Friday, April 26, 2013

Life Lessons—Don’t Talk to Strangers

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Reading that title, you may have just taken a stroll down memory lane. You gathered your books and Barbie lunchbox and headed out the door. Mom called out the door to make sure you knew the rule was, “don’t talk to strangers!”

I understand mom was trying to protect us, but there’s just one problem. When we got to school on the first day, we didn’t know anyone. So, if we didn’t talk to those strangers, how would we meet them?

Your life is full of internal and external commands, just like this one. While those who spoke them into your life were well meaning, they also tied your hands. It’s really hard to get to know brand new characters in your new book if you don’t talk to strangers, right?

Mom would fly back from Heaven on the next Angel Air flight if she knew I talk to strangers all the time. In fact, one of my favorite things is to be stuck at a gate in a crowded airport when the flight is delayed. The longer the better because I have a captive audience! I mean, where are they going to go to get away from me?

By the time we begin the boarding process, I’ve met and had a meaningful conversation with hundreds of passengers, all because I didn’t listen to mom’s advice.

I’m not suggesting you abandon your morals and throw caution to the wind. But I am urging you to re-evaluate whether those principles that were driven into your heart still apply in your world today?

You have beliefs that you accepted so long ago that guide and govern your life today. Some are no longer appropriate. You believe them, and obey them without realizing it. It not only can hinder your writing, but every facet of your life.

Take inventory. Weed out those negative commands from the garden of your soul. Question them and if they aren’t for your life today, get rid of them with good, positive and healthy truth that will help you be all you are destined to be.

Your prose will be better as you write in truth. You’ll be happier, more at peace and a bit more adventuresome. So go ahead, talk to strangers. You’ll be glad you did.

What commands are you obeying that you should let go of? Share them here!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. You are so right and thank you for bringing that fact to light. Talking to strangers has always been dificult for me but I am getting better at it. As you pointed out, we could miss so much by being silent and we could miss an opportunity to bless someone else with something we say to them.

  2. This post makes me smile. My mom used to tell me I didn't like mayonnaise. Turns out, she said that because she got sick eating it when she was a young girl. It wasn't until I was married and returning a sandwich with mayo at a restaurant that my husband asked why I didn't like it. I said, "I don't know. I guess I've never tried it. We didn't keep it in our house."

    Today, I love mayo and it's usually the only thing I order on my sandwiches. Makes me wonder what other commands I have that no one has ever questioned.