The Kindness of So-Called Strangers

by Jenn (eating bender) on April 1, 2010

Last night, a nice-looking woman approached me on the street and asked if I would like to attend dinner at her house. Usually, I just pass people who chat with me on the street and tell them that I’m not interested. But for some reason, I decided that this woman – a complete stranger – was genuine and safe, so I looked right back at her and agreed to join her for a meal.

The food was delicious and even though I left feeling as though maybe I should have reconsidered the whole “dining with a stranger” idea, I’m still glad that I took the chance.


The best part about that story?


Did you fall for it? I know it wasn’t the craziest of pranks but I thought it would be fun to at least try and it actually ties in well with the real story :)

So here’s the truth!

Last night, I went to dinner with Jill – my business partner who is definitely not a stranger – and two “so-called strangers.” I call them that because less than a month ago, none of us really knew that each other existed, other than possibly being introduced in passing. The most interesting thing about our friendship? We met through a medium that many people still find a scary, uncertain place. That’s right, they are my Twitter friends!

Jill wrote about our initial meeting with @CristerDelacruz earlier this month on our blog. I also had the fortune of meeting @SamiAri in passing at a tweetup – a meetup of Twitter nerds like me! – in January and again at his own hosted tweetup at The Wit last week. But in reality, this was the first chance that the two of us were able to sit down and have a real conversation.

It was fantastic.

Crister was our host for the evening. When we got there, a beautiful cheese and cracker plate greeted us. I also supplied the wine – a Barefoot Merlot – and we all poured ourselves a glass.

For dinner, Crister made us the most delicious baked chicken I’ve had in a long time! It was absolutely tender and you didn’t even need a knife to cut through it.

She set the chicken atop a bed of brown rice and served freshly cooked veggies – carrots and broccoli – alongside it. It was a great meal and the conversation flowed easily as the four of us shared stories from our past and present. I learned new things about Jill – a lady I know pretty well already! – and she learned new things about me. Crister and Sami shared their stories and, in my opinion, we became fast friends. It’s amazing what a little site called Twitter can do to help build new and lasting relationships.

Then Crister brought out dessert.

Her three guests – myself included – could not get over how delicious it looked! Fresh Edy’s ice cream on top of a sponge cake served with fresh blackberries and raspberries. It has been so long since I had fresh berries! It was fitting on the 70* day in Chicago.

This again shows me the power of social media :) Brittany tweeted about this yesterday and it’s absolutely true! I consider her one of my close friends and we don’t live anywhere close to each other. But through blogging and tweeting we started chatting, which eventually led to phone conversations, real-life meetings and a continued friendship that means so much to me.

There are other fabulous bloggers who I have similar connections to and Brittany’s comment really made me realize it yesterday. There are some who I still have never met. By some people’s standards, we are still “strangers.” In my reality, we are not strangers at all!

Whether you are just starting or have been blogging for a while, I have a question:

Have you found friendships you never initially imagined?

I’m sure the answer is yes, but humor me!


One more exciting little tidbit for you, if you’ll have me :) Do you remember my recent post on wraps? I wrote that post the day before Jill and I went to visit the team at Flatout. I wanted to show them the effects that one blog post can have on their brand – both the good and the not so good. I was amazed by how many of you recognized and loved the brand and the company also appreciated those of you who had constructive criticism and things that you enjoyed about other products out there. They are all about hearing both the good and the bad – which is why I really respect them.

Well…as it turns out, they happened to like what Jill and I had to say and they are now our first official client! As a foodie and a blogger, you can imagine how excited I am :)

You can read more about our announcement on Pursuing Our Passion (and watch a video featuring my awkward self!). The company is owned by Stacey and Mike Marsh, two entrepreneurial spirits who began their journey fresh out of college (sound familiar?) by opening a restaurant in Michigan. Eventually, their customers became so enamored with their flatbread that they encouraged them to start making and selling their own. Thus, Flatout Bread was born and it has grown into a delicious, nationally recognized company through their wraps, Fold-It bread and newest line of crisps.

We’ll be rolling out some exciting social media initiatives in the coming weeks, but for now, stop by and say hello to Flatout Bread on Twitter. Check them out: @FlatoutBread.

I’d love for you to say hi! And please, please feel free to share your feedback – no matter what it is. Social media is a learning experience and your input will always be listened to. I can’t wait to take what I know and apply it to a company whose values I adore and align so closely with.

This post just became a novel – as per usual – so I’m off for now. Hope you all have a fabulous day!


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rhodeygirl April 1, 2010 at 8:49 am



2 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:02 am

Muahaha! I feel like I can call this April Fool’s Day a success! :)


3 braingutshands April 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

Ha, I TOTALLY didn’t fall for it! Sorry dear.


4 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

Haha, darn 😉 I guess the K-ducks aren’t too gullible!


5 Lauren April 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hahaha, too funny. I totally believed it at first. April Fools is just not on my mind.

Its so great that you met new friends through Twitter. Social networking can be a beautiful thing.


6 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

Haha, yay! :) Yes, social networking is awesome. For example, glad to “meet” you!


7 Erica April 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

haha…I believed you for a minute! What a fun dinner. The cheese on the cheese platter looks incredible and I want some dessert! I have definitely made a lot of friends through blogging which I never thought would happen! Its such a supportive group. Yayyy for flat outs! I am going to use some tonight to either make an egg roll up or a pizza (can’t decide which yet) :)


8 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

Glad I made you a believer for a second there! Hurray for blogging friends :) And Flatout!


