This week we’re doing another fun field assignment: how many new people do you think you meet in a day?

This one is easy because all you have to do is GO ABOUT YOUR LIFE LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.  Just carry a scrap of paper to tally the count and to make notes.  

For the purpose of the exercise, we’ll define “meet” as: an encounter with a new person.

We’ll define “encounter” as: more than eye contact, or a simple nod, but not necessarily a long discourse or a “deep” conversation.  So chatting with someone at the train station about the weather counts.  Shaking hands with someone new in a meeting or at a party counts.  Small talk counts.  Digital encounters?  You can make a case. 

In the comments, post…

New People Met:

And then explain what the experience was like, as if writing a brief journal entry, objectively observing your everyday path through the world. 

21 responses to “Special Assignment! How Many New People Do You Meet in a Day?”

  1. Nancy Michelle says:

    Ever since I came to Philadelphia my number of encounters have been declining. I normally “encounter” about 3-4 new people a day but since coming here I would say like 1 a week but I guess today was a lucky day because I encountered someone new.

    I met this guy in the bank, and we didn’t exchange names but we started talking about school and what we plan to do after school. I think he was a graduate student so it was kinda cool to get some insight from someone who was a bit older than me.

  2. We meet different number of people everyday. But sometimes we are ready for the encounter with the unacquainted persons and sometimes we are not. On 04/25/2012, i met 2 strangers.

    The first person i met was in the class, we did the assignment assigned by our professor. We talked about the assignment and after that we talked about our majors and courses we took this term. The second person i met was at the cafe. We are in the same class but i never talked to him before. We talked about our professor and the homework assignment which are due in next week. We discussed about the test we had.
    Meeting the strangers is the part of our life, but we never thought to be as a main part of our life. After doing this exercise,I think that I meet at least two strangers everyday.

  3. Erika Bar-David English 802 says:

    Coming to Temple I was afraid of fitting in and how even in an orchestra even though I have been doing it my whole life I was going to get along with college students. I have many college friends from past groups I have performed in but being in college now is a totally different experience. I met a Russian student who led our orchestra here for the first concert. At first it was he would socialize with the other Russian performers and they had their own little clique talking in Russian and ignoring us. As time went by they started to open up to us and now we get along pretty well. These are kids that came from Russia to study at the music school that came with one of the professors for music or something.

    Another kid I met is a friend named Ryan from orchestra. I had a strange feeling the second I laid eyes on him that I had seen him before. As it had turned out he had a brother who was practically his twin and then I had an even stronger feeling I had seen them at an audition before. He and I sat close by each other in orchestra throughout both semesters for opera and for regular orchestra. We started talking during rehearsals and he would come by and give me a high five on my way to class if I see him in the hall and we would just chat together for a while. And we tease each other for fun in orchestra he always steals a pencil from us because we have to mark in things in the music and he never carries a pencil. We told him we would get him a box of pencils for his birthday and be even nicer to him by gift wrapping it.

  4. Michael Russo says:

    An encounter I made the other day would be a good example of meeting a complete stranger. Sabrina and I were heading up to the 11th floor, and then a stranger walked into the elevator and requested the 7th floor to us. Sabrina hit the button and we were on our way up. We continued the conversation that was going on between me and Sabrina, and soon this guy started to get involved in our conversation. He was nice, sociable, and had a sense of humor. Although it was only for a brief persiod of time, we sparked up a conversation between the 3 of us in the elevator. When he left he said “peace ya’ll” and we said goodbye as well. Meeting this stranger made me realize that this could happen to anyone, and hopefully we will see him around, and maybe we can carry on a friendship.

  5. Chris Janis says:

    Living in Philadelphia and going back to my parent’s house 10 minutes over the bridge in NJ seem like two different worlds. When I’m in Philly, I could go days without meeting anyone new because of the fast paced environemnt. Many people would think that living in the city makes it easier to meet people, but I’ve often found it to be the complete opposite. When I’m home in South Jersey in the suburbs, I find it easy to make small talk with locals in my area, and to meet new people in general. There is no “hey how ya doin” as you walk the streets of philly, but there seems to be alot of it in the suburbs.

