Less strange, more grilled

The Internet has opened up an amazing world of opportunities for meeting strangers with whom I'd have never in a million years come into contact otherwise. This week's Grilled Grandma is one such stranger.

I met Melinda through HARO (Help A Reporter Out). She needed an interviewee for an article, I offered up myself, we became less strange to one another.

After a few e-mails back and forth, Melinda offered up herself as a Grilled Grandma. I grilled her, and we became even less strange to one another.

No big deal, right? Such interactions happen all the time. Strangers meet online and make a difference, small or large, in one another's lives.

What made my interaction with Melinda extraordinary — at least for me — was that Melinda has written the book on such interactions and exchanges between strangers. Okay, she's written a book on such exchanges, and I found that an interesting coincidence. As the author of Consequential Strangers, co-authored with Karen L. Fingerman, PhD, Melinda waxes eloquently and informatively on folks on the outer skirts of our social circle, the virtual strangers, the "people who don't seem to matter ... but really do." It's a fascinating concept from a fascinating woman.

Read Grilled Grandma: Melinda. Then read her blog, buy her book, become less strange. We all matter to one another to a degree we never previously imagined. We all are consequential strangers.