9 Karla April 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

You seem to get me every year with the April Fools jokes Jenn! I’m a sucker, what can I say :)

Hooray for FlatOut and POP: a match made in social media heaven! Looking forward to following along with all of the excitement. Hope you’re enjoying this wonderful weather as much as I am!

PS: Blogging and social media in general have greatly expanded my social circle and I love it. How else would I have met amazing you!!


10 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

Couldn’t agree more Karla! You are definitely one of those close friends I have met along the way :) Thank you for your support as well. It means the world to me!


11 Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

FLATOUT?! SERIOUSLY?! I’m so excited for you!!! I never thought in a million years that I’d have such amazing and close friends from the blog world… but I’m lucky enough that I do!

Didn’t quite believe the dinner story, but only because I know that your apt isn’t far from a JAIL!


12 Jenn (eating bender) April 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

HAHAHA!! Your comment on the April Fool’s joke just made my day! That is amazing :)

You’re the best and you know that I include you as one of my amazing and close friends, too! So lucky to have found someone so amazing in Chicago!


13 megzzwinsatlife April 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

ahhh that is amazing!! so many great things happening in your life :-)


14 Yasmin April 1, 2010 at 9:51 am

You are living my dream job right now. Give me advice on how to get started on pursuing my passion too!


15 Rose April 1, 2010 at 10:28 am

Haha. Nice one, Ms. Bender!

I love this question you posed today. I have found true friendships through blogging (you know you’re one of them!) but I think a friendship I didn’t expect was the one I have with my best friend Cat. We were college roommates, and I still remember the day I met her and thought – no way, this is never going to work – we are nothing alike. Now I can’t imagine life without her; we’re going on 7 years of friendship!


16 Jessica @ How Sweet April 1, 2010 at 11:22 am

I think social media is HUGE. I totally agree that I have ‘met’ and made friends (real and not so real) through it.


17 Megan (from Happily Healthy) April 1, 2010 at 11:29 am

I totally fell for it!!! Good one lol!!!


18 Astrid April 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I am horrible at judging people when I first meet them. So when I see a girl in the room that looks unfriendly, that is usually the one I will be good friends with. This definately happened to be while in New Mexico last week. I keep falling for all of the blog practical jokes today. I think it would be nice to go to a random lady’s home for a yummy meal.


19 Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries April 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I DID fall for it cuz I’m naive like that. And so many congrats on Flat Out. That is AWESOME!


20 Amy @ Second City Randomness April 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I’ve definitely found friends and an awesome motivation/support system through my blog… I love finding people who are as passionate about something as I am!


21 Kristie April 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm

So my question is – do strangers really ask you to come over for dinner? That’s where I could be fooled 😉


22 Jenny April 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like we could be able to trust a stranger enough to sit down and enjoy a meal with them? At least you got to enjoy a great meal with a coworker!


23 BroccoliHut April 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Wow, quite a beautiful meal you had!
As lame as it might sound, I never imagined that I would find such a good friend/boyfriend at the gym!


24 Tina April 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Very cool on the Flatout as a client!

I agree that social media is so amazing. I love being able to get connected to people with similar passions that I otherwise would never have met.


25 healthy ashley April 1, 2010 at 8:54 pm

LOL you totally had me!


26 Heather Eats Almond Butter April 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I was thinking, wow, she’s brave to dine with a total stranger. I probably would have asked “What are you having?” first. :)

So glad you enjoyed the evening with your Twitter friends. People often ask me my favorite thing about blogging, and it’s definitely the friends I’ve made. Most of them, I’ve never even met in person, but you guys totally “get” me, ya know?

Now I get all the FlatOut stuff. Just started following them on Twitter and should buy some soon. Haven’t had their wraps in so long, and I used to be obsessed with. Ahh, the power of social media. Good work Jenn! :)


27 John April 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm

You had me but then I am reading it the day after APF. I didn’t get to read any blogs yesterday so you’re actually the 2nd one that got me. I’m going to go into cynical mode now :-)


28 Brittany April 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm

As you know, the power of social media is definitely amazing! I’ve met so many great friends through blogging and twittering – including you!! Almost all my recent friendships have started online and then moved offline.

I love the Flat Out Twitter background!! I’m going to follow you all asap.


29 justjac April 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Haha I love the April Fool’s–and the truth behind the story! Looks like a great dinner and good company!


30 Alisa - Frugal Foodie April 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Hmm, jokes aside, I would love to know how they baked that chicken to make it so tender!

I’m heading over to Twitter now to follow Flatout – I haven’t tried their products yet!


31 Rebeca April 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I need to try Flat Out ASAP!

I need to work on being kinder to strangers, I always assume the worst in people and shy away from strangers and end up missing out on great friends and opportunities as a result. Thanks for the reminder.


32 glidingcalm April 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

hahaha i was like what? okay. You prankster, you!!!

flat out baby, YES.

Happy Easter my darling Jenn boo!


33 Katherine: What About Summer? April 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm

and you left a trail of bread crumbs to find your way back but after you got into the house made of candy, she tried to fatten you up… wait.. I’ve heard this story before Hansel and Gretel.
I’ve just started blogging but really enjoy hearing about everyone else’s friendships and hope to develop some of my own (feel free to stop by!)


34 Holly April 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

haha, i kind of would have loved if you had actually done that. hopefully, the stranger would have been like jamie oliver or lidia bastianich or something.

social media is so crazy – its amazing what the opening of the internet has done to our world!


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