One of the reasons I’m having lunch with 500 strangers is because I want to improve my interpersonal skills.

Hence my meeting in Circular Quay with the wonderful Stephanie Poole, who was my 12th lunch.

Stephanie is kind, smart and a great listener.

We bonded over a couple of coincidences.

First, Stephanie also wants to become better in social situations, which was why she’d agreed to meet me.

Second, Stephanie had also been inspired by Kaley Chu, who had 100 lunches in 2018, and wrote about it in her fantastic book, 100 Lunches With Strangers.

Growth happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone, we agreed, which is how two strangers found themselves enjoying lunch with each other.

Stephanie received a mixed reaction when she told people she was meeting me. Her husband was supportive. Her colleagues were surprised. Her daughters were bemused.

I can relate: I get a mix of all those reactions when I tell people about my #500lunches journey.