This cafe gets strangers to talk

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I’m a stereotypical Minnesota male.

Polite and friendly enough.

But reserved.

Even around people I claim as friends and acquaintances I’m careful about revealing my opinions on anything.

Except, of course, the weather.

So imagine my terror at encountering Taylor Baldry and Wayne Fuller, founders of, “The Conversationalist’s Cafe,” two people who’ve created a venue devoted to encouraging us to talk to one another. Here they are, Wayne is on the left, in a photo I snapped June 7th just outside the Walker Art Center.

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Happily, as the reporter all I had to do was ask questions of Taylor and Wayne. I didn’t have to subject myself to meeting other strangers and expressing cogent thoughts. Listen for their story today on All Things Considered.

They invite perfect strangers, probably imperfect ones as well, to be seated at the cafe, which does not serve food or drink, and talk. Taylor regards face to face conversation as endangered in our digital age and wants to encourage the activity.

Why?

Well, in Taylor’s case he says it’s because upon returning to Minnesota from Japan where he was an English language teacher for two years he had difficulty reconnecting with friends and finding new ones. He thought the cafe would prime the pump.

Wayne’s motive, in part, is his view that some people might be moved to analyze their motives when they hear themselves state an opinion.

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Taylor and Wayne will reopen, “The Conversationalist’s Cafe,” again on Thursday July 5th at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

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