Jagriti Chhabra, a business graduate, used to take the local train to work until a couple of years back. Little did she know that the daily commute would put her life back on track, thanks to a total stranger on the same train, who later became her BFF (best friend forever).
“There was a girl who used to board the same compartment at almost the same time every day. We only exchanged smiles at first, and this continued for about 10-15 days. One day, we shared our lunches, and eventually became best friends,” she reminisces.
Such pals are known as ‘stranger buddies’. The oxymoron describes fast friends who knew absolutely nothing about the other at one time, and shared no connection in terms of educational or family backgrounds or common friends. Stranger buddies generally emerge from the most common activities or instances, such as use of the same mode of transport, accidental meeting, or getting stuck in an elevator together. There are no co-associations or introductions.
Chhavi Malhotra, a second year student at Khalsa College, Delhi University, has also experienced her stranger buddy moment: “There was a boy in my tuition centre— Anuroop Dhanjal — whom I never spoke to. We were total strangers, practically non-existent for the other. After taking admission in college, however, we happened to bump into each other one day. Today, we’re the best of friends and batch mates”.
Call it divine intervention or kismet, but shrinks say it’s simply destiny. “This happens to everybody. A friendship cannot be planned. It is something that just clicks between two individuals, based on similar thought processes, mutual interests and likings.
Ultimately, it gives rise to attachments,” says Dr Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist with Max Healthcare and the Chief of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences. “It is based on random selection and is spontaneous,” he adds.
However, there are no reports to show if ‘stranger friendships’ are stronger and last longer than ‘familiar friendships’, those that arise from a common network.
How to befriend a total stranger
Ditch your car or bike (it minimises chances of meeting new people) and take the train to work or college instead.
Be patient. The right person will come along.
If instinct spots someone, make polite conversation and see how it goes. But take it slow, lest it backfires.