The first day, when I was wandering around the streets I realized how handsome and flirtatious the turkish guys were. I don’t know if that’s part of the culture, they learn it at school or is just the trick to keep the females tourists happy, but it’s clear that the courtship is in the air. 😀
The thing is that when I saw how easy was to interact with them I wondered that maybe I should try to improve my flirting skills here, or at least, explore new things in the romantic scene.
I won’t get into much detail. To make it brief, I did flirt much more that I usually do, and more than than, I went with the flow more. In general, I used to back off promptly when someone tried to hook up with me unless I had already a previous interest. Now, I just gave it a chance, carried on with the chat and see what happened. Not much. I didn’t have any torrid “Turkish passion” as the Desideria, the main character of Antonio Gala’s book, had, but I did have lots of fun and reaffirmed myself in what I want and don’t from any kind of romantic liaison, casual or stable, which is great. It’s good to question our ideas once and again in order to know if they are still up to date. Mine are, so everything is fine.
Talking to strangers
However, interacting that often with stranger guys on the streets, shops and coffee shops lead me to another more useful challenge, talking to strangers, either for flirting purposes or not. And that was the really good move. Alright, I already knew the positive things about talking to strangers but that was second hand information, it wasn’t coming for me. I wanted to experience it, I wanted to push myself out of my confort zone again and have real conversations with strangers.
As my friend Niall wisely pointed out in his blog, it’s much easier to change or experiment a new behavior when you start in a new environment since nobody knows you, so you can be whoever you want. And I wanted to be more social, more approachable and more receptive to other people’s approaches.
After two weeks in Istambul, alone, I never felt lonely, not a minute, furthermore, I even needed some solitude and silence some times, as it was expected being a confirmed introverted as I am.
So I tasted the pleasures of talking to strangers several times a day, had some small talk, even though I tried to avoid it often. “Many [introverts] have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.” (Susan Cain, Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a world that cannot stop talking) and this is one of my outstanding characteristics. I am awful in small talk, I don’t know what to say to keep the conversation flowing. I value its usefulness but I find them uninteresting and I don’t get much profit from them, if is not to lead me to the next stage, which is to have meaningful talks. And I had few of those too, like this one about hooking up and neuroscience with this fun corean guy while having a great dinner, or this whole unexpected day with this strikingly handsome australian guy getting philosophical talking about history, religion and changing the world. These were just the highlights in terms of interacting and connecting with strangers, but there were more, like waiters in the coffee shops who shut down the coffee shop to accompany me for a stroll or inviting me to apple teas while having a nice chat…
Anyway, now that I experienced the positive side of talking to strangers, I am more than motivated to make bigger efforts on striking conversations, and I will certainly be more receptive in future interactions because it’s all about connecting with people, learn from them, experience and share those experiences. Sometimes this intercourse will end up being nothing, shallow, but other it will go under your skin, and that’s worth any effort.