Meeting new people helps make community

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readAug 29, 2022
It wasn’t too long ago that most American mainstreet communities looked like this. Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash.

Meeting new people is always something you remember. You remember it because it’s the day that the conversation was about you, about the other person, about the things you have in common, and about your differences.

These new encounters happen in all kinds of places, sometimes planned and sometimes in surprise settings. There are the organized setups for meeting new people, like the one the local museum or Chamber of Commerce might put on.

They are meant for the “new people” to feel welcome, a part of a community. I like these events because the “old timers” that have been around town for a generation or two welcome the newbies with open arms. They are walking postcards sharing the best of what the community offers and reminding the recently replanted residents that they made the right choice. Like a scene from the movie Pleasantville or The Andy Griffith Show.

Then there are the times you meet new people just by saying hello to someone you think you know but you don’t really know. The face is recognizable because you’ve seen him around town, so he must be from where you live, but you’re not sure. Still, you feel safe enough to share a greeting.

“Hello, there,” you say. “They have all the good, but not good for you stuff at the checkout counter,” you remark as you wait in line to purchase your grocery items. “I’m a sucker for these things.”

Sounds awkward, like something you usually wouldn’t tell a stranger, but you have to open up with some kind of statement. From there, the conversation leads to what you all do for a living, what part of town you live in, and other life details. The kinds of conversations that are hard to have at the self-checkout lanes.

Sometimes you meet someone at the movie theater because you are sitting next to her and you have to make small talk as you wait for the previews to begin. This only happens when the movie is really popular and there are no empty seats to separate you from the strangers around you.

I’m one of those kinds of people that likes to sit in the middle and towards the top…

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.