We all like to think of ourselves as living in a society where everything is in its proper place. Everything is taken into account. The people who do bad things are punished. The people who are clever, or who work hard, are rewarded. It is idealistic, but we try to organize every detail of our society into this system of order. We strive to have an answer to everything. We try to judge everything. Even if we do not have enough facts about something, we judge it anyway. We suppose our justification is that it is better to have an imperfect assessment of something than none at all. This is the basis of prejudice. It is also the origin of many questionable social customs and superstitions. Some social customs are in a kind of fringe area.

For example, striking up a friendship or conversation with a stranger in public, particularly one of the opposite sex, is still considered to be a little in bad taste. This is probably because of the uncertain factors involved. But on closer examination we find that it is indeed a very useful practice. The dangers and uncertainties are no greater than those in other forms of social contact. Customs and traditions still persist, however, and many people have vague misgivings about approaches by strangers.