I don't have much of a problem talking to strangers, and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. I understand it can be a bit annoying. An ex once grumbled that we couldn't go anywhere without me either making a new friend or running into someone I know and jibber-jabbering with them for an eternity. Having been a teacher for as long as I have, the chances that I will run into a former student who wants to catch up are extremely high. The strangest and probably best example is from a family vacation a few years ago. We had decided to take a cruise together instead of buying each other Christmas gifts. The last day on the boat was a Sunday, and I was sporting a St. Louis Ram's t-shirt. They're my team. I can't help it. I was in the elevator on my way to the sports lounge to catch the game when a guy asked if I was from St. Louis. I told him the name of my hometown on the Illinois side of the river. He told me he was from a town about 20 minutes south.We both laughed when I told him that I had taught at the high school in his hometown a few years prior. He then asked if I knew his favorite teacher. His jaw hit the floor when I informed him that not only did I know her, but she was my brother's mother-in-law. And when I told them my brother and sister-in-law were on the boat, he just about lost it. We both shook our heads and mumbled, "Small world" at the same time.
That being said, I find it extremely difficult to craft a message to someone I find interesting online. You don't want to write the great American novel, but one-liners are so tacky. And trying not to sound needy, clingy, stalker-ish, or insane is tougher than you can imagine. If you point out things you have in common, it often reads clingy. Mentioning qualities they seem to have that you are looking for comes across as needy. And a witty one-liner often reads as completely insane. I used to try commenting on something they had written in their profile, but you'd be surprised how many people don't remember what they typed in those boxes. I don't send very many unsolicited messages anymore. I figure if someone is interested, they will contact me.
My latest venture online has supplied me with an entire arsenal of cheesy, ridiculous one-liners. Which sets one to wonder if guys actually think they work. I've picked out a few of my favorites. First we have, "Is your name Internet? Because you have everything I've ever searched for." Really? You can tell all of that from a 4-sentence self-description and my list of favorite books? Get some self-esteem and maybe we'll talk. Then we have, "What does it feel like to be the best-looking person in the room?" Which room are we talking about exactly? We're online, moron. I did reply that it was extremely difficult and thanked him for understanding. Another favorite was, "I lost my phone number. Can I borrow yours?" Nope. If you're so dumb that you can't remember your own phone number, then I'm not interested. How about "Do you know CPR? Because you take my breath away." Um, no. And you should probably carry an inhaler if you have that much trouble breathing, Mr. Smooth. And the gold medal goes to "I wish I were DNA helicase, so I could unzip your genes." I guarantee that guy couldn't spell DNA correctly, much less tell me what it is for. Guys, I really want you to pay attention here. Don't use these. It doesn't work. Ever. And you don't want to catch the girls that would fall for that crap. You're welcome.
I once messaged a guy who listed "To Kill A Mockingbird" as one of his favorite books. I told him it's my favorite too, and asked who his favorite character was. He replied that he had never read it.