Kindness Challenge Day 6: Talk to Someone You Don’t Normally Talk To

This is Day 6 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge for Nov 2012 where hundreds of participants from around the world get together in spirit to do 14 acts of kindness over 14 days. The challenge is now over, but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all Kindness Challenge tasks and posts.

Join the Kindness Challenge!

Hello everyone! :D Welcome to Day 6 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge! ;)

Share Your Results for Kindness Tasks from Days 0–5!

Have you reported your progress for your daily acts of kindness? If not, now is the time to do so!

If you haven’t been doing the daily acts, that’s fine. There’s still time to catch up! After all, it’s only Day 6 now. Start working on the tasks at a rate of two to three a day, and you should catch up in a few days or so!

Part of the challenge includes sharing your progress with the other participants. I’ve been having quite a blast reading participants’ responses and interacting with the participants in the comments section. If you have been doing the tasks, please do file in the daily task posts and share your results with the others in the comments section. It’s the interactions that make the the challenge come to live!

My Day 5 Review: Genuine Compliments

Day 5′s task was to Give a Genuine Compliment to at Least 3 People.

Kiss92 Studio

I kicked off my day yesterday bright and early in the Kiss92 studio, where I was in there for my weekly Personal Excellence segment. Yesterday’s topic was on How To Tackle Procrastination. Hope all of you guys who tuned in found it useful! :D Thanks a lot Hendro for your kind words about the segment! :D

I started my Day 5 task by delivering two genuine compliments in the most public manner possible—I complimented my two marvelous co-hosts, Maddy and Arnold (Jason was not feeling well and hence wasn’t in the studio :( ) while on air! Both of them were pleasantly surprised and I think Arnold was especially touched because he responded to my compliment with, “I don’t know what I say. I’m speechless. Thank you.” Their happy smiles and responses really made my day. :D Thanks so much for the great segment yesterday, Maddy and Arnold!

I then continued the day by delivering genuine compliments to each person I was communicating with. Each time I did that, I would ensure I was giving the compliment from an authentic place, versus giving a compliment for the sake of the task itself.

Compliment on Whatsapp

One of the compliments I issued yesterday night, via Whatsapp. Light green represents my speech bubbles. X, you know who you are! ;)

Response to my Compliment on Whatsapp

…and check out the beautiful response I got in return early next morning. :)

I ended up delivering six additional genuine compliments (on top of the two during my radio segment)—five via Whatsapp, and one via Twitter. I actually complimented many more people yesterday than just the six (as complimenting others is something I do as part of my daily routine anyway), but I wanted to include only the people whom I was making a deliberate effort to compliment as a result of Kindness Challenge. I thought that would be a truer count than simply counting instances I would normally compliment anyway as it would just be a cop-out figure in the end.

So all in all, I gave eight people genuine compliments for yesterday’s task. It felt great! :D Doing the task reinforced the merits of complimenting others, as the people I had complimented expressed positivity and they reciprocated with very kind and positive messages too. It also helped me push my comfort zone for complimenting further, in that I know that I can just drop genuine compliments out of the blue, without context at all, vs. delivering compliments reactively only when there is a situation for it.

Without further ado, let’s move to Day 6′s task!!

Day 6: Talking to People

Talk to People

Communicating. Talking. Speaking. Listening. These are things we do on a daily basis.

Yet, within our daily communication, there would always a select group of people we communicate regularly with, be it for work or social purposes, just as there would be people whom we don’t communicate with. These people can be that office geek who sits at the corner of the office, that acquaintance you met at a social party, your manager whom you only speak to for work purposes, and so on. These would be people whom we see, acknowledge their presence, but don’t spend much time talking to or get to know them better.

For some of us, these people might be people we consciously decide not to speak with, because we feel they are not relevant to our lives. While some people ignore others unconsciously, we consciously filter and cut people out based our own self-selection criteria (nothing wrong with this too, as I have shared before in How To Deal With Energy Vampires and 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People—it’s important to cut certain people away if they have come to be toxic relationships).

