The first time we meet someone, they’re a stranger.
No matter how that meeting takes place – an introduction from a friend or co-worker, at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop, or by chance at a party – that person is a stranger to us.
(We’re also strangers to them, which is something we tend to forget.)
Human beings are wired to fit things into categories, and in general that’s a good thing. Just think how difficult it would be if we couldn’t lump similar items together into groups – “houses” or “cars” – but instead had to keep a separate space in our brains and vocabularies to remember and describe each item individually.
However, value judgments tend to get lumped into those categories along with the items. (more…)