  6. Between school and work I don’t get to go out much. My free time is usually spent with close friends so I don’t meet strangers very often. My most recent encounter was on the train yesterday morning with another temple student. I sat down on the train and started knitting and saw the girl on the other side was too. We started talking about our projects and knitting patterns. This demonstrates how common interests can bring people together on a boring train ride. It is interesting to think that if she or I had been wearing headphones (like I usually do), we would never have met at all.

  7. Sabrina Merz says:

    The other day i encountered two different people. The first was on the elevator with Mike. We had already been having a conversation and another person walked into the elevator. He started to laugh at some of the things we were saying and ended up having a short conversation with us. When he got off the elevator he said bye to both of us. The second encounter i made was at the temple book store. I was buying folders for my portfolio, and the cashier complimented my pants. We ended up talking about different thrift stores in the area for a minute or two before i left. I found this encounter interesting because she directed me to a bunch of different stores that i had never heard of in Philly.

  8. Marina Lamanna says:

    I should preface these entries by noting that I have been absurdly busy the past week, thus my encounters have been few and far between.

    4/26: I had seen an ad posted that was looking for English majors interested in blogging for TEDxDrexelU. I am a huge fan of TED talks so naturally I expressed interest. Once I acquired the job I met with a graduate student at Drexel who was spearheading the event. We discussed the logistics and content that would entail in making and distributing the blog.

    Our conversation was very professional and efficient. We met merely to discuss the conference and iron out some details.

    4/27: I went home for the weekend to free myself of distractions in preparation for midterms this week. In doing so, I met my seventeen year-old sister’s boyfriend. As are most first-boyfriend-encounters, he was extremely courteous discussed interest in possibly attending Drexel for architecture.

    The meeting was very civil and eerily polite. I finished the conversation by curtly noting that I would be more than welcome to give him a tour of Drexel if need be.

    4/29: After going home for the weekend I came back—as most college students would—with arms filled with laundry, food, and books. Considering I’m a particularly minute person, one could imagine the image is quite humorous. Therefore, when I was struggling to obtain my Drexel ID to get into my dorm, a young man swiped me in and assisted me with my bags. Once in the elevator we made quaint jokes regarding parents and going home for the weekend.

    The conversation was brief considering I live on the fourth floor. Even though, the chivalrous actions prompted a pleasant discussion between two people that would have likely stood silent in the elevator.

  9. Mindy says:

    I decided to do this on friday,April 27. My day started off by being called in to sub at 6:30am.I was put in a kindergarten class that I had never been in before.Right there I met 12 children.However,I decided that I would only count the kids that I was really able to engage in conversation one-on-one- where they told me some little story about themselves.I was able to this with 6 children. Kids tell their teachers all kinds of stuff-something parents should keep in mind.There are no secrets!:)I also met 2 teachers who were new to me.One I had seen before-we both work at the summer camp,but I had never had the chance to meet her.I had to leave early for a special event at my child’s school.While I was there I met 3 parents-all of whom had older children at the school. One told me her son didn’t want her there.Words I never want to hear!It doesn’t have to happen,does it?The other mom said it was because the boy is graduating and is trying to make the separation.Okay-maybe,but still don’t want that to happen.I ended my hectic day by driving up to New Hope to stop by my shop for a short time. Some people that come into the shop are very chatty-then there are the awkwardly silent ones,the ones you hope don’t try to strike up a conversation,and a variety in between.I had actual conversations with 5 people while I was there.They were all tourists.A few were there just for the day,and a couple were in New Hope for the weekend.
    Some days in the shop are just a parade of quirky people,this day was kind of low key.So,by the end of the day I had met 16 new people.I suppose I could have counted all of the children and a few others that came into the shop-but I made the criteria a little tougher.I don’t often think about how many people walk in and out of my life on a daily basis.

