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Hi! How Are You?

The Oxford dictionary tells us that the word ‘stranger’ means a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar. There are two other ways to look at the word, however. One is the sore thought of how no one truly knows you, how you don’t have any true friends. The other, on a more positive note, is the prospect of new and better people finding a permanent spot for themselves in your life, the forever you were looking for. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of the people in our lives, although we call them friends, are, in fact, strangers. Strangers aren’t just people who we do not know or with whom we are not familiar, but they’re people who are unfamiliar with us as well. To know someone is to know every bit of what truly happens in their lives. The people who meet you and know only the surface should, in my opinion, also be considered strangers. The probability is that you, too, know only their surface, for friendship is a two-way street. One needs to be willing to listen to the other, and vice-versa, to actually know anything about each other.

We’ve all seen these movies where people go to parties to escape, to forget about their troubles for just a while. In fact, a lot of us have done the same. We teens are more or less alone in this world of adults, since “our problems are insignificant” or because “we’re just a bunch of seventeen-year-olds who don’t have real adult-sized problems”. Well, at these parties, you’re bound to run into a few people you don’t know. When you say, “Hi! How are you?”, do you really expect them to say something along the lines of “Well, my girlfriend just broke up with me and I’m failing my Math paper” or just “Good and you”? I’m betting on the latter. And the sad part is that they expect the same from you! But when someone is genuine, you should just spill your guts, because chances are they’ll help you laugh through your problems and thus will start a new flame, or they’ll just think you’re weird and it’ll end there. The fear of the latter, though, is the reason that most strangers remain strangers.

First impressions are very important. Quite recently I met someone who told me that majority of the time, forty to sixty percent of a person’s character is assumed in their first meeting with someone. College interviews, job interviews, even dates all depend on what the opposite party thinks of you the first time they speak to you. And it’s true! In this modern day and age, where a person’s looks and clothes are more important than their personality, where it’s not who they are, but how much money they have is what’s more important, this very thing keeps a stranger, just that…a stranger. People don’t take the time to get to know one another anymore. If they did, I doubt this world would be as sorry as it is.

I used to be one of those people, who cared too much, who felt that I wasn’t good enough or “cool” enough (the aptest word I could think of). Well, I learned the hard way that, not matter what you do or say, you can’t please everyone. So I stopped caring! To a certain extent, I still have that nagging feeling in the back of mind: If I say this, what’ll they think? What if they don’t like me? What if they think I’m weird? But I just push it back, because at the end of the day, if someone’s meant to be in your life, for forever or not, they eventually will. I may not believe in God, but I do believe in Fate and Destiny. Your Fate may be in your hands, but essentially, your Destiny is in theirs.

-Sabah Mehta, 12A

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