However, it’s well possible sometimes that there can be a budding connection waiting to blossom, just that our self-selecting behavior prevents that from happening. It’s possible that that person whom we think is boring might well be an exciting and interesting person at heart. It’s possible that the person is having a bad day and could benefit from us talking to him/her. It’s possible that this person would love for someone to talk to him/her, and that we have been elitist and anti-social in cutting him/her out of our communication.

Today, your task is to speak to these very people!

Your Task: Talk to Someone You Don’t Normally Talk To

Level 1 Task: Talk to One Person You Don’t Normally Talk To

Pick one person whom you normally would not speak to or think of speaking to!! This person can be in your social circle, work place, or even in your family. It can be a stranger, an acquaintance, an associate, or a long-lost friend whom you have lost touch with or decided not to speak to for some reason or another.

Communicate with him/her today, be it in person, online chat, Facebook, e-mail, phone call, or otherwise.

My challenge to you is to stretch out the communication as long as you can—ideally at least 15 minutes of talk time in person, or 30–40 messages if it’s chat. The objective of Kindness Challenge is to bust your boundaries, so it’s quite a cop-out if you just text someone for a message and declare yourself done.

Get to know the person! Ask how he/she is doing! Share about yourself with him/her! Know what he/she has been up to! And see if you can make plans to do something together in the near future. Now, that would truly be getting to know the person better and trying to bring the connection forward!

Level 2 Task: Talk to at Least Three People You Don’t Normally Talk To

Same as level one, but do that to at least three people! Stretch your comfort zone and see how far you can go! :D

Share Your Results!

Who did you speak to today? How many people did you eventually speak to (whom you normally would not have thought of speaking to)?

Check out the responses of other participants in the comments section!

After you are done with Day 6, proceed to Day 7: Make a Donation.

Image: Bumi

  • Celes

    Okay, just reconnected with a long lost friend early in the morning. We chatted for quite a while on Whatsapp, and made plans to meet up when she comes back to Singapore later this month. :D

    Reconnected with another friend (more like an acquaintance) whom I always hear of but don’t speak to. Will be chatting with him throughout the day (again through Whatsapp).

    Will be brainstorming on a third person to speak to-someone whom I don’t normally talk to. I think I might use a real-life situation for the third person. Perhaps chat up a stranger whom I would normally not speak to. It helps that I’m going out in a bit to meet someone, after which I’m going to get a visa for my India trip in December. Will keep you guys posted!

    • Celes

      Okay, update of my Day 6 results is up! Surf over to Day 7: Make a Donation (scroll to the section “My Day 6 Review: Talk to People (I Don’t Normally Speak To)”).

  • Vasundhara

    Hi Celes,

    Today i texted one person(Pls do belive that i did message say before seeing whats for today challenge !!!!) whom i have met her during some party and we had chat for some time in whats app and at last we have planned to meet this weekend. Even though i didnt do it as part of today’s challenge, some how or other, its relating to today’s challenge and would like to share it here :)

    • Celes

      Serendipity!! That is AMAZING and so inspiring. I’m really happy to know that you guys have planned to meet this weekend. A small act that leads on to more great things for the friendship. I hope your story helps readers to know that sometimes it just takes us taking the initiative to reach out to others. Thanks so much for sharing Vasundhara! :D

  • Bette

    I spoke with someone who got the best chair at a meeting and looked kinda private and maybe not the kind of person I would speak to. Well, I soon discovered that she was a warm, caring, sensitive person…she just had not appeared to be like that when I initially saw her. We definitely made a connection, and I look forward to seeing her at future meeting, and speaking with here again.

    Another person that looked like I would not relate to, was another person I spoke to. Again, I discovered a sensitive, kind person, one who paid close attention when I spoke and responded very thoughtfully. She became a great teacher for me because I learned to step out of my zone and be open to any reasonable situation. Breaking the barrier is so worth it! She told me that she was so happy to meet me and to know me. That kind of response makes me melt, and shows me that I am on the right track.

    A third person just confirmed more of the same kind of awareness….be open to speak to others, regardless, and just watch how that person opens up,-changing lives and how life-changing little acts of kindness can be!!!! Appearances can often prove to be deceiving. As time goes by, I am much more intuitive, and approaching the unexpected/seemingly undesirable person turns out to be a gem!

