Feeling Comfortable Around People I Don’t Know

Some few weeks ago, we ended our Korean language class early and went for all-you-can-eat monja on a boat with the teacher.

The eight of us were seated near the entrance to the boat with two ladies at the table next to ours. I was seated closest to them and hearing the way they speak and behave, I could tell they were friendly and easy to talk with. So when all of us were confused about the guide’s announcement that we were next to the new Toyosu fish market, I casually asked the ladies if we were looking out the right window. And they weren’t sure either.

We got back to having our monja and continued eating and drinking for the next hour or so. Since I don’t take alcohol, I kept ordering oolong tea and one of the ladies at the table next to us tapped me on my shoulder and asked, “You don’t drink beer?” And there our conversation began for the remaining 30-minute boat ride back to our boarding point. When we got off the boat and on the return shuttle that takes us to the train station, my classmates and teacher asked if I exchanged contact information with the ladies. I said no, and they were like, “Why?”

A week later, during class, my teacher casually mentioned my talk with the two strangers next to us the week before and said that she’ll never be able to do that. And she wondered why we didn’t exchange contact information since we hit it off so well. Thinking about it, I felt like it’s easy for me to mingle with strangers whom I know I’ll probably not see a second time. When at a place to have fun, I can feel comfortable talking to people I don’t know and just enjoy myself because knowing we probably won’t meet again, I don’t have to be too concerned about what they think of me, so I can totally be myself.

Also, after my experience the last many years in Japan, I’ve begun to enjoy more with the people I meet there and then, not expecting any follow-ups. I will only exchange contact information either because they ask for it, or only when we coincidentally get to hang out a second time. Because I used to exchange contact information with so many people that I meet the first time, my Line app contacts is filled with people I don’t remember. And those that I do remember, guess what? I only met them that one time. Sure, I can ask them out to meet a second time, but with the volume of people I meet at random parties and events, it is physically impossible to meet every single person.

And being 34, my body prefers I spend more time sleeping in.


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