When was the last time you stopped a complete stranger on the tube or in the street to have a chat?
OK, that was a rhetorical question. Practically nobody speaks to strangers in London, which is probably why our great city was recently voted the least friendly city in the UK. But we think this unfriendly tag is rather unfair… and it seems that quite a number of you agree. Indeed there’s a new movement helping us to burst our bubbles and shift perceptions.
Tea With Strangers brings together small groups of people for two hours of no-strings-attached conversation in a local coffee shop or tea room. Each “tea time” is organised by a host who chooses the time and the place and lists it on the website for people to sign-up.
Ironically for something centred around tea, the initiative was actually started by an American student living in San Francisco (check out his story below). It has since spread to five other locations, arriving in London a couple of years ago to take our city by storm – there are now 16 hosts organising tea times across the city on a weekly basis.
The brilliant thing about Tea with Strangers is that (apart from the host) you never know who else will turn-up – age, sex, background, beliefs – it could be anyone. You might makes a new BFF, or you might all go your separate ways once the two hours is up. The only guarantee is that you’ll meet at least one person you wouldn’t have done otherwise. And as the saying goes, everyone has a story to tell.
Photo credit: Megan Park