Be in the Moment of Conversations


I have always been a magnet for conversations that have been unsolicited. Sitting on a park bench, waiting for a bus a train or just waiting in line at the grocery store, folks tend to open up to me about the strangest things; and sometimes, quite frankly, the folks themselves are strange.

When I have been on the receiving end of these  discussions, My “fight or flight” sense would be on red alert…and most times I would smile and nod politely while screaming in my head, “Holy crap! Get me outta here!”

Yet, as I age, I have started to realize, I have missed opportunities to hear stories. Some really good ones. I’m not saying that I have allowed my red alert warning to wane, but I have started to learn when it would be safe to add to the discussion and when it is just better to keep my ipod ear-buds in.

Case in point; my airplane jaunts last week for BlogHer. I decided that I was going to try my best to step out of my comfort zone and strike up conversations with people I only knew through my computer screen. “Smile and say hello” was my motto. If you were to look at my hands, you would have seen how nervous I was by the squeezing of fingers. I thought the best way to “walk the talk” was to start on the plane.

Why the plane? Because I never talk to the person next to me on a plane. Nev-er. As soon as the bird is in the air, my ear buds go in and I try to sleep. Unless of course I am sitting next to my kids or husband. Then they get an earful of chatter until they say “I’m going to sleep.” 


This time would be different. I was going to be open to the discussion.

I met a psychologist who works with patients that suffer from schizophrenia and how she helps their families cope with the disease. She was also a three year survivor of Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Our kids were the same age, so we shared common issues with school, friends, and typical teen attitudes. We talked about our feelings being women in our 40’s and how much we are enjoying this moment in our lives. She shared some very interesting facts about drug use and the effect it has on the teen brain development. Before I knew it, the plane was landing and I was sad our time had come to an end.  She was a fascinating person.

On the way home, I met a lovely woman from across the aisle. She had much loss in her life recently, and had just finished handling her parent’s estate. She was on her way to visit her lifelong friend for a month of relaxation, something she was really looking forward to. I learned she was a retired school secretary, was the proud mom to a single child, was once very tall but suffered from osteoperosis. We talked about our favorite foods, places we have seen in our travels. She was absolutely stunning.

These stories would have been lost had I not taken the chance to welcome them. I am proud that I chose to keep my ear-buds packed and allowed myself to grow a little.


This post is part of the Just. Be. Enough Monday link-up!! I hope you will come by to link up your favorite “me” moment and be open to the stories that others are sharing today and every Monday.


About Kelly Pugliano

Kelly is a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking, baking & writing about it on this blog. All recipes & photographs are made in her home kitchen or enjoyed during travels near & far. She has been featured on, iBlog Magazine and Capital Region Living Magazine.

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  1. says

    Now you made me feel bad … for so long on flights i ended up sharing the whole story of where i was from once people heard that i had an accent – that i started tuning people out.
    See, your friendship is good for me 😉

  2. says

    Now I feel bad making you feel bad!
    I know for a fact that if you were next to me we would be talking non-stop! :)

    And your accent? Is like music to my ears-I could listen all day, every day!

    I miss you!

  3. says

    I never, ever talk to people in places like that. But then I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as interesting as the two people you met. I attract weirdos.

  4. says

    That is such a great attitude to adopt, Kelly! I’m like the Ice Queen on planes and I used to fly alone all the time when I worked. Like long transatlantic flights. Without talking to people. I wonder what I’ve missed out on!

  5. says

    This post has me choked up. When you said that you know you’ve missed out on some really great stories, I instantly related. I am a MAGNET for crazy people, but rather than embrace, I shut down. I’ve never liked that about myself (the shut down part, not the magnet part).

    Putting myself out there, being open to conversation, is really hard for me, but I don’t want that to be the case.

    You’ve inspired me to be more open, and more present.

  6. says

    That is an amazing thing to do. My grandma has a gift for striking up conversations wherever she goes. I am sure the people you met on the planes appreciated your smile and your listening ear. A little kindness probably really helped their journey.

  7. says

    This is amazing! I, too, tend to get sucked into unsolicited conversations and wonder just how the heck I ended up there. But you’ve reminded me that everyone has a story, and you never know who you’ll meet unless you give them a try. I’m glad for you that you stepped outside of your comfort zone like that!

  8. says

    Love this! I tend to get drawn into my book and rarely look up from my aisle seat. You are so right about taking the chance, and the time..and opening yourself up! Yeah for stepping out of your comfort zone! xo

  9. says

    (Okay, I never would have known you were nervous at BlogHer. You seemed to have it all together!)

    I love this because I pretty typically avoid eye contact, conversation, or anything else on public transportation. I shut down and hole up. But on your plane trips, not only did you hear some great stories, but think about how you made those two people feel by listening to and acknowledging their stories. They were lucky to meet you.

  10. says

    See, my problem is I talk too much to strnagers LOL, or I never let them get a word in edgewise and so I miss the conversations because I am too busy trying to be witty or smart or interesting. But I’m so glad that you expanded yourself and met such amazing women. This whole post made me happy because I could see you taking a first step into a new comfort place and that is so sweet to witness. Yea!!!!!! JBE!!!!!!!

  11. says

    I have a similar goal for when I go to Bloggy Bootcamp this weekend. Smile and try to talk to more people! I tend to be a bit reserved and often don’t put myself out there… I’m changing that this weekend!

    It sounds like you did a great job and met a couple of pretty interesting people on the plane ride! Yay you!

  12. says

    What a great post. I really need to work on this. I tend to shut people out, afraid of what they may ask about my kids and having to share things that are tough for me but in doing that I am missing out on their stories too. I’m so glad that I read this, you definitely gave me a different perspective.

  13. Michelle says

    Wow what a great post! I am so bad about stepping out of my comfort zone, so I admire you! I am attending a blogging conference for the first time this weekend, and I am so nervous! This has definitely helped me to decide to do the same thing you did; just say hi! What amazing woman you met!

  14. says

    Kelly, I just loved this. I have always talked comfortably to complete strangers. I travelled through Asia with my parents (quite some years back)My father kept asking my mother “Who is she talking to now”? However when I had surgery in 2000 and received 2 artificial heart valves that tick, I discovered I needed to be more diligent at this, especially on a plane before the engine starts up. You do not want to hear ticking on a plane, and expecially ticking from IN the lady next to you….so now I can talk to anyone anywhere…and I have found the best Opening Line is “Are you going home…? The answer gives you the next question and away you….well on your way to a new friend.(Because everyone is Going home or just leaving)

  15. says

    What a beautiful post! It’s amazing how everyone has a story, one that could potentially reveal that ways we are the same without even knowing it. I, too, am usually unwilling to encourage conversations with strangers, but since becoming a mom, I’ve been getting better. It’s nice to get to know the people that share my world.

  16. David says

    Never talk to strangers, especially if they offer candy.
    If however, you are packing heat and the champagne is flowing, simply enjoy.
    Your loving cousin, David

  17. says

    Oooh, something for me to continue to develop. I mean, I’ll talk to anyone. But actually get engaged in real conversation – doesn’t always happen. This is good.


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