Entry 1: Yoyoing with 30 strangers

  • Number of days: 7
  • Rebuff count: 2
  • Conversations/yoyos/selfies with a stranger: 20+

NOYO Project 

As part of this month’s challenge of befriending a stranger every day my brother Rob and I have launched the NOYO (“not on your own”) Project. Together we hit the streets of Las Vegas to see how the people we met reacted to the offer of yoyoing with a stranger. The NOYO Project is based around the concept that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet and the more you talk to the less there are. The challenge aims to explore the lost practice of conversing with strangers and the issue of loneliness in a wider sense.

NOYO sounds a bit like yoyo doesn’t it?

It does indeed, you are highly perceptive young padawan.

So why a yoyo?

A yoyo is something Rob and I both loved playing as children and broke several of our mum’s prized ornaments attempting elaborate tricks inside the house. Young or old it’s a toy most people around the world have played with at some point in their lives. It’s something anyone can pick up and have a go at. We found it a useful ice breaker with strangers – often bringing back memories of childhood jinx or allowing us to share a laugh together at our own ineptitude. 

Please check out the vid below to see the fruits of our efforts!

Initial thoughts on wider challenge 

It’s my first day of the NOYO Project and I’m a little rusty on those all important first words. All that comes to mind are hapless pick up lines used by my former housemate Andy which include such gems as “you must be a keyboard because you’re just my type” and the ever probing “I really like your hat/hair/teeth”, the last one is usually followed by tumbleweed and a bemused/scared look. These openers will probably prove about as successful as Andy’s legacy with the female population of Hampshire but as I’m learning – first impressions are of vital importance .

You had me at ‘hello’

I’ve been doing a bit of research into this subject to improve my chances of success and have read about the ‘Jerry Maguire effect’ named after the famous line from Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise. Studies suggest we have from anywhere between 30 seconds to just one second to form a first impression and that we can glean a lot in terms of trustworthiness, aggressiveness, confidence, dominance and warmth simply from the word ‘hello’.

In a male, a higher pitch is closer to the natural pitch of a female which apparently makes you sound less aggressive. Experiments have also shown that when a female drops her voice at the end of “hello” it demonstrates certainty and trustworthiness. 

I experiment with my intonation and pitch in various airport shops but before long the word “hello” begins to taste foreign in my mouth and I slip into a deep welsh accent. I decide to cease practising immediately before I launch into a chorus of bread of heaven…

Las Vegas

The first week of my challenge will be based in America and I’m intrigued to see just how amiable Brits are compared to our friends across the pond.

It’s been an incredible week and I’m just off the plane so please await entry 2 for a round up of my week’s colourful encounters and a few Vegas surprises.

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