    • wanxuan

      Wow that’s really proactive of you!! Great job in getting out of your comfort zone :) People are generally shy, so a person who will offer the first handshake or approach (especially in a meeting) would be seen as more confident and friendly :) On the other hand, I think the “granny” advice of “don’t talk to strangers” is counter-intuitive in today’s society when being shy or reserved can even be perceived as being arrogant or aloof.

  • wanxuan

    I just reconnected with a primary (in some countries, it is known as elementary) school friend on msn. Turns out that she will be getting married with her long time uber romantic boyfriend next year :) :dance: Feel so happy for her. I felt honoured cuz despite being a bit busy, she still made time to chat with me. *touched* We have not spoken for a long while and I really enjoyed chatting with her. :lol:

    • Celes

      Aww isn’t that great wanxuan!! So great that you got reconnected with her. Funny how little acts on our part can blossom into such great outcomes. Similarly for me, just one simple act of approaching my long-time friend on Whatsapp blossomed into a great conversation that spanned several hours, plus a meetup scheduled later in the month.

  • hendro

    Hello Everyone,

    Another fruitful day for me today! :lol: I accomplished today kindness challenge task by this afternoon (the earliest timeline to accomplish my kindness movement challenge task as compared to my other first 5 days challenges) :dance: I am currently attending 4 days exam preparatory course this week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). :p . Today I spoke with my 4 course mates whom I have not engaged during my first day of my workshop. :D I really enjoyed talking with them. :) We shared interesting things with each other and I learned new things from all of them. :mrgreen: We also had lunch together. We will have another 2 day workshop on Thursday and Friday. Hope we can build better relationships after another two days. :bow:



    • wanxuan

      Wow, Hendro, that’s amazing! During exam preparation period ?? Isn’t reading supposed to be anti-social? XD It’s great u even managed to meet 4 people in a single workshop! Well done!

      • hendro

        Hi Wanxuan, :D Thanks for your encouragement. :) Fortunately, I managed to read the reading materials before the exam prep course its self :D . Yeah, while reading, I think I need to be alone :p But I feel that the prep course is really helpful in making me understand more about the concepts and principle behind the subject. :dance: I also gained sth new by interacting with my other four course mates. :mrgreen: Hope you have a great time as well ;)



  • Janhavi

    I went out to the mall with my college gang today..and me and one of my classmates who lives really close to my home (whom I dont normally talk to, in class) decided to go together..and while commuting to and from the mall, we spent 3-4 hours together and it was really fun getting to know him.. we hung out for quite some time even after we reached our destination and it was great getting to know a new person..I had never seen this side of him. I should really do this more often! :)

    p.s. I saw the post just now after I came home! I guess unknowingly I fulfilled today’s challenge :)

  • ASLO

    Hey all….
    Haven’t been active over the last couple of days :( and every moment of that pains me as it makes me doubt my dedication to this project in my life….

    On the days I’ve completed my tasks, I’ve felt this unusual sense of rejuvenation :D and a tranquility with life….every task has borne futile responses and added more value to my understanding of life….every task has come with success and has envisioned, for me, a path that I wish to trade on even after the challenge is over……

    As for today’s task I’ve contacted 3 long lost people….have received two responses so far and am still waiting for a third……I actually feel rather touched by the response I got from them as I held a long conversation with someone where we exchanged ideas on a field she was interested in….it gave me great satisfaction in being able to go out and communicate and brainstorm….makes me realize how strongly I am intuited to the field of coming up with ideas and advice…..So thank you Celes :angel: , today’s task cements my belief in my way forward….

