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National Sit With a Stranger Day – September 16, 2023

National Sit with a Stranger Day is observed on September 16 of each year in the U.S. The day was created in a bid to encourage people of all ages and gender to strike up a conversation with a random stranger for the sole purpose of seeing things from the perspective of others.

In an era where lockdowns have become the norm, National Sit with a Stranger Day was created by the B.DOPE L.L.C. team, a bottled water company that is creating a catalyst for optimism, encouragement, and relationships. The day presents a splendid opportunity to start a random, friendly conversation with someone and make a new connection.

History of National Sit With a Stranger Day

A stranger is generally portrayed as an outsider and a figure of uncertainty because they could be a friend, an enemy, or both. This makes them a potential source of conflict. The origin of the word ‘stranger’ can be traced back to the Middle French word ‘estrangier,’ which meant a foreigner or an alien.

The term ‘strangers’ was first used about the time that the textile industry was beginning to flourish in the 15th century. This was the oldest known instance of its use. Strong trading linkages and relatively unnoticed immigration caused several settlements to relocate from one location to another in pursuit of greener pastures. By the 16th century, new European areas like the Netherlands, Belgium, and France had begun to create goods that were both cheaper and of a higher quality than those produced in older European nations.

Because of this, another migration took place, during which skilled immigrants moved to areas that were abundant in textile materials and began instructing local employees on how to manufacture new sorts of cloth. The high level of workmanship and originality displayed by the skilled immigrants prompted city authorities in England to write a letter to Queen Elizabeth I pleading for the monarch’s authorization to allow immigrant workers to permanently stay in England. In addition, the political climate in Spain at the time was hostile against Protestants, which led thousands of people to leave the country in search of religious freedom in other countries.

In the year 1565, the city of Norwich granted permission to Protestant refugees from the Spanish Netherlands to settle so that they could help the city’s textile industry. The rapid expansion of the ‘stranger’ community led to the city of Norwich having over 4,000 Dutch and Walloon residents by the year 1620. This represented approximately one-fourth of the whole population of the city and led to an astronomical increase in England’s economic value.

National Sit With a Stranger Day timeline

15th Century
The First Strangers

The textile industry begins to hire immigrants from the Low Countries.

1565
The Era of Elizabethan Strangers

The first group of Protestant refugees settles in and around Norwich.

1620
A Textile Bloom

Skilled immigrants and quality textile merchandise rapidly boost the English economy.

1972
The Familiar Stranger

The first paper identifying the benefits of social networks and random communication is published by Stanley Milgram.

National Sit With a Stranger Day FAQs

What does it mean when you meet a stranger?

If you meet someone, you happen to be in the same place as them and start talking to them. You may know the other person, but be surprised to see them, or you may not know them at all.

How do you safely meet a stranger?

If you’re planning to meet a stranger for the first time, the first step is to stay in communication with someone you know about who you’re meeting and where you will be meeting the stranger. If possible, ensure your first meeting is in a public place. If you don’t feel very comfortable going alone, you can take a friend who can live once it’s safe.

How do you talk to a stranger without being awkward?

To easily engage in conversation, you have to be brave and try not to overthink or micro-analyze things. Ask genuine questions and throw in a compliment when necessary. Focus on things you both have in common and try not to let awkward moments ruin the flow.

National Sit With a Stranger Day Activities

  1. Visit a public spot

    Find a spot in a park or another public place and take a seat. If there's someone nearby, say hello and see if they want to chat. If not, enjoy some peace and quiet.

  2. Join a social conversation

    Join a meetup group or online forum that focuses on meeting new people. Attend an event or check out the conversation threads to find someone to chat with.

  3. Make a random connection

    Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the bus, train, or in line at the grocery store. Small talk can be a great way to break the ice and get to know someone a little better.

5 Facts About Immigration That Are Mind-Blowing

  1. There are more immigrant men than women

    Men tend to migrate far more easily due to financial duties, and a man will frequently travel to seek better pastures or a means to meet family obligations.

  2. Immigration raises economic output

    According to analysts, foreign-born workers contribute almost two trillion dollars to the yearly G.D.P.

  3. American immigrants are majorly Latino or Asian

    While there is still significant European migration to America, approximately 80% of U.S. immigrants are from Latin America and Asia.

  4. The 19th Century saw massive migration

    Based on the current global population, more individuals were moving during the end of the 19th century than at present.

  5. The first green card had green stripes

    The first 'green card,' issued in the 1950s following World War II, was a war form printed on green paper.

Why We Love National Sit With a Stranger Day

  1. It’s a chance to explore and learn

    It's a great way to get out of your comfort zone. Trying something new is always a good way to push yourself and grow as a person.

  2. It’s a great way to meet new people

    It's a fun way to meet new people. You never know who you'll sit next to, and you might just make a new friend.

  3. It fosters community relations

    It's a great way to connect with your community. Getting to know your neighbors or people in your town can help create a sense of community and connectedness.

National Sit With a Stranger Day dates

YearDateDay
2023September 16Saturday
2024September 16Monday
2025September 16Tuesday
2026September 16Wednesday
2027September 16Thursday

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