I know less supportive?

Some of these kind strangers have moved on, but in that short span of time, they have offered me more love and encouragement than any person I know. I am armed with the knowledge that strangers can be beautiful, and probably this is why I am more open to newcomers joining any close-knit community that I am in, whereas others appear to be wary or hostile.

I am convinced that this is why the universe sends us strangers—to play an important but short role in our life. So we don’t lose hope in our core beliefs, the ones we would love to passionately share with the world.

An Ode to the Non-Toxic Side of Twitter

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Twitter has got a bad reputation.

It is called toxic. It is called unfriendly. It is arguably one of the most-hated social networking sites that people surprisingly cannot get enough of.

I have a different take on Twitter though.

How Twitter acts actually depends on whom you follow.

If you follow toxic people, then yes, Twitter will be toxic for you. No question about that. If you follow the right people – people whom you can learn from, people who have the most thought-provoking things to say – then Twitter is the right place to be!

It is all about making the right choice. You cannot expect to follow a bunch of pessimists, hate mongers, crass talkers and expect any place (offline or online) to be a lively, positive place to be in.

If someone you follow is spewing hate, unfollow them. Or better still – block them.

If someone you follow is liking posts that are spewing hate, unfollow them.

Rinse and repeat till your social media feed is clean.

Twitter is more than its infamous toxicity. It is a great place to get tips and tricks with respect to work. I sometimes feel it is more helpful than LinkedIn. All you have to do is follow work-related or any interest-related topics (by that, I do not mean topics that can offend and trigger you) to gain access to a plethora of knowledge.

I got tips from Twitter, which I have implemented at my workplace. Hard to believe but true nonetheless.

Where else would you see people unabashedly voicing their opinions on books, life, philosophy, work, family, and more, without the need of any media distractions? The focus is purely on words. There is no need to accessorize those words with pictures, audio, or video. The central attraction is your mind. Everything else becomes secondary.

But we choose to focus on the negatives. Like how we do with every other thing in life.

Of course, this does not mean putting your mental health at risk. If you feel someone or something is proving detrimental to your peace of mind, let go immediately. Or demand some space. Again, the choice is yours.

This rule applies to any social media networking site. If you feel social networking is toxic, pause a bit and check whom you follow.

The point is, you should not be the one making sacrifices when someone else is to blame. Tweak the situation such that you get to do what you like while cleanly cutting off the negativity that is making the experience less enjoyable. In social media sites, sometimes all it takes is a simple unfollow to regain peace.

P.S: No, I do not work for Twitter.