    • Celes

      Hi ASLO, don’t worry about not being active in the past couple of days! What’s most important is that you are back here with us. :D Were there any things keeping you from the challenge? Busy work? Family commitments perhaps? You can always share with us here in the Kindness Challenge task posts! The comments section here isn’t just reserved for the challenge results but anything that happens in our lives during the challenge process. :hug:

      • ASLO

        Hey Celes,
        thank you for your kind words, a mixture of both busy at work and family commitments kept me away from the challenge….am glad that is behind me now….
        Amazing challenge by the way….its only like fine wine, gets better as it ages :D ……am learning fast and am understanding how giving is receiving :D :D

  • Hetal_S

    Chatted with a friend on Whatsapp after about 2 years :)

    • Celes

      Great job Hetal! :D

      • Hetal_S

        Going to meet her soon :D

  • Kathi

    I am not officially signed up, but am following you Kindness Challenge – and this one was easy. I waited an hour and a quarter to vote this morning. I spoke with many people around me. People are fascinating – and there is no reason to stare at the person in front of you in the back of the head. Most people will not initate a conversation with a stranger, but most respond well to being spoken to.

    In 1996 I went to the Atlanta Olympics with some friends. There were people from all over the world there, and very were many lines. I always spoke to the people around me. At first my friends asked me “do you know them?”, but then they realized all the neat people that were around us, and started to do the same.

    • Celes

      Hey Kathi, why don’t you just sign up for the challenge now? Doesn’t take more than a second and helps to immortalize your name forever as one of the participants of this worldwide movement:

      • Kathi


        • Celes

          Awesome! Welcome aboard Kathi! :D

  • Miss Elf

    On gmail I chatted with a friend that I normally wouldnt cause we dont hang out a lot. It was nice to get to know what she has been up to lately.

    Celes, it wolud be really great, if you would make a kindness manifest at the end of this challenge. That way we could print it and put it on a visible spot and be often reminded on these acts of kindness :D

    • Celes

      Hi Miss Elf! That is definitely an idea. I was actually thinking of it myself too earlier on in the challenge. Will definitely consider doing it. Thanks for the suggestion! :D

  • Narmin

    I called one of uncles from whom I havent heard from summer and who was actually waiting for my call for a long time. Felt happiness in his voice and Was so happy myself!! Also called the other precious person whose son got married recently. I called the elderly persons I have in my family and relatives, coz think they are the ones who need attention most. I wrote messages to my friends with whom I cannot find time to chat long. But promised to share time upcoming week. Kindness Challenge task 6 is fulfilled!! I am Happy and Proud! :) :)

    • Celes

      Aww, amazing work Narmin!! :D Great to see you sharing your results here as well (in addition to Twitter)—some participants here don’t check by Twitter so they haven’t been able to be in the loop of your wonderful updates. Look forward to reading more of your results in the upcoming tasks! :D

  • Ken

    Well this challenge happened for me last night. I had to talk with my Ex-wife. It was about our divorce settlement and the final steps on our retirement funds.

    I really didn’t want to talk to her about it, but I had no choice. Actually the last time I thought about contacting her was a few weeks ago. It was her birthday. I debated on whether or not to wish her one and I’m glad I didn’t. As the email I got later that day was not a nice email. I really didn’t want to wish her a happy birthday anyway as with the divorce and with her moving closer to her family, this year has not been a very good one. I just felt why wish someone a happy birthday during the time when it’s not so great, especially since the divorce was something I pushed. I put her in that situation so would a happy birthday communication been the same as years prior? I think I would have received the exact same email either way.

    Anyway the talk about the retirement was ok. It was not the exact terms that was drawn out in the decree, but I got an email confirmation and I will have a letter of execution of the plans so its all good. But I then got an email later saying how sorry she was, and if she could have a second chance, etc. How she wanted to be my friend. It’s not really a conversation I really wanted to open up. I didn’t reply and I’m not going to.

    Anyway looking at this challenge, this one might not count, but it was a form of a converstaion with someone I wouldn’t normally talk to. So can I get half credit???

    Another conversation that I had (But I can’t take credit for since she is actually a participant in the Challange) was my best friend’s co-work/friend. She reached out to me via IM and we talked for a while. Asking questions about me, and I asked questions about her. It was actually fun. But one thing I kind of noticed was I felt more comfortable talking to her. From my past, I have always been so shy, and I could not get myself to talk to anyone especially to carry a conversation with a female. I mean if it was a work event I would not have any issues, but when it comes to talking to someone about my personal things. In the past I don’t think I could do it. Granted it was via IM so it’s not the same when you meet someone in person. I even mentioned that I might not have been able to talk to her in person. But after we said our good byes for the day, and I thought about it a little more, I noticed I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I would have been in the past. And who knows I might have been fine had I met her in person.

