Comment: Do You Talk To Strangers?

On his recent Pinkcast, Daniel Pink spoke with Christine Porath for 100 seconds (I love short snippets!) about how to make your workplace kinder. One of the ways that people can act with civility, Porath shared, is by following the 10-5 rule. The rule is that if someone is within 10 feet away, the polite thing to do is to nod and smile. If someone is within 5 feet away, the polite behaviour is to say hello. I think this is a great guideline, and I’m going to try to put it into action.

While in Stratford a couple of weeks ago, I had several friendly conversations with complete strangers in stores and cafés. I feel like I upped notch on the 10-5 rule. Maybe I added a 1…as in if someone is within 1 foot, strike up a conversation. Read body language. Make a connection. It’s nice to speak to strangers and realize what you have in common.

So, what do you do? Do you talk to strangers? Say hello to passerby on the street?

Porath is the author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.


  1. Silvia Del Rosso November 25, 2019

    All the time. I don’t follow the 1 to 10 rule. My conversations are always spontaneous.

    • Jordana November 26, 2019

      You are definitely someone who knows how to talk to strangers! You’re always learning and making connections, and it’s amazes me!


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