Stranger to Acquaintances?

Have you ever had an actual conversation with a stranger? Talking to a person you do not know may feel very awkward. Last week, our communication class had a group activity called “Getting to know me, Getting to know you” that required the researchers to talk to a stranger and obtain as many details about him/her as possible. The researchers conducted the activity at SM City Iloilo because it was easier to find people to talk to there. The objective of this activity was to find out how strangers would react if they were asked certain questions, from casual ones to more personal ones. The results of which will give the researchers a general idea on how Filipinos communicate given this kind of situation.

The researchers group decided to split into three to maximize the given time given and to obtain as much respondents as they could  for this activity. For Angelo and Steven, the researchers are safe to say that they had a smooth-sailing approach in interviewing their chosen respondents, mostly girls, because they weren’t easily dismissed and the respondents willingly answered their questions. The reason that Angelo and Steven chose girls or a group of girls was because they felt that it is less awkward to ask personal questions to a group of gathers rather than to a group of boys. However, the total respondents were not completely girls, there was also a group of people who were a mix between boys and girls.

For Bay and Rea, they noted that it is easier to approach a group of people compared to a person with no companion. When they asked questions to a group of friends, the atmosphere is more casual for both the respondents and the interviewees. It is way more different when they approached people who were alone because they showed hesitations and signs of being uncomfortable. They were also dismissed by a lone man in his early 20’s.

Rexelle, on the other hand, hasn’t approached anyone in the first 10 minutes of the activity because she was shy and uncomfortable. Luckily, her first respondents were junior high school students and they had a very light and casual interview. Her next respondents were a group of senior high school students, approaching them became easier for her because  she was more confident unlike before. But of course, like Rea and Bay, she had difficulties in approaching people who were alone because they have this kind of aura which says, “Don’t talk to me.” She was also dismissed by a man in his mid-40’s and the only thing that I said was, “Hello, Sir. Good afternoon.”

Throughout the whole process of this activity, the researchers were able to gather a lot of information from a wide array of respondents. Majority of the interviewees were able to share their personal information without thinking twice. They easily gave out their names, age and, even their own fantasies. However, the researchers have observed that as we went deeper on, asking them more personal questions such as their goals in life, all their answers were somewhat generalized. Almost all of the respondents answered “To be successful” when asked the question on their life goals. Moreover, when asked what their fantasies were, the responses were a bit constricted and the interviewees tried their best to come up with an answer that is somewhat wholesome and decent.

The manner in which the respondents answered our questions was also influenced by the people who they were with. It was notable that in groups of friends, the mood was more approachable and casual. The people who answered and even researchers were more at ease. With couples, on the other hand, it was noticeable that they shared an intimate relationship since they would always pause and look at each other before answering or one of them would just allow the other to answer for him/her. The researchers assume that this is because they believe that their partners know them well or they just don’t want to participate in the talking. Nevertheless, it was much easier for the researchers to approach and establish a conversation with groups rather than with people who were alone. People who were alone also tried to avoid eye contact, were in a hurry, and were obviously uncomfortable with the researchers approaching them, but as the conversation/interview went on, they became more relaxed and less tensed.

Some of the researchers spent half of their lives in a tradition Catholic school where they were taught to be more conservative in a way. They were taught to not bother other people even if it was for a couple of questions. In general, the researchers, for the most part of the activity, were at ease and did not mind approaching people that they do not know  to conduct their interview and to gather data. Although, at the beginning of the activity, the researchers had a hard time approaching respondents for whatever personal matter they had in mind.



(Nobleza, Rose, Sarabia, Solano, Velasco)

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