Perhaps it's a reflection of my age, or the fact that I spend too much time alone in front of a computer screen that more often than not, I find myself talking to strangers. It's a pleasant way to engage with your fellow human beings and spread a little cheer.
Waiting for or travelling on public transport often induces strangers to start up a conversation. Simply assist a commuter struggling with the ticketing system or offer to help a tourist with a heavy backpack and before you know it, you've reached your destination, made someone smile and practised your high school French to boot.
When strolling through your neighbourhood, greet or smile at oncoming pedestrians. Sure it will be awkward for a millisecond but it might just bring a moment of joy to a lonely person. I've also found that the majority of cats on the street will approach you or respond with a friendly miaow, if you miaow first.
Don't ignore anyone busily working in their front garden. Stop and tell them what a great job they're doing. You could wind up with a lesson in pruning or taking home a bunch of flowers.
At the supermarket it's easy to chat or complain to the person beside you at the register - the long queues, the rising price of food, the muzak. In the time it takes to buy a trolley load of items, you could hear someone's life story, as I did one day.
If you are required to share a table at a busy restaurant with a stranger or two, don't turn up your nose but embrace the opportunity. In no time you'll be deep in discussion and could land yourself a dinner date.
Next time you receive a call from a telemarketer, resist the temptation to be abusive or hang up. Turn the table on them by asking the questions. You might learn a thing or two or end up making a new friend in a far flung country.