  10. Jonathan Kelly says:

    This past weekend I barely had any interaction with other people at all besides my roommate and a couple friends in my dorm. Since I was busy studying for midterms all of last week, I decided to just take it easy this weekend. When I came upon the post for this week’s blog I found myself in a pickle. I had no other contact with strangers this weekend so I decided to make it a point to make a new friend in my engineering lecture.

    On my way to engineering lecture I was determined to meet someone new and possibly become acquaintances with him/her. I arrived 20 minutes early to get a good seat and look around for someone else whom I chat with for a little. I sat in the very first row toward the right side of the auditorium and noticed a guy sitting in the first row toward the middle. I’m usually not the type to start random conversations but I worked up all of my courage and asked if he would like to sit next to me and chat about engineering. We exchanged names and majors and before we knew it we we’re off rambling about our engineering design projects. I decided to ask for his phone number and to my surprise he generously gave it to me. I was immediately was intrigued by the way his name was spelled. His name was Khalin. I had never heard of the name spelled that way before. Usually it is spelled starting with a ‘C’ rather than a ‘Kh’. I gave him a quick little compliment on it and he chuckled with the response, “Yeah, I get that a lot.”

    We were both engineers so obviously we started chatting about our projects for this term. As it turns out, we were both designing a solar powered car. We both exchanged tips and different design ideas for the future. When I was conversing with him I noticed something very peculiar that doesn’t happen very often and that is that he and I share a very similar personality and sense of humor. It doesn’t take much to get a chuckle out of me and I enjoy making others laugh as well. Khalin had pretty much the exact same sense of humor. It was kind of odd at first, but it wasn’t long before we we’re both cracking up in our seats all through the lecture.

    I’m very glad that I made the decision to meet a new friend on such a short notice. I think I will try to make at least one new friend in each of my classes this week. Hopefully they will all be as welcoming as Khalin and once the week is over I could possibly walk away with a bunch of new friends who were once nothing but strangers to me.

  11. Date:April 29,2012
    New people met: 52
    I decided to use the day I had planned to go to the phillies game as my day to do my research. I wanted to use a day when I was both in a crowded area and most of the people had things in common, as in this case a love for the local baseball team. The day began with me and the family riding to meet the babysitter. I knew her but did not know her husband so that was an easy 1 on my count of people I met that day. He was very nice and we quickly made conversation. I definitely found that meeting people you have a common acquaintance in was rather easy.
    Our next adventure came on the Subway. Riding a crowded train car is very different on the way to a game then it is on my normal daily commute to school. People seem friendlier and were more open to conversation. We all had something in common so it was easier for us to talk. Most of the conversations we had were about the team which made conversations easier and less about the person as an individual. It was very different than encounters where you don’t know what the person and you would have to talk about and you would be unsure of what their interests are. Overall I met 15 new people on the train to the game which brought my total for the day to 16.
    At the game there were lots of conversations among strangers. Most of it was again regarding the game. Depending on how the game was going was how talkative people would be. As we would root for our favorite players as they were up people would make comments based on what we said and vice versa. Also some people made comments on the things we bought at the game. At the game we had direct conversations with 36 people.
    Unforutately the home team lost the game. There was little friendly conversation on the train home. In fact I didnt have anything I would count as an encounter on the entire ride home. The entire train was in a very sullen mood.

  12. I decided that since I was going to a small party with a few friends, I would use that opportunity to see how many new people I would meet. I ended up meeting two of my friends frat brothers shortly after I arrived. We had the usual talk about our majors and how we’re doing with mid terms. A little farther into the party, I talked to another two people that were friends of a friend. We ended up having a shorter conversation, but they were still very nice people. After that, my friends and I just ended up staying in our own little section and only really talking to people we knew. But I did end up meeting four new people Saturday, which is more eventful than my usual weekdays.

