Fighting Social Isolation This Week: The Stranger Complex


Ananya Mehta

Approaching a stranger can be intimidating, but it is definitely a rewarding experience. Try introducing yourself to someone new this week!

This week I had my heart set on introducing myself to a complete stranger. As I stood with my friend by the microwaves and glanced out into the seas of people in the cafeteria, I felt all the nerves building in my stomach. I looked over to my friend. “I can’t decide. I don’t want to ambush anyone while they are eating,” I explained. My friend looked over at me with confusion at the sight of my nerves. He started laughing, questioning why I even bothered to do this. The answer came instantaneously into my mind. I wanted to do this to inspire others.

The goal of this series has always been to inspire readers who remain trapped in their bubbles of social isolation. Communication and interaction can be difficult, and I hope to invoke change. My friend so graciously helped me out by introducing me to someone he knew. We had a lovely conversation regarding McDonalds, and I was thrilled to have met someone I never knew. I was grateful for the help from my friend, but I aspire to try again independently in the future. Longhorns, try to challenge yourself this week by introducing yourself to someone new. By being able to break out of our comfort zones and interact with new people we are breaking the communication barriers that give rise to social isolation.