  • Karen

    I am usually a really selective about the people I reach out to. I am realizing after trying this step, that I am maybe too selective because I got a chance to really connect with people that I made some really harsh assumptions about beforehand. This was an eye opener… thanks Celes

    • Celes

      Karen, that’s so amazing that you had that revelation. I agree that by being more open in who we speak to, we can sometimes well be pleasantly surprised! :D That was really my intent with yesterday’s task. Another intent I had was that sometimes people might well need someone to talk to, and us unexpectedly reaching out to them may well bring happiness and kindness into their lives that day.

      Karen, you have such a beautiful soul. Thank you for being you. :hug:

  • izzy

    I talked to do many people today that I haven’t talked to in a while! two people, I never talked to, and I now have two new friends! so excited! can’t wait for #kindnesschallenge day 7!!!

    • Celes

      Two new friends!!! Aww, congratulations izzy!! :D All from talking to people you don’t normally speak to! Awesome work Izzy—it actually also shows that you have a flair for connecting with others, and as long as you take the first step, social connections will naturally form your way!

  • Netta

    I took the time today to think about the people I normally don’t speak to or associate with. It was actually more than I want to admit. I guess I get so wrapped up in my daily life and activities that I never wondered how this person may feel by not being included in conversation.
    I took the time to speak to someone I normally overlook and though they were surprised, they warmly accepted me asking about their day. Once speaking to this person, I found we had a lot in common and I do like her very much.
    I am proud to say that not only did I accept this challenge, but this person accepted me and we will now be speaking regularly.
    Thank you Celes. These challenges are wonderful, not only for others but especially for myself.

    • Celes

      You’re so very welcome Netta. :hug: I’m really glad that the person (people?) accepted you and both of you found commonalities between each other. :D That’s really amazing how simply taking one step forward can lead to so many great thing.

      It is true that sometimes we can be quite wrapped up in our daily lives and forget about the other people around us (myself included). I hope this Day 6 task has taught everyone the importance of branching beyond our default comfort zones and talking to people whom we normally wouldn’t think of talking to (or talking to for an extended period of time).

  • Fufu

    I, literally, pushed my boundaries to its limits and talked to 20 people today!! 12 who were people I didn’t normally talk to and 8 close friends who I do usually talk to but who I enjoyed conversing with as well. There were 3 specific people who I normally wouldn’t talk to that attracted my attention today and this was my experience with those 3 people – let’s call them L, F and S

    L -When I first talked with L I noticed she was being a bit distant and I was about to abandon the conversation until, naturally, we hit it off and were conversing with laughs and jokes! :)

    F – Then there was F. F is a person who I had always wanted to befriend but I never quite had the guts to do so. He graduated last year and as a school girl that would usually mean a lost chance for a friendship. I was super scared to speak to him because I thought he would find me annoying but..actually no! He was kind and open since the start and we spoke like if we had always been good friends!

    S – S was special because I felt a tremendous amount of comfort and acceptance talking with her. S is a person who I’d love to become friends with in the long run.

    My lessons and self-reflection on today’s task can be found on my blog if anybody is interested in reading more:

    • Celes

      Goodness. 20 PEOPLE! And among them, 12 people you don’t normally speak to. fufu, I’m so proud of you! That’s really nice that you felt a special connection with L, F, and S. :D As I mentioned in my comment to Vasundhara above, sometimes all it takes is just that one small action on our part to open up a whole new connection.

      Great job fufu! I think you are such a great role model to everyone else in this challenge, including myself! :hug:

  • Prasenjit

    I had gone to a optics store to repair my broken spectacles.There i met a person who came to have his eyesight verified before buying a new spectcles.We began to chat with each other on our career,personal life & future plans that eventually ended in exchanging our phone numbers.So guys i’ve found a new friend today.It feels great!