  13. Ashley M. says:

    I decided to do my research just on a normal day on campus throughout a 4 day time span. I concluded from this research that personally I encounter 4-5 new people each day. Between large classes, walking on campus, and going to eat.

  14. Eric Horton says:

    I work as an intern for the Obama campaign. My job is to recruit volunteers in the area and organize them into neighborhood teams, in order to build support for the campaign. The job requires me to reach out to strangers, whether on the phone, on street corners, or in scheduled meetings. This past weekend, I had two meetings (“one-on-ones”) with prospective volunteers. The campaign, in order to convey a relatable and appealing narrative, requires its employees to share their “personal stories” with prospectives – their reasons for volunteering with the campaign. The campaign also requires us to ask others to share their personal stories. This makes for a unique exchange; you get to know people on a much more substantial level than you would in any other work-related meeting. I met two people this way this past weekend, and came away knowing a great deal about their personalities and histories.

  15. Danny Luca says:

    I was walking out of my chemistry lab and headed to the cafeteria with my lab partner. We were talking in Spanish and as we were about to cross the street we were stopped by a stranger. He asked what country we were from and we both responded that we were Ecuadorian. As soon as we said this he became very enthusiastic and began asking us questions on what part of Ecuador our families were from and how long we had been in the country. As we walked he asked more questions and told also told us about his own life. He works at UPenn and had recently come over from Ecuador. He was excited about finding other Ecuadorians in Philadelphia and told us how he recognized our nationality by our accent.
    I walked in late to physics lab and joined the group in the back. There were two other guys they were both named Daniel and a girl named Ashley. While doing the lab we mainly discussed the lab but also made a bunch of small talk. Afterwards Ashley and I both headed in the same direction to the dorms. We just asked each other a bunch of questions like about our majors and what dorm we lived in and we found out we had acquaintance. She recognized me because of all the time I spent in my friend’s dorm, which was apparently also her dorm. Later on in the day while I got on a train headed home to New Jersey for the weekend and met an older woman who was traveling to New York. It was her first time traveling by train and was confused by her four different tickets. When the conductor came to collect her ticket she gave him a ticket and he punched it without looking. They then realized it wasn’t the right ticket. She was a bit upset by this because she was worried that this would prevent her from getting to New York. After they came up with a solution she just reviewed her tickets and asked me a couple questions about traveling, and where I was headed.
    I was watching a movie with one of my best friends and she invites her boyfriend to join us because she said she wanted me to meet him. Even though she stills lives in New Jersey and I’m in Philadelphia her and I are very close, which is why she wanted my opinion before things get really serious. We mainly just stayed in the living room and had watched movies all night. He and I both started talking about different movies we liked and then just our interests in general.
    While I waited for the train back to Philadelphia I was sitting on a bench at the train station. As soon as I sat down the man sitting about two seats away from me started asking me questions. He asked me about my nationality and then about my school. I answered his questions and then asked him where he was from. He was Colombian and was on his way to Long Branch. Our conversation was cut because my train arrived shortly afterwards.

  16. Greg Monaco says:

    People met: 7
    The day I read this post was the day I was going to baltimore to see my girlfriend. I thought this couldn’t be a more perfect time to try this out, since I’ll be in public a decent amount of my day. This helped in deed since I was able to make conversation with the two men that checked my train ticket before and after I got on the train, the girl sitting next to me on the train, the man that was waiting to open the taxi door for me at Baltimore Penn station, the taxi driver and a waiter I met whenI took my girlfriend out to dinner. I also bumped into a guy and had a quick “sorry” “its okay” moment, so I figured I’d throw that in. I also remembered that I met and talked to my roommates friend from home via skype for about an hour at 3 am that morning so I feel like that counted as well. It was interesting counting how many people I met, but what really was interesting is counting the people I didnt meet. So many people go by that we barely even notice and looking for a connection helps you notice the ones you miss.

