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Talk to strangers

| Tuesday, March 28, 2017

“Hi, what’s up? I don’t know you but I see you walking around all the time.”

I’ve heard that more than a few times from people stopping me on regular walks around campus. Most recently, late one rainy night last week outside LaFortune Student Center. Gradually, it’s become something I’ve gotten used to. Random strangers pretty regularly seem to want to know where I’m going and why they see me so often.

The answer to both is just that I spend far too much time wandering around aimlessly, with nowhere in particular to go. I’ve nothing interesting to do or any interesting place to go to. I just like walking around, especially at strange hours. I would probably be better served either working on homework or sleeping, but sometimes I’d rather just walk to no place in particular. It helps me clear my head after too much work and I enjoy being able to experience open spaces instead of being stuck in my tiny room, not to mention getting to take in the beauty of campus at night, something that doesn’t get old, even in my third year. It’s caused me to be stopped by Notre Dame Security Police a couple of times to check I really go here, but that’s done little to change my habits.

I’ve made a few very good friends of those who stop me, and many more people who I’ll at least say hello to on any future encounters. The person I met last week had lunch with my friends and me on Saturday, and had become another person I’m glad has interrupted me in the middle of a walk. They always accept my walking around aimlessly without ever judging me for it.

Yet as well as my experiences with being stopped by strangers around campus have generally gone, I could never imagine myself stopping any of the people I see around. I guess I don’t have that kind of personality. Maybe I should try — chances are anyone who wanders around often enough for me to notice them regularly is probably at least a little like me — but stopping strangers to talk for no real reason just isn’t something I do often. That’s something I should probably try to change: I should try to talk to at least one person I see walking around that I’ve never spoken to before.

But maybe if you’re more inclined to spontaneous conversation with strangers, you should talk to the people you see all the time but don’t know. Somehow, they’ve ended up in the same kind of cycle as you, so you have something in common. It can be a surprisingly good way to make a new friend.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel