You can feel out of place when you are halfway around the world, or right next door. Have you felt like a stranger in a strange land? When?
If you take a trip to someplace you have never been, you might feel like an outsider. Particularly if everyone around you speaks a foreign language, or you are far from home.
However, it is also possible to feel like a stranger at a party where you don’t know anyone. Maybe everyone else seems to know each other, or have something in common. If you are not in a particularly outgoing mood, it might be very isolating.
“Speaking a foreign language” may not refer to English, or French, or Japanese. If you are the only single person in a room of married people with children, you might well feel like you don’t understand what anyone is talking about. Or a book person in a room full of jocks, or a plumber in a room full of computer programmers, and so on.
Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’
Of course, being a stranger isn’t always bad. On a vacation to a new destination, you might find some natural beauty that you love. New places might bring new architecture, new art, new experiences.
Similarly, at the party full of strangers you may meet a new best friend. Or at the very least, you may have an interesting conversation about something you don’t know much about or haven’t heard of. Trying new things can bring about positive change.
Of course, it might not. And even if it does, that doesn’t change the level of discomfort you feel when you are surrounded by the unfamiliar.
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land?