In a world where division and skepticism seem to be the norm, it’s tempting to close ourselves off from those who are different. But what if embracing the unknown could be the key to unlocking happiness and knowledge? The 1980s’ “Stranger Danger” campaign may have instilled a deep-seated fear of interacting with those we don’t know, but it’s important to consider the benefits of breaking down these barriers.

Think about it: by engaging with strangers, we open ourselves up to a world of new experiences and perspectives. Talking to someone who has a different background or life story can broaden our understanding of the world and challenge our assumptions. It can also bring excitement to our daily routine, providing a break from the familiar. And who knows? You may just find a new friend or mentor in the process.

But don’t just take our word for it. Political scientist Dietlind Stolle argues that a generation raised on “Stranger Danger” may have developed a damaged ability to trust others, and that trust is crucial for society to function. So, let’s make an effort to safely engage with those we meet in our daily lives. Who knows, you might just discover the wisdom that has been eluding you all along.