  17. Date 4/27-4/29
    People met: 55

    I just did my research on a normal weekend. i met about 18 people per day. this number is a little inflated based on the activities i was participating in over the weekend. sunday i attended a science fair where one of my robots was on display for little kids to play with and to answer questions asked by the people attending the fair in the park. it was a great experience. it was kind of funny how people dealt with their children in public. i do not want children anytime soon!!

  18. Kamil Kurpaska says:

    I just realized my post never went through on here, so I have to repost again.

    My research was conducted on a weekend, just like many others here that I noticed. I was at work so my number is probably a bit inflated. I work at my father’s automotive business, and meet tons of new people everyday. This past Saturday, I met 27 new people. These were all strangers, and unfamiliar faces. They happened to just be new “customers” who stopped by to look through our wide variety of used cars. To be quite honest, this was a slow day nonetheless. I work all week, and on the weekends, and I sometimes meet more people on a weekday than I happened to this weekend. I never really took much consideration into it though, as to me it was just business and they were just customers, but this past weekend it was quite amazing as I kept count and realized these things. I try to have some sort of conversation with everyone usually, but don’t think much of it. Although this weekend was slow, with only 27 new people, I still met people that were from Malaysia, Serbia, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Bukina Faso, Mali, and of course, the united states. A lot of people that I meet on a daily basis happen to be from Vietnam, Bukina Faso, Ghana, and Liberia. The area where our business is located, in south west Philadelphia, has a huge ethnic background from those areas. I was intrigued by this project as it gave me a whole new sense to my job. I get the chance to interact with a wide array of people from all over the world. I create connections with all kinds of people, but don’t even make much use of them. I also have the ability to learn so much, about different people and cultures, but I never realized that before and never took advantage of that. In short, this project has helped me realize there is a lot more to life and these interactions that it just being a part of my job and business. Everything can be a learning experience, you just have to make it out to be one. I’ve been working with my father for over 5 years now, and I never really thought about any of these interactions and how I meet all these new people. Over these years, now that I think about it, I probably met people from almost every country in the world. I hope that now, with a far more expanded mindset, I will be able to make better use of my ability to interact.

  19. sien j says:

    Date: 4/27, 4/29
    New people met: Boy who lives on my floor, Roommate’s Brother

    Boy who lives on my floor:
    My friend has been struggling with a mice problem in her room. She set out traps in and outside her room hoping to catch them. The other day she heard one of the traps and asked me to come over to her room because she was too scared to check the trap her self. When I got there, we checked the trap and saw the dead mouse. Too terrified to dispose of the mouse ourselves we asked a guy walking to his room to help us out. After he helped us, we had a brief conversation in which we exchanged names and shared our thoughts on the mice issue.

    Roommate’s Brother:
    After going home for the weekend, my roommate came back with boxes and laundry which she had her brother help her carry to our room. After he set her things down, she introduced him to me. We exchanged names and spoke very briefly.

  20. Patrick Lyden says:

    Date: I can not remember, it was recent
    New people met: Guy serving pasta at the dining hall.

    Guy serving pasta at the dining hall:
    I get pasta at the dining hall very frequently, and normally the same people are working it. This time was different. There was a new guy working the pasta station that I had not seen before. I am a huge hockey fan, and a diehard Flyers fan, and I am almost always wearing their insignia in someway. I believe I was wearing my flyers hat then, and the guy started talking to me about how disappointing it was to lose to the Devils in the second round of the playoffs, and to have our star player suspended for the final game of that series.

  21. Sunny Shah says:

    Date 4/20
    New people met 26

    One this day we decided to head down to see a Phillies game on the train ride to the game I started to count the people that I started to interact with like a smile a head node or even if i bumped into them to my surprise I didn’t realize the amount of new people that I encountered on just the train ride then when we arrived at the game we had standing room tickets which made it a lot more interesting because you bumped in a lot of random new people there also and the atmosphere of the game also helped met new people for example me and my friend are Yankee fans and the game was against the redsox so my friend started to bash the redsox and out of nowhere we meet other Yankee fans and a redsox and Phillies game who knew.

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