Why You Need to Join the "We’re Not Really Strangers" Text Chain

If you haven’t heard about We're Not Really Strangers yet, it’s likely that someone in your social circle will bring it up soon. Beginning as a seemingly simple card game, founder Koreen Odiney really started a global movement that challenges people to be vulnerable with each other. It starts honest and maybe uncomfortable conversations that lead to self-reflection and self-acceptance. The game asks players to pull cards from the deck, each having a more personal question than the last. By the end, all the players have been stripped down to their true self. 

After the card game took off, Odiney expanded her audience by creating a text chain that sends messages to her subscribers at least once a day, asking them to have the same honest-but-uncomfortable conversations with themselves. One or two sentences a day that seem to come exactly when you need them can ground you in a matter of seconds. Each text is simple yet substantial, all while tackling issues of independence, self-image, personal growth, relationships and mental health. I’ve been a subscriber for 6 months now and if there’s one central takeaway, it’s that you need this in your life. 

The first text I received after subscribing said, “Be a little kinder to yourself today. You're trying your best,” and it could not have come at a better time. This simple message brought humanity and vulnerability back to our cold, relentless and robotic society in a matter of seconds. With that, Odiney can start a much-needed conversation about the far-too-often-neglected relationship you may have with yourself. Whether it be your career or your relationships, feeling overwhelmed and alone can seem far too common. While it may seem impossible to find a way to forgive yourself for not meeting your own expectations, hypercriticism is a far too normalized mentality that we often classify as “drive” or “ambition.” Odiney’s texts remind you that it is okay to be flawed and while it may feel as if the world is moving forward while you’re standing still, you need to recognize that the journey is not a straight path from Point A to Point B. Her afternoon texts tackle this issue with simplicity and ease, just as you start to feel the weight of your to-do list. She challenges you to remember your humanity, a much-needed breath of fresh air when the walls start to close in.

Some of the most earth-shattering realizations come with her texts regarding relationships and romance in today’s dating scene. Two of my favourites are, “Stop breaking your own heart pretending people are something they're not,” and, “If they constantly leave you feeling '!!!??!!!???' they're not the one.” Healthy relationships seem to be an anomaly these days, with many of us dealing with cheating trauma, commitment issues, emotional unavailability, fear of disappointment and a multitude of other reasons to block yourself off from the risk of attachment. When communication comes in the form of deciphering codes, playing mind games and being constantly on guard for red flags, Odiney’s texts remind you that a relationship worth being in will be simple. Her text seems to come just in time to stop the process of spiraling when you are left tying the loose ends of a conversation where both people are scared of becoming too invested and driving the other away.

Odiney also tackles the opposite side of that same coin by challenging you to look at your own communication skills and the way you project your self-image onto your relationships. Another one of my favourite texts is, “Sometimes you're the toxic one. Read that again.” Tying back into the broken system that we call ‘dating’ today, it’s important to recognize that it seems safe to keep yourself on defense out of fear of getting hurt, but the means by which we project these insecurities – a defense mechanism – sets our relationships up for failure. While love in 2020 can feel like a constant uphill battle, Odiney challenges you to remember that the world around you simply mirrors your own mindset. For example, if you start a relationship from a place of unresolved hurt, that hurt is predominantly what you will receive. Her daily reminders to look into what you so desperately want to ignore creates a safe space for you to come to terms with your own wounds and see the world differently. 

If there is one message that We’re Not Really Strangers propagates, it is that the obstacles that seem to isolate, alienate and engulf our being can often be neutralized by taking a step back. As thousands of other subscribers can also relate, We’re Not Really Strangers holds a more subliminal message: you are never truly alone. There’s an additional sense of comfort that comes with knowing that thousands of people received and resonated with the same text that so easily grounded you. We’re much more similar than any of us care to admit, and in an isolated, hurting and lost generation, a simple text chain can effortlessly break down that wall that’s been holding you back.