I must have one of those faces that people look at me and know I can keep a secret.
Which is actually true. I can and I do, especially when it comes to my friends.
This year I went back home to Portugal for Christmas and returned on the 31st. It was 11:58pm when I walked in through the front door.
On the plane, I was sat next to a man who started talking to me. He had one of those bubbly personalities and was actually making me laugh. As a nervous flyer, the distraction was greatly appreciated and welcomed.
My daughter was sitting by the window and entertained on her iPad so naturally, the conversation continued.
I’m not exactly sure how this happened but before I knew it, he started sharing details of his family and intimate details of his own life.
Details of affairs with several women and how he struggles to control himself because women won’t leave him alone.
Any other day, I would start to feel uncomfortable for obvious reasons.
- Dude, we met 15mins ago.
- Can’t you see my engagement ring?
- You’re more than old enough to be my Dad.
However, that wasn’t the vibe I was getting from him.
It was interesting to see a woman repeatedly coming over to our seats and openly hitting on him. She asked him multiple times to go and sit next to her as there was a spare seat on her row.
Although he did his best to stop himself and I saw the inner battle, the truth is that he left the plane with her phone number and facebook page so they could add one another as friends.
That got me thinking about how sometimes people simply rely on a stranger to blast out what that they’ve been carrying and have buried deep in their hearts. Maybe it’s a heavy burden so by saying it, it alleviates the the heart.
I did it once too. I was a teenager and was walking around Lisbon and ended up in one of the city’s parks.
Something made me sit on a bench and although I can’t remember the details exactly because it was more than 15 years ago, I know I ended up sharing a lot of personal stuff with a complete stranger.
I sat there and I shared. And he listened. I’m pretty sure he also gave me some good advice because I remember thanking him and leaving with a refreshed soul and a smile on my face.
Sometimes, strangers can help.
Which maybe explains the attractiveness of virtual friendships. Someone can hide themselves behind a computer screen and create a completely new persona.
Maybe that’s why there are so many weirdos online. Maybe what one cannot be in real life, is born in the virtual realm.