Alison Taylor on relationships: 'I met a nice man. He is 80 years old'

 

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I've been known to wonder "Who the hell is that?" and click 'Ignore' when I'm told so-and-so wants to 'connect' with me on LinkedIn, but I have no qualms talking to strange men in parks. Like Harry, last week. Handsome in a Larry Lamb sort of way, GSOH, a born-and-bred east Londoner, and resplendent in a full, red Hummel tracksuit.

Also, 80 years old. He was out walking his dog, Mo; I was with Doogie, my friend's dachshund, and we had a chat for 20 minutes, the topics stretching to the dogs and beyond.

We talked about his daughters (he's got five, and approximately 4.2 million grandkids), Bethnal Green when it was bombed, my job, whether I'm married (I know, but he's 80 – they were different times). Point is, he was a man, we had a good chat, and I glided through the afternoon on the back of our conversation. But then I am a talker. And a sucker for human interaction of all kinds.

It's not just me that sees the benefit in fraternising with strangers, either.

Talk To Me London is a brilliant scheme aimed at getting miserable Londoners talking to each other. Why? Because it's better for the city, better for our health: all around better, in fact. They reckon just one conversation can inspire, reassure us, or brighten up our day, and they're aiming to do a load of stuff leading up to The Big Day, in August, when we all have a mass orgy. Joke. One step at a time.

I totally get the thinking behind Talk To Me. I actually made a point of making new friends last year, partly down to, shall we say, romantic burn-out (not a euphemism).

Don't get me wrong, I had friends, but I opened myself up to more – more outings, more experiences, more actually calling that person I was rabbiting on to at 3am last Friday – and it's changed me. I didn't realise that I was putting too much energy into finding romantic love, but I was. And it's exhausting. Not to mention disappointing, given the proliferation of idiots around town.

The funny thing is, those feelings you get when you meet a friend you really like, who gets you, and about whom you wonder, 'Is it too soon to text them?' and 'Will they think I'm a stalker?', are all wonderfully familiar to serial daters. Except this time it's different – because this is a mate. Who you met on a speedboat. In Venice (true story).

So yeah, find comfort in strangers and you never know, you might be iMessaging hilarious photos of cats in costumes with your new BFF one humdrum Monday thinking, "I love my friends, life's all right".

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