Talk to Your Uber Driver

Thursday December 12, 2019

Okay hello! It’s been a really long time since I’ve updated this, so I think we can safely say it’s been a busy quarter. I finished my finals yesterday (woo! freedom!) and today as I was on my way to LAX to fly back to Chicago, I was inspired to write a blog post about this after having a wonderful conversation with my Lyft driver. I know the title of this post is ‘Talk to Your Uber Driver’, but ‘Talk to Your Ride Share Driver’ just didn’t have the same ring.

Somehow at school, I’m known to be relatively outgoing, and I tend to find it less difficult to strike up a conversation in the dining halls or elevator. (I really don’t mean for this to sound like a flex or anything, I promise this is relevant), and when some people ask my how I developed this skill, my honest answer is talk to your Uber driver.

Usually this is responded with a light laughter then awkward silence when they realize I’m serious. Let’s think about it for a second! First, you’ll probably never see the driver again, so what’s the worst that could happen? You have an awkward 20 minute drive and then you both completely forget about each other and no harm no foul. But what’s the best that could happen? You get offered a job (which actually has happened to a good friend of mine)! But all joking aside, the most common outcome is that you get to talk to someone completely new with a totally different perspective on life, and at the end of the drive you leave the car wondering how time flew by so quickly!

However, I can’t take credit for this idea; it was actually suggested to me by one of my good friends Matthew Wang (check out his website here ) who is always able to strike up a conversation with our Uber drivers and I’m happy I get to learn from him :D

In my experience, there hasn’t ever been a time that I regretted talking to my Uber driver, but each time, I learn a unique story of how they got to where they are today! It’s really eye opening for me to talk to people from backgrounds that are really diffrent from mine. Personally, I think it helps me see that there’s not one correct path to live life and “be successful”. I’m meeting all these people who are pursuing their passions and finding fulfillment in their lives despite barriers. I truly believe everyone has a unique and amazing story that tells who they are and how they got to where they are today, and I really love to just sit and listen to my Uber drivers share their stories and passions with me.

Especially because each and every Uber driver is different, striking up a conversation with each one helps me learn how to connect with different people. As an extreme example, you probably don’t talk to you grandparents the same way you talk to your best friends, and although the differences are more nuanced from driver to driver, a similar concept applies. It’s about learning how to pick up different almost “talking strategies” that allow you to have engaging conversations with almost anyone. I’ll be honest though, most of the time it’s simply finding a topic that the other person is passionate about and from there, just let the conversation flow :)

From my LA Uber/Lyft experiences, I’ve met some amazing and really memorable people, such as a guy who’s opening up his own Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio, a comedian who’s performed for Navy Seals, and one guy in a VR startup who actually also got his current job from driving someone in his Uber. I’ve also had just some amazing conversations such as mine today where we talked about things like the development of social media and the oil/energy industry. It was amazing to me to be able to talk about such important topics with someone I had just met, and I definitely left feeling refreshed from hearing someone else’s opinion and thoughts.

Now, I’m not saying to go and pour out your whole life story to the Uber driver (first, that would be weird and second, please think about your personal safety!) but it doesn’t hurt to try to strike up a conversation starting with some small talk. Remember, still be safe and avoid oversharing; if things start to take a turn south, please be careful and use your discretion on how to proceed.

Of course, there are days where I’m just utterly exhausted and can’t keep up a conversation for my life, or sometimes the driver is just not reciprocating the conversation. That’s okay! Like I said in the beginning, you’ll get out of the car 20 minutes later and you and the driver will probably both forget each other. But tl;dr to this post, using Lyfts and Ubers as opportunities to learn about someone new and develop interpersonal skills is something that I have found personally rewarding and hope you all can give it a shot!

Wishing you all the best and happy holidays!