Do you often talk to strangers? Is it easy for you to start a conversation with a stranger? Are you afraid of being judged by strangers?
  • To rub along (phrasal verbs) - If two people rub along, they work or live together in a satisfactory way.
  • To get on with smn (phrasal verb) - if you get on with someone, you like them and have a friendly relationship with them.
  • Prematurely (adv.) - in a way that happens or is done too soon, especially before the natural or suitable time.
  • To bump into smn (phrasal verb) - to meet someone you know when you have not planned to meet them.
  • Damp (adj.) - slightly wet, especially in a way that is not pleasant or comfortable.
  • To fall out with smn (phrasal verb) - to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them: He left home after falling out with his parents.
  • Pressing (adj.) - A pressing problem, need, or issue has to be dealt with immediately.
  • Social cohesion (noun) - refers to the strength of relationships and the sense of solidarity among members of a community.
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Questions and answers
Maria: Rory, do you often talk to strangers?

Rory: Yeah, all the time, actually, and in my work, I meet new people all the time. So it's important that we can rub along well together, even though we don't know each other. And then I suppose on certain dating apps, I talk to different people, which it doesn't always turn out romantic, actually. But you can you can still make friends on these things, I should say. And so there's that. And then random people speak to me on Instagram all the time. They ask for advice with their IELTS exams, preparation, for example. And if you want to do that, then you're very welcome. It's a bit weird, though, just because, how best to explain, just because you don't expect to get these messages, do you?

Maria: Is it easy for you to start a conversation with a stranger?

Rory: Yeah, almost always. I'm not a very shy person, obviously, and I don't mind chatting for a bit, although it's ending the conversation that can be a bit problematic because I usually have work to do. So I need to... well, I just need to get on with it, so it can sometimes end things a bit prematurely. But usually there's no reason why we can't keep speaking online later. So it's like I said, with people, they can find me on Instagram if they ever bump into me in public.

Maria: Do you have difficulty talking to strangers?

Rory: Erm only if there's a language barrier, so, for example, if we talk about Russian. A lot of Russian speakers are functional and not conversational. And so I can communicate basic ideas, but not very complex ones, which can put a bit of a damper on things at times. And that's a problem.

Maria: Is it difficult to tell a story to a stranger?

Rory: Uh, I suppose it depends on what the story is, doesn't it? Um, so usually I'm quite good at, well, just telling stories, but sometimes I get a bit carried away and leave out important details because I'm so excited to tell it. Um, usually it's nothing you can't recover from though. And once you realize that you've left something out, then you just quickly add it in.

Maria: Are you afraid of being judged by strangers?

Rory: Uh, I used to be, but no, I don't really care at all. The people who know me well and my friends have chosen to be my friends. So their opinions are the ones that I'm more interested in and I value more in general. Um, I suppose nobody wants to be disliked, but, um, not but but and it would be a shame if people were to fall out with me over something inconsequential, even if I don't know them very well. Although when it does happen, ultimately, I just ask myself, will I really care about this falling out in five years time when I have my dream life? Probably not. Um, and there's little to judge me about anyway, so it's not exactly a pressing concern.

Maria: Do people in your country often talk to strangers?
Rory: Oh, yeah, we're a very friendly bunch. Come to Scotland if you can. Yeah, we have freedom, freedom to talk to strangers. So, yeah, we're a friendly bunch. And I think Scottish people are generally more open and positive about new people than in a lot of other places. One reason could be that we have pretty good social cohesion and a lower population. So we could feel a lot bolder when we're amongst more of us, for example. And of course, it could also be because a lot of people in Scotland are quite heavy drinkers and don't know what we're doing half the time. So there's that as well. Maybe a lack of self awareness.
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