    • Prasenjit

      Hi Celes, having myself found in a long chat with a neighbor whom i had not been in talking terms for a long time, is like drawing a relationship out of a certain death. Its great feeling at the end of the day!

      • Celes

        Aw it’s so great to hear that Prasenjit!! Kudos goes to you for taking the step to speak to people whom you don’t normally speak to! Feels great doesn’t it? :D

  • VickiB

    Hi, Celes and fellow participants.

    I’ve been posting about the challenge on FaceBook. I don’t get many comments or even “likes” but from what people tell me in person and from the variety of people who occasionally comment, I know that my little posts are being read.

    I wanted to comment here about the Day 6 Kindness Challenge because it was so serendipitous! And because the way other people have approached this task was different from the way I did.

    This was election day in the US, and going to the polls brings you into contact with people you don’t usually see. AND I had a dentist appointment, which is another place I see people I know slightly but rarely talk to because I only see them there.

    I thought that if I used public transportation, that would be a place to speak to others that I normally don’t. But I didn’t take public transportation today.

    When I was at my favorite coffee shop, there were a couple of men in line ahead of me. One is a regular that I usually just say “hi” to. The other is someone I know better but see much less often. I talked with both of them for a few minutes.

    I’ve been approaching the Kindness activities as something to integrate into my usual activities — compliment the people I interact with anyway, the people I see, that kind of thing. Other people are reaching out via the internet for this challenge — sending virtual hugs, reconnecting with long-lost friends, and so on. That is inspiring.

    I may change my approach because of it, and do more Kindness via the internet. I may not. I have been thinking that I might do a “repeat” as soon as this challenge is done, and make it more internet focused.


    I just realized that since I have not been commenting here on the blog, I am now talking to people I don’t normally talk to!

    Serendipity is wonderful.

    • Celes

      Hey VickiB! :D While it’s totally awesome that you have been posting about the challenge on your Facebook, do share your daily task results here in the daily threads too (you can just do a simple copy/paste from your Facebook posts)! The blog is where all the participants mingle and read about each other’s progress. On Facebook you are sort of away from the core Kindness Challenge community and as such we can’t “get to you” even if we want to!

  • JadePenguin

    Ironically, I’m usually that geek in the corner that no one talks to. So for me, it was less of a kindness challenge but more of a pushing myself challenge. Which maybe counts as kindness towards myself? :)

    So, I went to an event by the Alternative Music Society. I was meaning to go all last year but feared I would end up sitting alone cause I didn’t know anyone there. This time, I decided to go anyway and try my best. And it turned out great! I talked to one girl I didn’t know and found that we like a lot of the same music and that we have lots of interesting stories to share :) Also talked to someone I had met the previous day at another event and someone I knew for a bit longer.

    Although, I cheated a bit, cause I had 2 bottles of cider to help me!! :shy:

  • Claire R

    Talk to someone you don’t usually talk with. Part one
    There was one person who kept wanting to talk to me. We are neighbors and I have known her many
    years. But , you know, hi there, sometimes a coffee, we were just too busy to know each other -we both kind of dismissed each other from our inner circles.
    Well, we actually made a date to meet at her place- I was curious.
    As she prepared an old fashioned infusion tea-she said she didn’t understand but that I had a huge problem looming over me. Here it comes morbid curiosity, nosy or looking for scandal.
    And then it came as I gave her a chance to speak. She explained that she was a psycologist. ,that she understood what I was going through and that she liked me and admired me.
    I was totally disarmed. And ready to listen. As we talked ( mostly her ) during nearly 2 hours I learned not only the tools I needed and refreshed.
    Never did I guess that this dear woman had such insight and such clarity of speech and thought.Dear
    Lord. I thought she was fun but shallow and cliquish. Nor did I think that she thought much higher of me.
    Not only will or friendship become deeper but I want to share with her my progress and show her her worth through what she has done for me.

    • Claire R

      Follow up:
      Am now writing a Thank you note. This is also a progress report 3 steps I have taken following her advice.