tea with strangers

We’re not doing anything groundbreaking. We’re creating something that would’ve been incredibly unnecessary 20 years ago. But while we get busier, it’s easy to forget the value of a conversation for no reason. A conversation that’s intentionally unintentional.

Ankit Shah is on a global mission.  He wants to build a smaller world… together!  He wants to make cities feel more like neighborhoods.  He wants people to take a pause from looking down at their screens and get back to looking into one another in the eyes. It’s that simple.  Shah is the driving force behind the community organization, Tea With Strangers which is bringing increasing numbers of folks together in public spaces (from Chattanooga to Boston) for no-strings attached conversations over tea.  “We’re not doing anything groundbreaking. We’re creating something that would’ve been incredibly unnecessary 20 years ago. But while we get busier, it’s easy to forget the value of a conversation for no reason. A conversation that’s intentionally unintentional.”

Says, the Tea With Strangers website…  “There are two massive hurdles that often stop us from smiling at each other on the street, taking our headphones out on the bus, or just generally treating others with a huge amount of empathy, understanding, and awesome.”

  1. We have our own lives to lead, and empathizing with others is hard when we’re stuck in our own heads.
  2. We don’t know how others will respond if we actually do something so outlandish as saying, “Hi” or asking “How are you? No really, how are you?

Every time you host tea time, you’re practicing being inclusive, attentive, and curious without inhibition. That’s an awesome challenge, and in it is huge opportunity to grow as a person.

Shah and his team’s bright idea was to build a network of Tea With Strangers “hosts” throughout the globe whose role is simply to help bring folks together in beautiful public settings such as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts or outdoors in the Prudential Center’s gardens, sometimes begin conversations with a few launch type questions and then simply listen… wholeheartedly. From this formula they are convinced, up pops smiles and real conversation – the type which is sorely missing in today’s accelerated gadget heavy existence.  “Hosting Tea With Strangers can make your life feel more fulfilling, more magical, and it might even make you a better person. Every time you host tea time, you’re practicing being inclusive, attentive, and curious without inhibition. That’s an awesome challenge, and in it is huge opportunity to grow as a person.”

Stay tuned to Tea With Strangers on Facebook and on Twitter, and join in the conversation right here in Boston on Wednesday evening, September 14th for a cup of tea with (host) Liam and friends at the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

Author Susan Currie is Managing Editor at BOSTON YOGA and an Associate Editor at LA YOGA magazine. Beyond her contributions to these publications, her words and images have been featured in the Boston Globe, Elephant Journal, Yogi Times, the Huffington Post, Spirit of St. Bart’s and on the cover of the book Moving into Meditation (Shambala) by Anne Cushman. 

Susan is also the creator of the Daily Inhale and an RYT 200 registered yoga instructor. She unpacks her various professional experiences through creative (and yoga) workshops she leads throughout the country. Her new book, Once Divided (Shanti Arts 2016), a blend of visual and verse, is now available in wide release. GRACENOTES, its follow-up, will be published in 2017.